Merit Real Estate

Budgeting Tips for Renters

If you’re going through a difficult financial time – like a foreclosure or a short-sale – you may be moving into a rental property until you get back on your feet. Merit Real Estate wants to help you budget appropriately so that you can get back on your feet and into a home in the shortest amount of time.


  1. Association Fees

Association fees are often something that people find themselves facing when they purchase a home that is part of a homeowner’s association, however, if you’re looking at renting a condominium or newer apartment, you may find yourself facing similar fees. These fees help the company that owns the building offset the cost of maintenance and upkeep.To avoid costly association fees, shop around for several different complexes and always ask if there will be an additional association or community fees before signing a lease.

  1. Parking

If you live in a heavily populated area, parking can be an expense that almost rivals the cost of your housing itself. Always ask potential landlords about whether parking is available and what additional cost is associated. Also, consider renting a property in the suburbs or slightly off the beaten path – the cost of parking may actually be greater than the increased commute cost.

  1. Pet Rent

Almost all rental properties have an extra associated deposit and a monthly fee for your four-legged family member. If you’re a big pet lover, make sure you ask what these associated fees are and understand what expectations the community has for you and your pet’s behavior. If you live in a city, you may find that pet fees are less expensive in the suburbs. These areas also afford bonus living spaces – like a yard – for your pet and boast lower cost vet bills as well!

  1. Move-in Costs

Most rental properties require an up-front fee or deposit equal to one month’s rent. However, in urban areas, many larger complexes will offer special discounts during certain times of the year, like a waived deposit or a deposit that is significantly reduced. If you feel the up-front costs of your preferred property are going to stretch your finances too far, attempt to negotiate! Many properties have the leverage to reduce these fees if a desirable tenant is on the fence.

  1. Roommates or Shared Housing

Picking up a roommate is one of the easiest ways to save money when renting. Though it may seem unthinkable, adding a roommate into your arrangement could significantly remove financial stress and may introduce you to a new friend!

To learn more about Merit Real Estate and our unique real estate and investment services, visit us online at or call (310) 379-4444 today!