Are you getting the most for your money?
If you are a money conscious individual looking to rent in the near future, there are a few things you should take into consideration before making a decision soley based on the rent price. I’ve been in the industry here in Greensboro, NC for 5 years and have helped many of my friends and family move into apartments or rental houses. Unfortunately I’ve seen a few cringe worthy scenarios that will make you reconsider your rental budget. I’m writing this to show you how to come out on top with a better home and more money in your pocket. Here’s a quick list of sneaky expenses and hidden ways to save so that you can get the most out of your next home.
Saving money is making money
- Utilities: You probably already ask “what utilities are included?” when you call around. But have you asked “how old is this home?” We have taken leaps and bounds when it comes to energy efficiency for newer apartments. This one hit home for me when my fiancé was trying to save money before we got married. She and some roommates leased a small and cheap home for $650. However, during all the winter months they paid over $300 just for gas and electric! Oww, they could have gotten a newer and nicer 1 or 2 bedroom apartment with amenities for less than the total cost
- Yard work/home repair: You need to think about the responsibilities you are signing up for. Will you need to mow the lawn or pay for it to be mowed? These things cost money and time. Most private homes require you to do the yard work or even clean the gutters. Some of them take weeks to get maintenance done and you might end up just doing it yourself.
- Location:- location, location, location! Everyone has heard this and most people put too much thought into location. Especially in a small city like Greensboro, you can get from your apartment or home to just about anywhere in 10 minutes. If you’re really price conscious you might be leaning toward something that is right next to your work or school, thinking you’re going to save on gas. However, gas prices are really low and aren’t showing any sign of coming back soon. You can usually save $30 or more by being just off the beaten bath! We’re not talking about being 30 minutes away! Maybe just a couple miles.
- Pet fees: Of course this one might only apply to some people but it’s worth mentioning. Pets can rack up a huge bill or require a lot of money down. You need to ask if your future community charges pet fees, pet rents, and pet renewal fees. A lot of places charge $15 for pet rent per month. That’s $180 a year, and what does it get you? Nothing. The answer is nothing. There are plenty of apartments out there that don’t charge pet rent and are great for pets.
- Quality of life: There isn’t a dollar amount you can put on a good night’s rest. But there is a dollar amount you can put on having to break a lease. In North Carolina most places charge a 2 month fee to leave your apartments early. Usually that’s close to $1500! So when choosing a place to live you need to make sure the quality of life is high enough that you will enjoy your stay and not need to break the lease. Ask things like: do you have pest control? How quickly do they respond? Do you have 24 hr. emergency maintenance? Security Patrol? The more you ask the better you’ll be able to hone in on the right place and weed out the rest.
Now that we’ve seen some sneaking expenses to look out for, here are some tips to help you get an apartment that will actually help you save money. Amenities are more than just eye catching perks and services. When you get a good apartment community you will save money and enjoy your home more!
- Car care center: With the winter weather I just saved money on car washes! I would have dropped $30 bucks if my apartment community didn’t have a car care center! Here in Greensboro we have to constantly wash our cars to keep that salt off and keep them in good working condition. So being able to quickly spray it off, for free, is kinda a big deal.
- Gym: Do you have any plans on working out or getting fit? An onsite gym will save you a lot of money each month and help you reach your goals. People who have to drive to a gym are less likely to stick to it. Make sure the gym is 24/7 and has enough equipment and space that you won’t feel awkward when others are around.
- Business center: A lot of apartments have free printing in the business center. If you ever need to print from home this will help out. Home printers are always running out of ink and costing a lot of money. Every dollar counts.
- Coffee: I don’t know about you but I drink a lot of coffee. And I spend a lot of money on coffee. But at my community I’m able to save a little by picking up a free cup, every day. A few apartments like the Gardens at Anthony House have cutting edge coffee makers that are worth more than my car and can make anything from espresso to mochas. That saves a few bucks a week!
- Online payments: This may seem like a no brainer but a lot of older affordable housing still don’t have online payment options. So when the first comes around you’ll have to chase down money orders and pay $1.50. Or even worse, get a late fee because you are out of town and forgot you’ll have to mail your check. With online rent pay I don’t even think about it. I haven’t been late once since I got the payments and that’s saved me $$$.
So in the grand scheme of things make sure you’re looking at the whole picture and make sure you’re getting the luxury experience you deserve. Sometimes you’ll find that you really can afford it. I know that The Gardens At Anthony House is a fabulous place to live and is sure to save you money in the long run, but there are many others here in Greensboro that are great places to rent as well. Take your time, weigh your options, have fun…Happy hunting!