Keeping a roof over your head – i.e., rent or mortgage payments – is often the biggest expense in a budgets. Not long ago on this blog I shared why I’m a renter and not a homeowner. I shared 3 ways I avoid the stress that comes with owning a home. But since then, I’ve found even more ways to live large on a small budget, all by negotiating for lower rent. Here are 5 ways to pay less and get more.
Pay 6-12 Months Advance
When I first moved into my apartment complex, I offered to pay 6 months’ rent in advance for a discount on the overall charge. I was able to knock $50 off my monthly rent check and avoid a yearly increase as well. Many manager’s will also offer a discount if you’re willing to sign an extended lease. I got an additional $120 discount for signing an 18-month lease instead of the normal 12-month contract.
Assess Area Competition
Highly residential areas may have several complexes in very close proximity. This makes it easy to do your research and find out what the going rate is in the area. Addressing the competition lets you compare apartments based on price, but also gives you a leg-up for negotiating a rent-decrease. Managers often give discounts to new renters, something you can’t take advantage of unless you know the area’s general rate!
Use Good History
My payment history is nearly spotless, and I’ve never missed a rent check. By showing I’m a consistent source of income and promising to drop my payments off early, I was able to get an additional discount. Being a trustworthy renters means your landlord won’t have to constantly hound you for payments, and making their life easier might even be worth extra money for you.
Pay Rent With a Rewards Debit Card
With rent being one of my biggest expenditures, I definitely want to take advantage of cash back or rewards if possible. Thanks to PerkStreet’s debit card, I can pay the rent with my debit card directly and earn 1% cash back. Over the course of the year, that really adds up.
If your apartment doesn’t accept plastic as payment, try the site WilliamPaid.com to pay using a credit/debit card or checking account. Payments are scheduled and made online, and the site is free to use if you don’t want to pay with a card. Using this program will build a credit history.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
There are many ways to lower your rent payments, and these are just a few. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a little and use your knowledge as a bargaining chip. Most property investors want good, solid renters, and will offer discounts in exchange. All you have to do is ask, stick to your guns, and you could find yourself living large on a small budget.
Are you a renter? Have you tried any of these methods to lower your rent payment? Has anything else worked for you? Help us out in the comments section below!
Carrie Smith is a PerkStreet Customer Columnist who has worked as a freelance Certified Bookkeeper for nine years and as a Tax Specialist for four. She specializes in small business and oil and gas accounting. She has written several finance and accounting articles at Hubpages.com, and also writes regularly on her own blog CarefulCents. Follow her on Twitter @applecsmith.