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Renting an Apartment on a Budget

October 12, 2018 | By Louis Tully

 

Trying to find a cheap apartment that works with your budget? Turns out, it might be harder than you thought. Seeing as how rentals are on the rise and the fact that the rental market is more competitive than ever before, finding a small flat at a fair price might not be so easy. To avoid having to pay rent that may someday send you scouring the internet for last-minute installment loans, you should keep some of these tips in mind.

Renting vs Buying

Renting always used to have this glass-half-empty kind of feel to it. Some years ago, people would turn to renting an apartment because they couldn’t afford to own a home. Now, it seems the roles have been reversed. As it turns out, mortgage payments aren’t nearly as high when compared to today’s rental rates. Depending on where you live, many rentals cost as much as $1,500 per month (not including utilities) while many home mortgages cost about $1,000 per month. Granted, there are still several upsides to renting that almost make it worth the higher price. A few of these upsides include:

  • Free Lawn Care
  • Free Maintenance/Repair
  • Access to a Community Pool
  • Convenient Locations
  • Lower Taxes and Insurance
  • Freedom to Change Your Neighbors

So, for many reasons, renting can actually be a wise choice. But who should you rent from? Now, therein lies the real challenge.

Leasing

To be clear, a lease is a contract that highlights the expected responsibilities for both the landlord and tenant. It also includes information pertaining to the following:

  • Names of All Tenants
  • Occupancy Limits
  • Deposit and Fee Amounts
  • Amount Due Each Month
  • All Restrictions That Apply
  • Leasing Term (the agreed upon length of time of the leasing agreement)

When trying to decide who to rent from, be sure you’re reading the fine print on the contract and be sure that you can fully-abide by the terms and conditions.

Cosigning

The truth is, some people need a cosigner to seal the deal. Depending on your credit and job history, it might take some convincing to get the keys. This is where a reliable cosigner would come into play. If you know somebody who does have the credit and doesn’t mind helping you out, they could sign with you, sharing the financial responsibility for the lease. If for some reason you are unable to make the payments, your cosigner will be expected to make the payments for you.

Breaking a Lease

Lastly, you’ll want to avoid breaking your lease like the plague. Moving out before your leasing term is over can come with a multitude of penalties including:

  • A lawsuit
  • A bill for all remaining months on the lease
  • A withholding of your deposit
  • Additional fees
  • Etc.

If you absolutely have to break a lease, some landlords may be willing to work with you or even let you off the hook entirely, but don’t count on it. At the very least, you’ll have to pay a fee of some kind.

The Bottom Line

Weigh out the pros and cons while keeping all the above in mind, and consider taking on a roommate. These days, living on your own is tough. A roommate instantly solves a lot of the financial challenges and risks that come with getting your own place. Sure, you may not have all the privacy you wanted, but considering how expensive the cost of living has gotten in recent years, it’s a pretty good trade-off.