Apartment rents are expected to go up once again for the fourth year in a row as the economy starts to improve.
According to the latest reports from the National Association of Realtors, rent prices in the U.S. will increase 4.6% nationally in 2013 after a 4.1% increase in 2012.
This trend is expected to continue through 2015 as the economy continues to strengthen and the rent supply decreases.
If you’re planning to re-sign a lease or are looking for another apartment in the upcoming year, you may be faced with a significant rent increase.
Reconfiguring your budget with an adjustment for higher housing expenses can help you keep your finances on track.
Here are six tips for surviving a rent increase:
1- Consider getting a roommate. We all like our privacy. But when money is particularly tight, and you can’t afford a rent hike, it may be a smart idea to weigh the pros and cons of getting a roommate. Having an extra person around means you’ll sacrifice some space, and some degree of personal privacy, but that roommate will also share costs with you – like the increased rent or utility bills. Before taking on a roommate, though, make sure it’s permissible under your rental agreement.
2-Flex your negotiating skills. Call up all of your service providers to find out if you are eligible for a fee decrease. Your cable company, telephone providers, and even insurance providers may be able to offer a loyalty discount or other special offer if you inform them you are shopping around. Reducing some of these monthly expenses can make it easier to handle a rent increase in the upcoming year.
3-Modify your vacation plans. You may not have to skip that summer vacation altogether, but now would be a great time to consider a long weekend retreat instead of a weeklong getaway. Planning far in advance can help you secure lower rates on hotel and resort stays, and you can also find some good deals on flight and hotel packages when you book several months in advance.
4-Sell some household or personal items. If you need to drum up some cash quickly, consider listing some items for sale on eBay or host a garage sale to get rid of things for which you no longer have use. Just make sure all proceeds from these sales go towards your monthly rent payments. Create a sales worksheet so you have an accurate idea of how much you actually have available to put towards housing expenses.
5-Weigh the pros and cons of moving. Even though the housing market is now more favorable to landlords, that doesn’t mean moving should be out of the question. Some landlords may be extending attractive offers like a month of free rent or free utilities for new move-ins. Do some research to find out what your options are and consider moving to save money over the course of the year.
6-Cut out some luxury expenses. Take a closer look at your monthly budget to find out what you might be able to cut back on this year. Can you stop some subscriptions you’re not really using? Are you paying for a luxuries or non-necessities that are taking a bite out of your budget? Is there a way for you to use your car less often so you can save on gas? Think of some ways to cut back or cut out some of those non-essential expenses to balance out your budget.
By adopting some or all of these strategies, you’ll be better positioned to deal with a rent increase in future years to come.