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15 Tips to Get Cheaper Rent for Your Apartment

October 31, 2022
Wondering how to get cheaper rent for your apartment? Read further for 15 different steps you can take to make the most out of your rental journey.

Getting cheaper rent for your apartment is a primary concern for most renters. And how could it not be when rates are the highest they've ever been, according to recent reports? However, instead of getting overwhelmed by this new rental market, first, realize there are several things you can do to secure cheaper rent for yourself.

Use this overview to learn 15 ways you can save money every month on what is likely your most considerable living expense.

1. Study Your Local Market

Before you try negotiating rent, check the apartment prices for apartments in your area and surrounding neighborhoods. You can use high vacancy rates in the area as a biggest bargaining chip. Landlords are more willing to lower your rent than lose the income altogether if you move out

2. Know the Best Time to Rent an Apartment

There’s a seasonality to apartment hunting, and the best time to rent is usually during winter months. The demand for apartments is lower, and landlords are more likely to accept a lower rent in December and January.

3. Scope Out the Competition

Walk through the neighborhoods you’re interested in living and talk to locals about vacancies and rent prices. You can also walk right into lease offices and ask about their prices and deals.

New apartment complexes often offer incentives during the so-called “lease-up.” Lease-up refers to the first 6 to 12 months after the official launch of a new apartment building. Some of those incentives might include a free month of rent, parking spot, storage, or waived application fees.

4. Ask About Rent Specials

Ask your landlord if there are any discounts on long-term leases. If you really like an apartment and plan to stay in the area for the next couple of years, offer to sign a longer lease in exchange for a lower rate.

5. Pay More Upfront in Return for Cheaper Rent

Consider paying the first two months upfront or a higher security deposit. The landlord or property manager may prefer the instant cash flow. If they’re renovating other units, they may feel incentivized to get your extra payments to fund their project.

6. Stay Flexible

When a tenant moves out, landlords and property managers have to invest time and money to clean the unit and do necessary upgrades. Offer to clean the apartment yourself and forego unnecessary upgrades and renovations.

7. Have An Offer Ready

If you have a flexible schedule, offer to do some chores for your landlord. Take out the trash, recycling bins, or do minor repairs for the entire property in exchange for cheaper rents.

8. Provide Good References

It’s not always easy for landlords to find trustworthy and reliable tenants. Position yourself as a model tenant by pointing out your excellent credit score, stable job and income, and sparkling reference letters from previous landlords. They’re also more likely to agree to a rent reduction if you’re a high-quality tenant who wants to resign a lease.

9. Consider All of Your Expenses

Cheaper rent doesn’t always mean a better deal when you consider the perks some apartment complexes offer. For example, paying higher rent may be worth the trade-off for in-unit laundry, free parking, fitness center, and a pool.

10. Get a Roommate

Renting with a roommate quickly cuts costs while providing some company.Before you sign a lease together, discuss who pays utilities, how to handle rent, when to clean shared spaces, and policies on overnight guests.

11. Look for Rent Specials

Move-in specials are common when landlords want to find new renters quickly. Look for one-time or limited-time offers, waived application fees, reduced security deposits, and deals on longer leases. Sometimes you can find first-month free deals, although the discount is usually prorated across the entire length of your lease.

The time of year you move also matters. Rent specials are more common during winter months when fewer people are moving.

12. Look Outside the City

Urban metropolises like New York City, Boston, and San Francisco are notoriously expensive. But you may be able to score a deal on an apartment a stone's throw from the city. Make sure you factor in additional time and costs for public transportation or parking.

You're also likely to find more space when you live outside the city. Renting a townhouse or single-family home offers more flexibility to take in a few roommates and can further reduce your rent.

13. Compromise on Amenities

Before you start looking for an apartment with a rooftop terrace, pool, and all th perks, consider which ones are actually the most important. For example, an updated kitchen and bathroom are necessities for a comfortable living situation.

Make a list of your must-have amenities and a wish list for everything else. If the rent is right, you may discover you really don't care about the hot tub as much as you thought.

14. Search for Middle Floor Units

Which floor you live on makes a difference on how much you pay in rent. Top floors are often the most desirable for the views. You also don't have to worry about anyone living above you and making too much noise.

Bottom floors are popular for residents with kids, older tenants, and anyone who wants convenient exit points and on-site amenities.

15. Consider a Sublet

A sublet a lease offered by a tenant to a subtenant. It's also called a sublease. Not all landlords are okay with subleases, but they do exist. The downside is you're probably only taking over for the duration of the original lease.

On the upside, you're more likely to find an apartment that's below market value if the original tenant lived there for a while. Once you move in, it's time to show the landlord you're a model tenant and want to keep renewing the lease.

Final Thoughts

Are you ready to find a cheaper apartment that suits your budget? Sign-up with Apartment List by taking this quiz. We’ll help narrow down your choices and help you find the perfect place to live.

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AUTHOR
Sania is a content manager and contributing author at Apartment List. Sania previously worked in marketing at Habitat for Humanity and Samsung Electronics. Read More
AUTHOR
Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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