Watch Out: When Cheaper Rent is Actually More Expensive

Watch Out: When Cheaper Rent is Actually More Expensive

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Anne Momber
Mar 6, 2017

So you found the perfect apartment — everything seems to check out, from the desirable neighborhood to the amazing rent. But is it really as wonderful as it seems? Before you start shifting those extra dollars from your rent fund to your coffee budget, double check your new home to make sure none of these hidden expenses are going to end up emptying your wallet.

Commute Costs

Even though cheaper rent is always more appealing, your apartment may end up costing you more in the long run if you'll have to shell out more money for an extended commute. Take some time to research your daily transit expenses before going all in.

Dirty Laundry

Cleanliness is next to godliness, right? But you know what's even better? On-site laundry. If your apartment doesn't come with access to its own machines, you may discover your overall cost of living piling up right alongside those heaps of dirty clothes.

Hot & Cold

Another apartment budgeting essential (especially if your chosen locale's climate tends toward extremes) is the cost of utilities, particularly heat and air conditioning. See if you can get additional information about the specific costs of apartments in your building before you sign a lease — don't forget alternatives like space heaters can rack up the bill, too.

Security Deposits

Is your deposit refundable? If it's not, make sure you're adding it into the overall cost of your new digs. And if it is, don't forget to sort out the terms, take photographs and complete a walk-through condition form. Then check out these tips for getting that deposit back at the end of your lease.

Parking Payments

Have a car to worry about? Look into your new place's parking options and find out whether or not you're going to need to pay for parking, whether that means metered-only options or a monthly parking permit you'll be required to update.

Renters Insurance

When it comes to your belongings, it's better to be safe than sorry. Renters insurance will have your back in the event your apartment or belongings are damaged by circumstances beyond your control — and some apartments will require you to have it. While renters insurance is far less expensive than homeowners insurance, it still adds to your monthly payment.

Furbaby Fees

If you find life isn't quite complete without a furbaby (or two), ask about pet fees up front and while you're still searching for your next apartment. Some locations have a one-time fee, while others require monthly additions to your rent.

Have you ever run into hidden costs while renting? Let us know in the comments below!

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