Renting a house, apartment, condo, or other living space in Atlanta can be a challenge. Read on for five smart ways to bring down or offset the high cost of rental housing in The Big Peach, including doing some smart shopping for renters insurance.
First, let’s take a closer look at why apartment hunting might give you sticker shock and take a chunk of your bottom line.
Why is it So Expensive to Rent in Atlanta?
Rental costs are high and housing inventory is low. That’s because, in part, Atlanta is on such a fast growth track. Everyone wants to live here, and that means demand exceeds availability.
As a result, the median cost of a rental in the city is $1,512 a month. That’s 12.4 percent higher than the national average. Ouch.
So, what can you do about it? Here are five suggestions to make finding a place to live here as affordable as possible.
1. Start Shopping Early
You never want to get into a position where you have to take the next rental unit that comes on the market, regardless of cost. But you might feel that desperate if you go apartment hunting at the last moment.
If you already have an apartment but know you’re not going to renew your lease, keep the end date in mind and start looking for a new place several months in advance. Or, if you still live with your parents, don’t leave home until you’ve thoroughly researched neighborhoods, housing costs, and your household budget.
2. Expand Your Search
Maybe it’s been your lifelong dream to live in Midtown Atlanta but consider other areas. There might be less enticing areas farther from downtown that are more reasonably priced. Maybe even closer to your workplace or wherever else you need to be on a regular basis.
Atlanta is, after all, a big city with a lot of interesting places to live. Remember that $1,512 median monthly cost to live in the city? That figure goes down by a few hundred dollars a month if you’re willing to consider rental quarters farther from downtown or even in the metro area rather than the city itself.
In other words, stay open-minded as you search for affordable housing. You could be rewarded with a lease you can actually afford.
3. Consider a Roommate
A two-bedroom apartment costs more than a single but not double as much. Not even close. That’s the financial wisdom behind taking on a roommate. Splitting costs might mean that both of you can live in a far nicer apartment than either one could afford to live alone.
Start by seeking out familiar faces for roomies － good friends or siblings or at least friends of friends. It’s always best to avoid the risk of living with a stranger who might prove to be sketchy or irresponsible about paying their share of the rent on time.
Ask your social media friends to help you in the search. There are also roommate finder apps on the market that might help make your search safer if you must search for a household partner you don’t know.
4. Offset the Cost
Maybe you’ve come to grips with the fact that you simply can’t avoid paying top dollar for your housing. At least you can implement strategies to reduce your living expenses in other areas that will help pay for the high rental cost in smaller ways.
For instance, if you make sure you live close to public transportation, you can cut down on your fuel and maintenance costs. It might even be possible to sell your car if you live close to your workplace, schools, shopping, entertainment, and other needs.
Is it possible for you to work remotely or in a hybrid position? Think about how much you can save on work attire, transportation, lunches, and other costs if your workplace is your new apartment or rental home.
How else can you offset your higher housing costs? Start by making a list of your monthly expenditures, then try to whittle back. The more you save elsewhere, the easier your housing costs will be.
5. Shop Smart for Renters Insurance
Think of renters insurance as simply a part of your monthly housing costs. After all, many Atlanta apartment property managers require their tenants to have renters coverage. But even if they don’t have that requirement, securing a renters policy is a valuable investment in your financial security.
Wherever you live in or near Atlanta, your property could be lost or damaged in a number of ways. Storms, fire, or smoke could cause damage. You could be flooded by a burst water pipe or experience a burglary or vandalism.
Renters insurance pays for injuries that visitors might suffer and offers liability coverage if you’re sued for injuries sustained on your property. Your policy may even cover your belongings stored elsewhere.
Ask your independent renters insurance agent to suggest ways to save. An independent agent represents multiple major insurance carriers. That means your agent can help you shop for the most affordable policy from various options.