For Renters: Remember These Points!

By
Real Estate Agent with BCR Realtors 979-492-7830 Texas License 615108

When your budget is tight there are lots of things to consider when you’re renting.  The actual rent is important, but so are energy efficiency, average utility bills, length of commute, renter’s insurance, and pets.   

 

Renting an apartment on the top floor of a walk-up, for example, might get you a break on the rent.  However, if you find out your electric bill is hundreds of dollars more than the tenant on the first floor because your air conditioner is working overtime, the savings quickly disappears.

 

Opt for an apartment in a newer complex to keep your bills down.  If the building is older, find out if there have been efficiency upgrades recently.  Dual-pane windows, better insulation, and newer heating and cooling systems will help keep utility costs low and may significantly offset higher rent.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask for copies of recent utility bills from the owner or leasing agent.  They will often have binders of these ready to show you.  You can also call the local electric company, give them the address you are considering, and ask for the average yearly cost for that area. 

 

Keep in mind where you will be driving.  Living further away from work will mean more gas and possibly toll road charges.  As gasoline prices head north, living closer to work makes more sense. 

 

Don’t forget renter’s insurance.  The owner will likely carry insurance on the property, but their insurance doesn’t cover your stuff.  Renter’s insurance is usually affordable, around $15-$40 a month.  If you come home and your computer is sitting in 3 inches of water or you discover you’ve been burglarized it will be the best money you’ve ever spent!

 

When you lease an apartment or a house the landlord generally wants to see that you earn 2 or 3 times the lease amount.  That is considered affordable.  They also like long-term commitments, so if you want to negotiate the lowest rent possible be prepared to sign a lease for a year or longer. 

 

Another way to save money when you are renting is to stay pet-free.  Having pets in an apartment can cost you over a thousand dollars a year.  It is common for landlords to require non-refundable pet deposits, plus refundable pet deposits, plus monthly pet rent.  If you don’t already have pets, do your best to refrain from getting any if you want to focus on keeping your rental costs low.

 

 

When you are on a strict budget keep in mind the whole picture.  Stay away from inefficient or inconveniently located rentals if they aren’t aggressively priced.  You’ll be happier in a home where you can predict your monthly costs and commute to work and recreation easily.  

Posted by

Katherine Flansburg, Realtor

Texas A&M Master of Land and Property Development, Class of 2014

Selling Real Estate since 2005

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