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While finding a great deal on an apartment rental has never been an easy task in the summer, this year it’s proving to be especially difficult.
Thanks to a combination of several economic factors — record inflation outpacing sluggish wage growth, rising interest rates excluding would-be homebuyers from the market, and apartment owners making up for expired Covid offers ), renting a new place is suddenly much less affordable. . This June alone, rental prices had their biggest monthly increase since 1986, that’s more than three decades.
As rental prices continue to rise across the country, Select spoke with Lily Liu, CEO of Piñata®, a credit building and rewards platform for renters, about how to navigate these price increases. Below, he shares four best practices for renters hoping to avoid going broke.
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Tip 1: Avoid moving between April and September
According to MovingLabor.com, 80% of all moves in the US occur during “peak” moving season, which is defined as occurring from April to September.
Due to the high demand for rentals during this time, especially since children are out of school, buildings have less inventory and tend to charge more for available units. It’s a classic case of high demand and low supply driving prices.
It’s not just a new lease that will cost you more: prices for moving services are also higher during peak season.
So when is the best time of year to rent? According to Liu, who references RentHop.com, winter, between December and March, is “generally the slowest time for property managers to fill vacancies,” meaning there’s a good chance you can save money. if you sign your lease due to less demand. .
“Between the holidays and inclement weather, fewer people are looking for an apartment, which means there will be less competition for that dream corner unit with a washer and dryer,” says Liu.
Tip 2: Negotiate any additional fees
When you’re ready to apartment hunt in the colder months, be careful about the prices you see. Before you get too excited, make sure you know exactly what your monthly rental cost will be, as some landlords will add additional fees per month on top of the base rental price.
These additional charges may include fees for pets, pest control, trash removal, internet and cable, parking, and other utility charges. Ask landlords in advance about all fees that the lease would and would not cover, and perhaps try to negotiate any additional fees as part of your rental agreement.
Tip 3: Offer to sign a longer lease
Although standard lease terms are 12 months, landlords often offer a lower monthly rental price for longer lease terms of 15, 18, or 24 months.
Even if your landlord doesn’t offer a discounted rate for longer lease terms up front, let them know you’re willing to stay longer as leverage for a lower rate because they’ll benefit from lower unit turnover.
You will benefit too, and not just from potentially lower monthly rent. Setting a rate today for, say, two years is a smart move, if you plan to stay in the same city, as landlords are likely to raise the price once your lease is up and it’s time to re-sign.
Tip 4: Take advantage of paying your rent
While this last tip may not save you money as a renter right away, it can have a lasting impact on your finances in the long run. Today, there are financial products that reward tenants for paying their monthly rent, so you can also take advantage of your responsible financial behavior.
Piñata®, for example, awards users points every time they pay their rent on time, and those points can be redeemed for rewards like free food, exercise classes, gift cards, travel discounts and other services through apps. like TaskRabbit and DoorDash.
You might even consider paying your rent with a credit card, like Bilt Rewards Mastercard. The standalone Bilt Rewards program allows qualified US renters to start earning rewards every time they pay rent through the Bilt app. To earn even more points, the co-branded Bilt Rewards Mastercard allows cardholders to earn points for using it to pay rent and other transactions.
Your points can be redeemed for travel through one of Bilt’s airline or hotel transfer partners, fitness classes with SoulCycle and various other studios, limited-edition artwork and home decor, the next month’s rental or even a down payment on a house. Read our Bilt Rewards review to learn more.
Bonus Tip: Finance moving costs with a 0% introductory APR credit card
While there are ways to save on rent, you may need to finance some of your costs, as moving to a new apartment can quickly become expensive when buying new furniture. If you don’t have all the cash you need up front, you might consider using a credit card with a 0% APR introductory offer, which allows you to pay off your balance over time without accruing interest charges.
Select ranked the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card and the US Bank Visa® Platinum Card as some of the best cards with 0% introductory APR offers.
Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are solely those of Select’s editorial staff and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any third party.