Renting often gets a bad rap.
It’s true that some aspects of being a renter are less than glamorous, but it’s not all bad. In fact, the number of renters is on the rise, and the traditional mindset about renting is changing.
Let’s debunk three of the most common myths about renting.
1. You’re throwing money away
Many people say that paying rent is like taking your money and throwing it away. While you may not be gaining equity in a home, you are paying for somewhere to call home, which is not the same thing as throwing your money in a trash can.
And let’s not understate the value of avoiding household maintenance costs. Most rentals include upkeep and repair services, and some even include the cost of utilities.
Additionally, buying a home may not be a wise financial decision for you right now. Maybe you live in an expensive housing market or you don’t have quite enough saved for a down payment. Simply put, renting may be in your best financial interest.
2. You have no negotiating power
A common myth surrounding the landlord-tenant relationship assumes the landlord has all the power.
Contrary to popular belief, renters have a lot of negotiating power when they sign a lease, says Tracy Atkinson, director of global marketing and relations for Goodman Real Estate in Seattle.
“If you think you may be buying a house soon ask, ‘Do you have a mortgage clause?’ You can also ask about a job relocation clause. Simply ask, ‘Can you work with me?’ Each resident has the power to do that,” she advises.
The most important thing is to read the lease in its entirety to ensure you understand what you’re signing. If you see terms you want adjusted, don’t be afraid to ask.
3. It’s difficult to get out of a lease
Another common misconception about renting is that it’s hard to get out of a lease.
Though it’s not advisable to sign a long-term lease when you know life changes are ahead, sometimes life throws us a curveball. Whether you relocate for a job or your roommate moves out, sometimes it’s necessary to break your lease.
One option is to sublet your place. Check with your landlord or property management company to ensure that subletting is allowed, and get everything from both your landlord and the new tenant in writing.
If you’re relocating, another option is to work with your property management company to find available units at a sister property or even in another state.
Talking with your property manager and explaining your situation will always help you find the right solution for you, Atkinson says.
Of course, there may be fees associated with breaking your lease no matter how you go about it, so be prepared for that expense.