With the rental market in a tight place, saving money on rent can take a bit of creative problem-solving. If you’re trying to find a way to stretch your budget and get more apartment for less, these are five ways you can save on rent.
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1. Fall in Love with a New Neighbourhood
Location is one of the most important factors in real estate prices. Neighbourhoods with great transit, walkability, and amenities can command a premium. As certain neighbourhoods become more popular and attract new businesses, development, and residents, prices can go up.
If you find that the rents in your neighbourhood are pushing your budget, it may be time to get out and explore. Start by checking out which areas in your city are known for having cheaper places for rent. Then, start planning some trips over to them on weekends or evenings to see what’s out there, how safe it feels, and if it has the kinds of businesses and amenities you want.
Typically, neighbourhoods near universities and downtown areas have the highest prices, so try looking further afield.
Downsizing can be a great way to save money, especially if your life has changed and you no longer need the amount of space you have. If you find that there is room you don’t use very often or a lot of space that you use just for storage for things you barely use, you can save some money by downsizing to a smaller place.
For example, if you upsized to get more room to work from home during COVID-19, you may be able to downsize again for cheaper rent if you’re back at the office or doing hybrid work.
3. Get Utilities Included
Getting your utilities included in the rent can be great value. Typically, the rent for units with utilities included will have the average cost factored in, but it can help you create a more predictable budget in which you’re not worrying about seasonal fluctuations or the cost of hydro.
4. Upsize – With a Roommate
One of the interesting qualities of the rental market is that you can often find a bigger apartment for marginally higher rent. For example, a 2-bedroom apartment in Ottawa cost on average, $2,400 a month in 2023, but a 3-bedroom was only $2,600.
Getting a roommate can give you the advantage of more total space while reducing the cost of rent per individual. Just make sure you get plenty of room in the living room and kitchen.
5. Search for Older Units
Newer apartments can come at a premium, but what are you really paying for? Too often, you’re only paying for newer countertops or nicer fixtures. Older units that have been well-maintained or renovated can be just as, if not more comfortable, and they may even have more character, such as original moldings and hardwood floors.
Depending on where you live, older units may also be more likely to be rent-controlled, helping you keep costs down over time.
Don’t let the high cost of rent discourage you. There are still ways that you can save!