Take Advantage Of A Housing Crisis - Rent!

There's often an upside to any lull in the housing market, usually in the form of renters getting better deals with more selection. When more potential buyers decide to delay their home purchasing plans, this creates a renting boom and, subsequently, added incentives for renters.

More Luxury Features
Apartment renters are mostly looking for longer term homes during renting booms. More renters search for places they want to live for two years or more during these times. Thus, apartment communities start catering to renters who want to make their apartments into long-term homes.

To compete for these tenants, apartments are built and remodeled to suit updated trends.

Apartment rental agencies save money on longer-term tenants, as advertising and redecorating fees are minimal, as opposed to short-term lease tenants.

More Luxury Apartments Built Closer Together
Not only can renters expect luxury features, but they can expect choices. Town homes and apartments with similar features may be built across the street from each other, giving renters more discretion in finding exactly what they want.

Ever thought about buying a home just to get into a snazzy neighborhood? Now, you can rent one in the same area before you splurge on a more permanent home. During rental booms, those wanting to sell their houses may rent until the housing market for buyers picks up.

And don't just stick to homes you know are for rent; drive around neighborhoods you'd love to live in and look for "For Rent" and "For Sale" signs. Call the phone numbers on both; you may be surprised by how many sellers are also willing to rent, temporarily.

Competing Specials on Future Homes
With more rentals on the market, tenants can evaluate features without rushing to make a commitment on a specific property. But what is the best way to compare specials and ensure that the best deal is on the table?

  1. Narrow the Search
    Once you've looked at a number of properties, narrow you choices down to three properties based on features, neighborhood and price range. Among these three, compare the housing type (townhouse, loft or apartment), the best features, the worst features and the monthly rent minus incentives.

    To determine the actual worth of any rental incentives, you can employ a simple mathematical equation. For example, if one-month's free rent ($1,000) is the move-in incentive on a one-year (12 month) lease, $916.67 is the average rent to be paid each month, factoring in the rental incentive ($1,000/12 = $83.33. $1,000-$83.33=$916.67).

    Specials involving freebies, such as a free moving service, are a little harder to evaluate. But don't assign a dollar value to the special based on what the item is worth - assign a value based on what would have been spent. For instance, a free move is worth approximately $500, but pizza and beer to coax your friends into helping and a few boxes could cost $50. Therefore, if you weren't planning on hiring a moving service, you're really only saving $50. (Also see Easy Ways To Cut Rental Costs for more ways you can reduce the impact of rental costs.)

  2. Get a Sense of Value
    Evaluate which homes are worth the rent based on how the rental price compares with the features of each apartment. There isn't a formula for this one. As long as each option is within your price range, it's a matter of personal preference. (For more advice on budgeting, check out our comprehensive Budgeting Basics tutorial.)
  3. Negotiate
    Get the best deal possible on your rent by evaluating the market around you and using comparisons to negotiate the current rent.

    How? Call up three apartment communities with similar features in the area you are considering and compare properties. If the apartment you want to rent is on the high side, go to the management office and discuss it - you could end up with a better rate, particularly if you are already a tenant. Remember: it costs rental companies less to keep you where you are than it does to seek out new tenants.

If you are not ready to buy a home, there a great deals out there for renters, too. Compare at least three rental properties, look for specials and even negotiate with your current or prospective landlord. You may find a new home to love, or a price you'll love even more on where you are. (For further reading, checkout 6 Tips For Renting An Apartment, Easy Ways To Cut Rental Costs and How A Bad Roommate Can Ruin Your Credit Score.)