If you’re looking for a way to get a good deal on renting an apartment, personal finance blog Wise Bread has some suggestions. Recently, they offered seven tips for saving on apartment living which, surprisingly, didn’t focus completely on costs (there are quality of life issues to consider, of course.) Here are their ideas:
1. The top floor walk up isn’t always the cheapest. Although rent may be somewhat cheaper with an increase in altitude, consider other costs that could push your monthly bills beyond a lower, less physically demanding unit. By far the largest bill that you will contend with (beyond rent) is your utility bill.
2. Make a spreadsheet to compare community amenities. When shopping for a posh pad keep a list of all functional extras the prospective complex offers.
3. Get friendly with the city inspector and fire marshal. If you have a repair that has not been fixed and can cause a health or safety hazard, threaten to call the authorities.
4. Know the specials going on. Find out what new move-ins are getting and request the same. It can’t hurt to threaten a move.
5. Location, location, location. Living closer may mean higher rent rates, but consider the surroundings. These are definitely factors to consider with your proximity.
6. Check out authorized service providers. Some communities work out deals with cable and electric providers to offer a good bulk rate.
7. Make a date with your apartment manager. Always schedule a meeting with your manager to inspect the apartment before you hand in the keys.
And if all of this is too much to digest, they end with this bit of advice that really says it all:
When it comes to apartment living, the squeaky wheel always gets the grease. If you stand by and do nothing, get ready for substandard service. Remember: a big chunk of your rent goes toward paying for maintenance to care for your home. That’s one of the main perks of apartment living – included (not free) repairs. Enjoy your living space and make your requests assertively known.
We’ve always found it pays to befriend the building manager. This can be done in simple ways over time — a bit of conversation here and there, a nice gift at the holidays, lending any assistance when need be and so on — which greases the skids for when you want/need a favor (like work done to your place or the deal that everyone else is getting.) And, of course, if that doesn’t work, you can always escalate the issue as a backup.
7 Tips to Save on Apartment Living [Wise Bread]