During this era of COVID-19, there is no reason to rush into signing or renewing your options, according to a recent Realtor.com article by Clarissa Buch. “After all, COVID-19 may have changed many things about how you live and work—and how well your current space and location suit your needs,” she says. Let us help you with some of the questions you can ask before renewing your lease.
Questions to Ask Before Renewing Your Lease
She suggests several questions to ask yourself before renewing your lease and signing on the dotted line. The first question relates to your current financial situation. What are your chances of being laid off or having your payments become lower? Whether it has already happened or you fear it might, it may be time to consider downsizing to a less expensive rental or negotiating with your current landlord for a rent reduction.
Believe it or not, landlords are pretty accommodating these days. Buch cites a veteran property manager who says,” Landlords are in serious competition for quality renters now. With millions unemployed, the pool of qualified renters has shrunk, which may give you the ability to negotiate.”
Before you do, however, have a basis for asking this in renewing your lease. “Tenants should only renegotiate their rates after finding another comparable, but cheaper unit,” says another apartment rental manager from Los Angeles. “It’s a good strategy for the renters who want to lock in a low rate before the economy picks back up.” If you hear crickets after making this request, you may just want to move to less expensive digs.
More Questions for Renewing Your Lease
This begs the question: should you negotiate for a lower lease amount even if you don’t need to? You actually have nothing to lose by trying. “Even if your finances aren’t in jeopardy, negotiating for lower rent is still a smart option if you feel there are better deals to be had out there—or if you’re no longer able to use many of the amenities you once enjoyed, like the building gym or community swimming pool,” says Buch.
Back in the day, when homeowners struggled to make ends meet, they took on boarders. So why not consider taking on a roommate, even if it’s for the short term? “If you’re dogged by financial concerns, one of the easiest ways to control monthly expenses is by splitting them,” says Buch. “Unless there’s a significant other in the picture, you may want to consider finding a trustworthy roommate or two. They can help you make ends meet. Also, it provides some company in these isolating times.” Be sure to clear such a change in your living arrangements with your landlord. This allows its reflection in your new lease.
“Rent versus buy” has always been an equation as well as a personal decision. However, with interest rates hovering at all-time lows, renters may be surprised to find out they can often save money in the long run if they buy. How does it hurt to call a mortgage consultant to review your current situation? Buch quotes a Realtor from New York saying,” If you are at least four to six months from when your lease expires, and you have the means to buy, consider if you want to continue to dump thousands of dollars into rent when you could be investing in yourself. Despite every crisis in the past 30 or 40 years, home prices on average always rise. You have to play the long game.”
Source: Realtor | TBWS