Atlanta is one of the areas where a high number of renters suffer from a "cost burden rate." According to 2019 Apartment List data, the median rent in the Atlanta area is $1,008, and 49.8% of renters in the city are "cost-burdened households." But even this challenging rental environment doesn't rule out saving money on rent in Atlanta.
"Even if you're saving as little as $50-$100 a month, that can pay out to a good-sized chunk of $600-$1,200 saved over the course of 12 months," the Apartment List Rentonomics blog explained. Where to find these rent savings? They're everywhere if you're willing to negotiate, plan, and possibly sacrifice.
Here are nine ways to start, ranging from drastic to simple, one-time savings:
Don't be "city apartment poor." Instead of struggling to pay more rent than you can afford, make some choices before you lock into a lease, certified financial planner Liz Frazier advised in Forbes. "Figure out what is most important, and what you can live without. The neighborhood was always most important to me, so I always chose location over an apartment with 'charm' (my apartments were all basically boxes with doors)."
Know where you're working before you find a place to rent. "That's not only about the ability to pay rent. I'm talking about having an understanding of where your office is located and what locations you can cross out right away," according to the Rentberry blog.
Start renting when it's cold outside. Landlords have the toughest time finding renters in the cold months, according to Apartment List, which means you can more easily negotiate a lower rent.
Stay away from the larger properties. If you're focused on slashing the amount of rent you pay, you're almost always going to do best with smaller apartment complexes or landlords who just rent a couple of properties. The agents at a large property are "typically less likely to negotiate on the rent price and more likely to provide additional benefits," according to Apartment List.
See if your landlord will let you do Airbnb. You can actually make money with your rental if you can find a landlord who's open to letting you rent out a room. Consider splitting the profits.
Stay away from the pricey neighborhoods. Apartment Guide collected average rent data from popular Atlanta neighborhoods, and came up with these as the five most expensive for renting one-bedroom apartments in Atlanta:
Old Fourth Ward: $2,530
Morningside-Lenox Park: $2,126
Inman Park: $2,110
Adopt small pets. No one is suggesting that you surrender a big dog if you already have one for the sake of saving on rent! That's plain cruel. But if you haven't adopted a pet yet, think about your future rental scenario before making a selection. The best option, of course, is no pets at all. Next best for those looking to minimize Atlanta rent: very small pets that stay in cages, like guinea pigs. Animal lovers who want dogs or cats should opt for more sedate breeds and try to keep four-legged-family members to the types that are under 20 pounds. If you don't, you're looking at origination fee for each pet, and probably a monthly pet "rent." Also, consider that you'll have to limit yourself to the landlords who will take you if you have a big dog, and they're usually either more expensive or farther away from the city center (and public transit options).
Pay attention to your credit report. With so much of your available income going to rent for the foreseeable future, it can really pay off to repair your credit before you rent a place. What's the relationship between good credit and low rent?
"Most individuals or companies renting an apartment want credit scores from applicants to be 620 or higher," explained Military.com. "People with credit scores lower than 620 may indicate a high risk of default on rent owed. A lower credit score could mean you're less likely to be approved for the rental you want." Getting turned down for rentals can ding your budget by reducing your rental options and the areas you can live in affordably.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.