Renting a property is practical and sometimes necessary for many individuals and families. However, the cost of renting can be a significant financial burden, especially in today’s housing market.
- Know your numbers
Careful budgeting is one of the most effective ways to tackle high rental costs.
Jaime Pratt, head of PM at VPM, suggests analysing your fortnightly income and expenses to determine how much you can realistically allocate to rent. “Remember to include not just the base rent but also additional costs such as utilities (electricity, water), parking fees and any other expenses that contribute to living at a certain property,” she says.
“By creating a detailed budget, you’ll have a clearer picture of your financial situation to make well-informed decisions about your housing choice.”
- Consider your location
Another important consideration is where you choose to live. Be sure to explore different locations, as rental rates vary significantly from one neighbourhood to another.
“Living in the heart of the city brings a load of conveniences, social aspects and work opportunities, but it often comes at a premium,” Jaime warns. “Consider expanding your search to neighbouring suburbs or streets a bit farther from the city centre that offer more affordable housing options.” Sometimes, a slightly longer commute can save you substantial money in rent.
- Share the financial load
Sharing housing arrangements with roommates can effectively reduce rental expenses and significantly lighten your overall financial load. Jaime’s top tip is to make sure all expectations and responsibilities with potential roommates are clear before moving in together to ensure a harmonious living situation.
“We find that, for many people, shared housing not only lowers rental expenses but is a great opportunity to forge new friendships and have company at home,” she says.
- Put your needs first
When it comes to high rental costs, you should prioritise your needs over your wants.
“A rental property with all the bells and whistles certainly is appealing, but just consider what features are essential for your lifestyle”, Jaime says.
She suggests you’ll find a more affordable rental if you focus on your ‘must-haves’ that meet your basic needs before considering any unnecessary expenses.
- Negotiate your rent
Another helpful tip is to discuss your rent with your property manager or landlord, as they may be open to negotiation, especially if you’re a reliable tenant or if the property has been vacant for a while. It never hurts to inquire about the possibility of a rent reduction or other incentives.
Keep an eye on lease renewal terms and rental market trends. Some landlords may offer incentives to retain good tenants, such as lower rent increases upon lease renewal.
- Know the local rental market
Staying informed about the local rental market can help you anticipate price fluctuations and make timely decisions about your housing situation.
- Consider income sources or financial assistance
Think about working part-time, freelancing, or exploring government housing assistance programs. “These supplementary sources of income can help alleviate the financial strain of high rental costs,” Jaime says.
Managing the high costs of renting takes careful planning and a variety of strategies. By budgeting wisely, exploring different locations, considering roommates, prioritising your needs, negotiating rent, staying informed, and seeking additional income sources, you can better navigate the challenges of renting in a high-cost market.
Contact our experienced property management team for more helpful hacks and worldly knowledge to help you save time and money when renting.