Rent, (if you don’t have a mortgage), is likely to be your household's largest single expense. If you are trying to save some money, that is the place to start. However, like with all life-changing decisions, there are one or two tricks you may not know that can be of great assistance.
Be a Decent Tenant
Whether it means paying your rent on time, keeping the exterior tidy or simply not annoying your neighbours, your landlord will appreciate it. They will have had worse tenants, and regardless of whether you choose to renew the contract or move on, a good relationship or reference can make all the difference.
The secret: Landlords prefer hassle-free, long term tenants. When it's time to renew your lease or negotiate next year's rate, he or she will remember all the trouble you didn't cause.
Moving all your belongings is not a trivial exercise, but you should be aware of what the housing market has to offer. In many areas, property prices are in decline, and that means lower rents.
The dollar value is certainly not the only concern: for example, anyone with children will want to live in the safest neighbourhood they can afford. From another perspective, if you can cut your daily commute from 30 minutes to 5, you'll have two extra hours per week – possibly the best saving there is.
The secret: You might nest in your home, but a renter shouldn't root there. Check out the classifieds once in a while.
Be Flexible on Payment
Landlords, like the rest of us, often experience cash flow problems. If you happen to have a bit of cash on hand, offering to pay the first three or six months' rent in a lump sum can open some doors. Not only does this demonstrate that you're solvent, you can often negotiate a few improvements or a small discount.
The secret: People who rent are often saving up to buy their own property; landlords are often looking for a deposit on their next. It's amazing how many people don't take advantage of this convergence.
Check out Other Areas
You might really want to be close to the highway, the train station or your favourite gym, but you will find that there are many rental spaces that fit the bill. Download an aerial photograph of your city and forget your preconceptions; there are probably neighbourhoods offering cheap rents simply because they're not glamorous.
The secret: Think outside the box. Do you want to live in the worst house in the best neighbourhood, or the best house in the worst neighbourhood? Put away your ego for a moment and find the place that really suits you.