One of the items on my financial Leap List this year, is to become debt free, so I can move to a new location. In the long term I’d love to move to a different city, but I enjoy my Texas roots so much I don’t have plans to move too far away. So right now, I’m looking around for a bigger apartment, with a space for an office and a bigger kitchen.
My current lease expires at the end of August, so I’ll need time to plan ahead, do some research and save up some extra cash for moving. While moving is an added expense, I can use the opportunity of signing/renewing my lease to my advantage. Here’s how I negotiate for lower rent and live large on a small budget.
Take advantage of the “best time” to negotiate
The optimal time to negotiate for lower rent, is when you’re signing a new lease, or renewing your current one. You can prove your good financial history of paying rent on time, and use that as a bargaining chip. This is also the best time to request they sweeten the deal (more on that below).
Sacrifice living space, to maximize overall lifestyle
For almost 3 years, I’ve lived in a small 640 square foot apartment in a not-so great apartment complex. All I was interested in, was the location near my job and cheap rent so I could pay off debt. My total monthly rent is 19% of my income which is way below the 25% recommended amount.
Pay early, go paperless, get a discount
Landlords and apartment managers love tenants who pay their rent a few days early. They spend the majority of their resources and time chasing down rent payments. I get a 10% discount each month by going paperless and paying my rent with an echeck 4 days early (for free using WilliamPaid.com and a $10 bonus).
Use being a low maintenance tenant as leverage
High maintenance tenants include those with pets, several roommates or kids, and people who are rough on their furniture/appliances. I’m a low maintenance renter because I don’t have any pets and am rarely ever home. I don’t need stuff constantly fixed or repaired, and I do my best to not lock myself out of my place (it only happened one time I swear, lol).
Research the competition, don’t be afraid to walk away
While looking for a new place, I’ve been able to research the competition and what the going price is for a decent apartment within my budget. By using my knowledge of the area, I make sure the landlord knows “there’s other fish in the sea” and can put a little more pressure on them to reduce the monthly rate. If the deal is good enough I might decide to stay put instead.
Ask them to sweeten the deal
If you get to a point where you can’t negotiate the monthly payment any lower, consider asking them to sweeten the deal in other ways. For instance, I was able to get a new paint job and carpet cleaning for free, the last time I renewed my lease. Plus, I’d rather pay the same price or a little extra for added luxuries like, peace and quiet (no barking dogs) or a beautiful scenic view.
In the end: these are just a few methods to help you live large on a small budget. With the money you save on rent you will have more freedom you to fund your dreams. Your living space should be fun and comfortable, but not suck the life (or money) out of your budget.
Photo Credit: pnwra