So, you just received your renewal notice. Is it what you expected?
If you’re about 60 days out from the end of your lease, you’ll want to keep an eye on your inbox for your lease renewal notice to come through. The powers that be (aka, property management groups) will use market data to evaluate the value of your apartment and propose a new rate. Unfortunately, lease renewals usually = rent increases, but to what extent your rate will change will vary depending on the complex. While lease renewal season can be anxiety-inducing, we like to look at this time as an opportunity to take a step back and weigh all of your options.
Step 1: Decide how you feel about the new number
If you love where you live and are hoping to stick around for another lease term, our fingers are crossed that the new rate still works for your budget. But before you respond to your apartment complex with an official yes or no decision, we recommend leveraging an Apartment Locator to help you survey the market first. As long as you let the property know whether or not you’re staying before the deadline they list on the notice, you’ve got time to browse.
It’s also worth noting that rent prices last summer were high AF. If you signed an expensive lease out of necessity last year and are getting quoted even higher now, it’s worth looking into other options. New properties are popping up left and right, and most of them are offering sweet move-in deals to get tenants through the door. Signing a lease at a place that’s offering a few weeks rent-free upfront or $1000 off your first full month can help cover your move-in costs— and as a cherry on top, you’ll be the first person ever to live in your shiny new apartment!
Step 2: Math out the cost of moving
Let’s say your rent goes up by $100 if you renew your lease for another 12 months. Is the annual cost of renewing ($1200) more or less than the cost to move? Some moving-related expenses to consider include:
- Application, administration, and deposit fees: Anywhere from $99-$1000 depending on your credit and fee-related specials.
- Movers: ~$400-$1500 depending on the distance and amount of stuff you have. We do our best to hook you up with discounts, though— shop around for quotes right here!
- Upfront pet fees: When you’re moving with a furry friend, properties will typically require you to pay both a deposit and a non-refundable pet fee upfront.
- Utility/internet fees: If your next place is pre-wired for different service providers than the companies you’re currently using, you may have a few start-up fees to cover.
Fees can sneak up on you, and the last thing you want is to end up spending even more money to move to a new place if cost efficiency is your top priority. Taking the time to get a solid estimate of what you’ll spend vs. save before deciding is key.
PRO TIP: Be strategic with seasonality
Since rent prices rise and fall based on the demand of the market, summer is always the busiest and most expensive time of year to move. If your apartment is offering you a higher renewal rate on a lease term that puts your next move in the summertime, you may have to deal with an even pricier lease next year.
If you can get a lower or comparable rate on a longer lease term elsewhere, it may be worth moving to offset your move date into the slower winter season. That way, you’re in a better position next year to move or renew when rents are statistically lower! (Bonus: your move-in day also won’t be nearly as sweaty. Transporting furniture in July? Pass.) We’re all about playing the long game here.
Step 3: Consider the factors that don’t involve finances
Be real with yourself— are you 100% happy with your current place? When chatting through your wants and needs with your Apartment Locator, give them all the tea about what you love and what you’d change about your experience with where you’re living now. That way, they can either show you options that will upgrade your situation or keep it real by letting you know that your current apartment is probably worth holding onto for another lease. Take this time to consider stuff like:
Neighborhood: Are you loving your location, or would you rather explore a new part of town? We’re all for cutting down on commute times.
Layout: Is the layout of your unit still efficient? If your studio is getting cramped with all of your Facebook Marketplace finds, maybe there’s a spot down the street with a little more square footage in your price range. If you’re renting with a roomie, this time you may want to opt for a floor plan with no shared bedroom walls (because who wants to wake up to someone else’s alarm?)
Upgrades: If you’re going to be paying more anyway, is there a place that offers higher-quality finishes at a similar price point? This could be your sign to finally hop on the in-unit laundry train.
Amenities: Does the pool at your current complex get too much shade? Or maybe you adopted a furry friend this year and need a place with more pet-friendly features like a fenced-in park or wash station. Amenities are a major perk of apartment living— make sure you’re living somewhere that you can make the most out of!
Step 4: Evaluate your other renting-related expenses
In the spirit of renewal, let’s take a look at your other renter-related monthly expenses. Are you still getting the best price on renters insurance, or can another provider shave some money off your monthly/annual rate? Shopping around for quotes is quick and easy— we recommend starting with Lemonade! Some clients manage to pay as low as $5/mo for coverage.Get a quote right here.
Depending on your apartment complex, you may have more than one option when it comes to utility and internet providers. If you’d like a member of our team to do a quick sweep of the market for you, we’re happy to make sure you’re set up with the best deals! Get started with our Smart City Connect service here.
Step 5: See if there’s room for negotiation
If you truly love your current place but the renewal rate just isn’t cutting it for you, there’s no harm in contacting your property manager to see if they can work with you. Sometimes the situation is out of their control (especially when you live in a larger complex), but it never hurts to ask nicely!
Work with an Apartment Locator
As people who make it our full-time job to know what’s new and happening in the apartment market, we’re here to help make sure you’re still getting the best deal.