The prospect of getting your first apartment is exciting, to be sure. Whether you’re moving out of your parents’ place or you’ve just finished school and you’re SO over dorm living, finding an apartment that offers you your very own living space is definitely cause for celebration. Unfortunately, you’ll soon discover that the privilege of having your own apartment can cost you quite a bit of cash. And the glamour can soon start to dim when you realize that all of your paycheck is going towards rent, utilities, and food for the month, with little left for fun and entertainment. However, there are ways to save some dough when you rent your first apartment, provided you know what to look for. Here are some money-saving tips that could help you make the right choice.
- Look for rent control. Rent control varies from place to place, so you may or may not have an easy time finding rent-controlled properties. But if you do, you’ll generally find a system that limits the amount of rent increases over time. Suppose you sign a 1-year lease at a price you can afford. When your lease is up and you have to renew, chances are good your landlord will raise the rent in accordance with inflation, at the very least, but more likely with market value and the cost of comparable properties in the area. In short, your rent could increase by a significant margin from lease to lease if no rent control is in place. So it’s not a bad idea to seek out rent-controlled properties if your income isn’t likely to increase significantly.
- Ask about included amenities. Some apartments come with certain utilities covered by the cost of your rent. This often includes trash pickup services, but it could also cover water, power, or gas. You might also want to think about renting a furnished apartment if you are moving in with little more than a mattress. This will save you the up-front costs of filling your new dwelling with needed furnishings like a couch, chairs, a dining set, storage, and more. Just be aware that such amenities could increase the rental cost, so you’ll need to crunch some numbers to make sure the deal is worthwhile.
- Basement apartments. Most first time renters don’t realize that rates can vary within an apartment building. The top-floor, or penthouse, is often the most expensive, especially in a nice building with several floors. And so it only makes sense that the sub-level, or basement, would cost less than the floors above. A basement apartment might not be your first choice, due to dampness, noise, and a lack of natural light, but the lower price could allow you to live in your desired area, close to school, work, or other amenities.
- Consider a roommate. Whether you’re looking for low-priced apartments in Hollywood or you want to cut costs on luxury accommodations like Church Park Apartments, you’ll find that the fastest way to reduce rental costs is by splitting the lease with a roommate. Unless you can afford a studio or a one-bedroom apartment on your own, you might want to increase the price slightly with a 2- or 3-bedroom place and then cut the cost into 2 or 3 portions by shacking up with roomies. Of course, you’ll need to find people who are responsible, trustworthy, and willing to sign a lease. But there’s simply no quicker way to save money on your first apartment rental than by splitting living expenses with friends.