It’s a typical conversation with your friends: you’re looking for an apartment, or just got a rent hike, and you simply can’t believe what things cost. Your friends commiserate; you’re all in the same boat. It’s not unusual to find yourself at the end of every lease thinking, “Why is rent so expensive?” So is it true or just your perception? And what can you do about it?
Rental Rates are Hitting an All-Time High
One of the reasons your rent is going up is from changes in the rental market. According to MarketWatch.com, rental rates have hit an all-time high this year, going up 2.2% for a one-bedroom to 2.8% for a two- to three-bedroom. MarketWatch states that rental rates formed 3.86% of the overall gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2017 alone. Put that together with increased demand and a slimmer supply in some of the major cities, and it adds up to a lot more money out of your monthly budget.
So what exactly should you do about it? Is there any way to not spend your entire paycheck on your rent and still live in a place you love? Read on…
Find an Area You Love, Then Look Slightly Outside
When you’re looking for a good deal on rent for your apartment, keeping your options open can really help. For example, you might absolutely love the Adams-Morgan area of Washington D.C., or desperately want to live in Chicago’s Wrigleyville. Find a place you love and then scope out the surrounding areas. For example, while living in Manhattan may be cost prohibitive, you can get a better deal by checking out either Crown Heights or the Flatbush area of Brooklyn and still have easy city access.
Don’t Be Afraid to Share
With rents climbing, getting a roommate is a great option for those who might want luxury apartment living without the high price tag. Read some tips on finding the perfect roommate here, or learn more about the common pitfalls to avoid while moving in together with your significant other.
Negotiate (Yes, Really!)
It’s a common misconception that the price of the monthly rent is gospel. However, did you know there’s usually some wiggle room on the price? Ask about any special move-in deals they may be running, discounts on pet rent, or fees they can waive. If an apartment has been on the market for a while, the rental office may be willing to give you a deal. Don’t be afraid to ask!
It’s important to do a little research before trying to negotiate your rent. Check out similar sized rentals in the area. Are they asking the same price? Higher? Lower? Most times, rent is determined directly from the current market, so knowing your market is a powerful negotiating tool. You may find you’re either getting a pretty good bargain, or being taken for a costly ride.