As a student or young professional in apartments in Blacksburg, VA, it is a good idea to think about how to save some money on rent.
Most people do not have the luxury of timing their perfect move date.
So this advice will only apply to those lucky enough to have a choice of their move date — most likely those who are already living here and looking to save some money on rent. This is also useful for people who like where they are and want to negotiate a new lease.
- The best time of year to search for a rental home is October to February. Not as many people are moving at this time of year. Management companies and independent landlords want to avoid vacancies and apartments sitting empty during the winter months.
- Rental properties with more than a few vacancies will offer specials. Some will offer specials on the move-in fees and some will offer a half month to two months free rent. Some properties will prorate the special over the course of the lease term, which will bring your rent down. If this is the case, be sure to ask if the increase at the end of the lease term will be based on your current rent or market rate.
An increase on your current rent, especially at these times of the year, is typically going to be better than an increase on market rent. Ask the management company what its average percent of rental increase typically will be, so you know about what to expect at the end of the term of your lease.
- Some rental properties will not be able to prorate a free month rent special through the term of the lease. If a property offers some free upfront rent in the first or second month of the term of lease, it will be up to you to put the rent you are saving in the bank. You can prorate that yourself during the term of lease.
Some rental properties may not offer a free month or rent specials at all, but many will offer discounts on move-in fees, upfront pet fees and amenity fees. This does not give you a lower rent, but at least it takes some of the upfront cost out of your moving expenses.
- Not all apartment rental properties will be offering specials at this time of year, just those that have vacancies they are looking to fill before the winter months. Typically fall and winter are not times when a high volume of renters are moving, so many management companies will do their best to fill vacant apartments before the winter months.
- If you like the rental home you are currently in, October through the end of February are good times to re-negotiate your lease. With rental apartments signing a year or a little longer, you can secure a better rent. With individual owners, this is often the case as well, as long as that landlord would like to have a tenant for a longer term.
If that is the case and you know you will be in the area, signing a lease for longer than one year can secure a reasonable rent for that term. Having a longer-term tenant saves the landlord the costs — such as painting, cleaning and updating — involved in turning a property over for a new tenant. It also prevents the landlord from having any gap in between an old tenant leaving and a new tenant moving in.
- In general, the market rents will be lower at this time of year. If the property you really like is not offering a special, ask if there is any break that could be given on fees.
The worst they can do is say no.
Go ahead and get your apartment hunt started and likely you’ll find an apartment at an affordable price that can be a wonderful place to call home.