If you’re approaching the end of your lease, it’s easy to think of reasons to move – new neighborhood, change of scenery, different amenities. But there are many compelling reasons why staying put might be a better choice.
Take these three considerations into account before packing up and making the move.
Dollars and cents
From security deposits to moving supplies to renting a truck or hiring movers – and even time off work to get unpacked and settled – moving is never cheap.
Moving to a new place can cost renters between $2,900 and $4,500 – not including the rent itself, according to Nathan Miller, founder and CEO at Rentec Direct, a company that creates software for landlords and property managers.
“And that’s just our sample size in Portland, Oregon,” he notes. “When you consider bigger cities like San Francisco, Seattle, or New York, it could be two to three times that amount, and many people don’t have that much cash available.”
Deposits and move-in fees can be double or triple the monthly rent. And while many tenants count on getting the full deposit back to put toward a new deposit, it’s rare to get it all back, even if you’ve taken great care of your unit.
“In many cities, landlords aren’t required to refund your deposit for 30 days, so you can’t immediately use that money for your new place,” Miller notes.
The ball’s in your court
If you decide to move, your property manager has to spend money on advertising to fill the vacancy, plus pay at least two to four weeks of carrying costs until a new tenant moves in and starts paying rent.
Landlords paying attention to their bottom line would rather keep you – especially if you’ve been a good tenant that pays on time – than spend time and money finding someone new. This alone puts you in a great negotiating position, so ask for a discount on your rent, better lease terms, or complimentary amenities like parking.
While you negotiate the terms of your new lease, keep this in mind: Many cities and towns put limits on how much a landlord can increase your rent at one time. And given that rental prices are rapidly increasing in many big cities, the new rent your current landlord is proposing may very well be lower than what you’d pay somewhere new.
A bird in the hand
If you have a good rapport with your landlord, like your neighbors, and are generally satisfied with the amenities your community offers, it may not be worth rolling the dice on somewhere new.
“Going into a new community, you don’t always get the personal connection you’re used to,” says Kristen Gucwa, executive vice president of marketing at Richman Signature Properties, a property management group with apartment communities in Colorado, Florida, and Texas. “If you already have a connection with the front desk worker or the maintenance supervisor who always comes right over to help you, there’s a huge benefit there.”
Miller agrees. “If you like your landlord now, there’s absolutely no guarantee you’re going to like the new one. You’re giving up something you know for a complete unknown.”
If your lease end date is approaching, take some time to crunch the numbers and consider the less tangible pros and cons. You just might find that staying put is the right choice – nobody likes to move, anyway.