How to Decide Whether to Renew Your Lease
If your apartment or home rental lease is almost up, you may be wondering: should I stay, or should I go? Sometimes it’s best to renew your lease, but other times moving out may be the better option. If you’re not sure what to do when your lease is due to renew, ask yourself these 9 questions to help make your decision:
Is the rent increasing?
This is the most obvious question to ask yourself before you renew your lease. In most cases, the answer is “yes,” which means it may be better to stay put if you can still pay your rent without too much difficulty. Alternatively, you can offset the rent increase by reducing other expenses (such as downgrading your cable package, cutting back on subscriptions, or finding cheaper car insurance). However, if your rent jumps up significantly and you believe it will stretch your budget, then you may want to reconsider before agreeing to another year-long commitment.
Can you afford to move?
Even if your rent does increase, you’ll also have to ask yourself whether or not you can afford to move in the first place. Remember, relocating means you will need to put down a security deposit on a new place, hire movers, and take care of lots of incidentals. Moving into a cheaper rental can cost much more than you may have initially anticipated!
Do you like your landlord?
Consider whether or not you approve of your current landlord. Is he or she responsive and reliable? Are issues fixed in a timely manner? Are the grounds well-maintained? How about snow removal? If you’re satisfied with your landlord, then you may want to consider staying, as great landlords can be a rarity. However, if your landlord drags their feet when it comes to repairs, stops by unannounced, or is unreliable in responding to inquiries, it may be beneficial to move to a new location.
Can you negotiate?
Assuming you’re a tenant who has a track record of paying rent on time and you have a good relationship with your landlord, then you may be able to negotiate rent increases before you renew your lease. You can ask for your rent to stay the same or for any increase to be minimal. If the landlord insists on raising the rent, then ask about upgrades to the apartment. Are you due for a new fridge or stove? Do you need new tile in the kitchen? Your landlord may be willing to compromise to keep the apartment occupied with a great tenant.
Is your neighborhood safe?
Neighborhoods change over time—sometimes for the worse. Do you feel safe walking home at night? Has your apartment building experienced break-ins? Has there been an uptick in crime rates? If you feel unsafe on a regular basis, then consider a move for your safety.
Do you need convenient access to parking?
Are you renting a parking spot or fighting to find street parking every night? Finding a rental with on-site parking can make life a lot easier, especially if you depend on a car every day.
Does your current rental still fit your needs?
Your rental may have been perfect when you first moved in, but consider whether it still works for you. Has your commute to work gotten longer since you moved in? Are you living with roommates, but now want your own place? Do you now make more money and want to move to a better neighborhood or get a bigger space? If you answered “yes” then it may be better for you to find a new rental rather than renew your lease.
Is it worth the hassle to move?
Costs aside, moving is a stressful and time-consuming process. First, you have to spend your free time looking at new places and researching neighborhoods. Then there’s all the packing, not to mention letting everyone know your updated address, including Motor Vehicles, the utility company, credit card companies, car lenders, the cable company, and so on.
Can you find a decent place to live?
You may find apartments that are less expensive than where you currently live, but are they as nice? Will you be moving to a less desirable neighborhood? Are the apartments you can afford smaller or not as well constructed as where you are now? Does the building have fewer amenities? If so, it may be better to renew your lease and find other ways to save money so you can continue living comfortably where you are.
If it’s time for you to renew your lease and you’re unsure of what to do, then ask yourself these questions. You’ll come to the right decision pretty quickly.
When deciding on your next move, be sure to contact Brightstar Realty & Rentals. We’re a full-service real estate broker and commercial property manager offering property management, sales, and leasing services in Northern New Jersey. Our experienced staff will work with you to find the ideal rental property that suits both your needs and your budget. Contact us or give us a call at 973-226-4900 for all of your New Jersey real estate and property management needs!