Making the Decision – Should I Renew my Lease or Look Elsewhere?
As the months of your apartment lease begin to tick away, it is normal to begin thinking about what is next. Over the next few months, you will need to decide whether to renew your lease or if it’s time to move on to a new one. Now, if you have ever gone through this yourself you know it isn’t always an easy choice to make.
With that in mind, this blog post is going to help you decide whether to stick around and sign a new lease or move on to another apartment.
1. How was your experience?
Of course, the most important consideration to make here is to gauge how your experience was. If you had a great time and loved the landlord and the unit, you should at least be open to the idea of renewing the lease. Getting stuck with a bad landlord or a unit full of issues is common, so you should feel lucky that you were able to land a place you enjoy.
If you had a bad time or weren’t a fan of the landlord, neighbors or rules, this should make your choice to move out incredibly easy as you had a poor experience. Of course, be sure to consider other things like ample parking, access to a gym, the commute and other factors as well.
2. How much will they charge you?
During your initial one-year lease, there is a good chance that your landlord offered or attached some sort of deal to your lease. This could have been something like $50 off a month, free parking for a year, one-month free or anything in between.
However, while nice, most of those incentives offered will only last a year and when you renew your lease the deals will be gone. As a result, there is a good chance your rent will go up for your second lease (unless there has been a large change in the market). Is this new price fair for what you get? If so, it could be worthwhile to stay. However, if not, it might be in your best interest to move.
While this rent increase isn’t always the case (and some landlords might even provide additional incentives or a decreased rent for a renewal), usually you should expect to pay a slightly increased rent when you renew, just to be safe.
3. Have you found somewhere better?
Even if you intend to stay at your apartment and renew your lease, it is a good idea to do a little bit of research and see what’s out there. New apartments are being posted daily, and many of them will likely have features you are interested in.
Who knows, if you simply sign a renewal without even looking at other options you might eventually discover you could have gotten a nicer or safer place for less money, but simply missed the opportunity.
If you find something better before the lease renewal cut-off date, you can take it, but if not, you can still sign the renewal without losing anything.
4. What’s the market like?
Before you agree to a renewal or decide to leave, you should evaluate what the market is like. Is there a lot of demand for apartments and are rent prices high? Or are there many vacancies which are leading landlords to drop their prices? Either way, knowing the market in your city can help you make an informed decision.
You should compare the rent you will be paying if you renew against rents in similar locations in your area. Each city is different and many will even be different depending on the time of the year, so timing your research correctly is also important.
5. Are you able to afford or handle moving out?
One thing that will often get lost in the excitement of moving out into a new apartment is actually the moving process. Moving all of your belongings from one apartment to another can get expensive once you factor in moving trucks, boxes, possible missed days of work and hiring labor assistance can often cost hundreds (or thousands) of dollars.
In addition to moving out being expensive, it can also be incredibly stressful, especially if you are on a higher floor. Depending on how much stuff you have, moving could take dozens of trips with your vehicle and moving things like bookcases, bed frames, and couches down flights of stairs or trying to fit them in elevators isn’t easy. If you are very busy at the time of your renewal date and simply can’t handle or don’t have time for a move, it might make sense to renew, as long as the terms are acceptable.
Hopefully, this blog post has been able to help you make the right choice, whether it be to move out and find a new apartment or home, or renew your lease for another year.