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How to Reduce Rent Before Signing a Lease

The best time to reduce rent is before you sign your lease. Here’s how.

There are benefits to renting an apartment. Unlike a mortgage that locks you into a specific monthly payment for 15 to 30 years, by renting you have the option to move and lower your rent price to something that works with your budget as your finances change.

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,621, according to Apartment Guide’s 2020 Rent Report. However, the number is much higher in some rental markets and doesn’t account for utilities. There are downsides to renting as well. Of course, as a renter you don’t gain equity in your home. Unlike mortgage payments, your rent payments aren’t an investment towards your future. Many apartments aren’t rent controlled, which means your landlord can increase your rent. For these reasons, it’s important to save on rent before you sign your lease. Here are some ways to find savings on rent.

1. Choose your location wisely.

In many cases, you can save money on rent by living outside the city. Urban apartments in the center of the city will generally cost you a premium when it comes to rent. You may also have to pay for parking. When considering moving out of town to save on rent, be sure to calculate the cost of commuting. You don’t want to spend any savings on gas or public transportation. If you work remotely, you might consider moving to a state where rent is cheaper or better yet, where you can afford to buy a home.

2. Look for smaller rental companies.

Larger apartment complexes tend to charge higher prices. Expect to pay more if you choose a complex with amenities like a pool and gym. Private landlords or smaller rental companies are likely to charge less and more likely to work with you if you have credit or budget challenges.

3. Negotiate your rent upfront.

You may be able to negotiate a lower price for your rent than the advertised price, especially if you are in a less competitive market and choose to rent from an individually run complex or smaller building. Determine the price you want to pay for the apartment and research other rent prices in the area. If other nearby apartments are charging less, you can use that to your advantage. Ask for the discount upfront.

If you need funds to cover rent or a move, a personal loan could help. You can borrow between $1,000 and $10,000. Request your loan using