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Tips for Navigating the Red-Hot Rental Market

The High Cost of Housing

It seems it doesn’t matter if you are in the market to rent or to buy — housing prices are through the roof. According to real estate brokerage firm HouseCanary, the national average cost of a single-family rental rose to $2,495 during the first six months of 2022. That’s up 13.4% from the prior year.

You’d need to tack on nearly $2,000 more to live in the most popular locales, due to their desirable climates. For example, the average single-family rental in Los Angeles goes for $4,664. On the flipside, homes in Canton, Ohio are going for around $1,300 a month.

Beware the Expense Seesaw

The remote work trend ignited by the pandemic has allowed some Americans to untether where they live from their job’s location. This has some people entertaining the idea of moving somewhere to achieve a lower cost of living. Market observers caution that a holistic view should be taken before packing up, with the potential savings in housing costs evaluated within the context of the whole budget.

Advisors suggest considering new expenses that may be associated with a big move. For example, you may want to take into account travel costs that could increase with frequent trips to visit family left behind, as well as the potential for higher airfare prices out of smaller cities. Another consideration might be the cost of losing the support system that provided for free things like childcare and pet sitting.

Tips and Timing

If you do decide to move, there are a few things you can do to keep costs down. Moving company says peak moving season runs from April to September. During this time, competition is likely to be stiff. Moving in the winter could potentially put you in a better position to negotiate lower moving costs.

Another tactic is to gain a clear understanding of what your rent covers so you can identify any potential add-on costs up front. These include expenses like childcare and parking. Know before you sign and try to negotiate these fees. Opting for a longer rental term could possibly snag you a lower monthly rent, and ensure against a potential nearer-term increase.

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