If you’re a renter, you’re in good company. More than 95 million Americans rent their homes, according to the American Tenants Association. Maybe you live in a part of the country where the costs of home ownership are out of reach. Perhaps you don’t have the time or desire to tend to a home. Or maybe you’re not in a position to commit to a location for more than a few years.
Whatever your reason, renting is a perfectly reasonable and relatively non-committal way of living out on your own. But just because your home is in someone else’s name — ahem, your landlord’s — doesn’t mean you relinquish all rights. Here are seven tips that can make your renting experience easier and more affordable:
1. Protect Your Stuff with Renter’s Insurance
Nearly two in three college-age adults have no insurance protection, despite almost half reporting belongings worth more than $10,000, according to a recent study from Allstate Insurance. The reason? Misperception of cost.
The truth is, renter’s insurance is perfectly affordable — the national average is just $16 per month, according to Allstate. And the insurance protects your stuff against fire, theft and vandalism. Think of it this way — if a fire sweeps across your apartment destroying everything in it, is the ability to replace all of your stuff worth just four fancy cups o’joe a month?
2. Lease Your Apartment during Low-Season
Just like there’s a purchase season for homes, there’s a high-and-low season for renting. These seasons vary depending on your location, but typically follow demand. For example, in northern states, high season is often in the summer or when college kids are scooping up apartments. Low season, on the other hand, ordinarily occurs during the winter.
With apartment leasing, inventory dictates price, so your best bet is to lease your place during the low-season. Not only will you have a greater variety of apartments available to choose from, but you’ll be in a better position to negotiate price.