Are you working on getting out of debt and realizing that your rent is over 30% of your take home pay? If so, you’re not alone, but the reality is that you are house poor. Your high rent is keeping you from achieving your financial goal of becoming debt free in a shorter amount of time. A 3 bedroom house to rent is in demand for families across America. With it being a landlord’s market, the fight to find a cheap 3 bedroom house to rent is not easy, but it is possible with these tips.
How To Find A Cheap 3 Bedroom House To Rent
Finding a house or apartment is time-consuming, and if you’re not strategic when it comes to looking, you can be stuck in an overpriced house. Take it from me, paying 40% of your income to rent is not wise or helpful to your quest of getting out of debt. But we all need a safe place to live, right?
1- Bartering for cheaper rent.
Finding a rental within 25% of your income can be tough if your income is low and you live in an overpopulated area. So before you decide on moving from your current 3 bedroom house (if you’re in one) consider bartering.
Most landlords have multiple rental units and have their own 9-5 to keep them busy. If you’re a handy person or a quick learner, offer to become their 24/7 handyman for their units in exchange for cheaper or even free rent.
Consider your skills and your network. If the landlord has empty houses just sitting, offer to find occupants, and for each occupant that moves in, to get a percentage taken off from rent (a commission of sorts).
2- Price compares for fair housing prices.
When we moved into our current house, we rushed. With a baby due in a matter of weeks, and our credit being shot, and us living two hours away, we kind of jumped the gun and took the first house that said yes and we liked.
Only to find out two weeks after moving in that two houses over (same exact style -row homes), their rent is $325 cheaper. Yes, talk about burn! They only moved in about two weeks before us, it’s not like they were there for years or something. But we signed the lease, not too much we can do.
Which leads me to this next point, when price comparing, mention to potential or current landlords the prices you’re finding. See if they can compare, even if it means you sign a longer lease. (Perhaps a two-year lease instead of a one year lease is they can come down on the price?)
Be ready to hear “no”, we did, but that’s okay. This is their business.
3- Consider a different area for cheaper rent.
A few blocks in Philadelphia can make all the difference when it comes to finding a 3 bedroom house to rent for cheaper prices. Knowing where those areas are in is the harder part.
Craigslist can give a bit more of a realistic price approach for searching different areas. Type in “south” or “north” and the town. Maybe a different city too. I’m finding that rural areas offer a whole lot of square footing for cheaper prices.
But be careful, sometimes commute time takes away from the worth of cheaper rent. Personally, you shouldn’t have to drive more than 25 miles to get to work. (We did for two years, and after a few car accidents, it was time to move.)
4- Check out rental websites.
How often do you see “for rent” signs? Honestly, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. But, it’s probably one of the best ways to find a cheap rental. When you cut out the middleman, you get savings.
Using rental websites for finding a 3 bedroom house is a great way to see market prices and areas. This helps big time with #3. Trulia, Hotpads, Craigslist, Century 21st -they all show listings with images and prices. You now know streets and zip codes. Go ahead and check out those houses if they’re in your price range, but set out an extra hour for each house to really go through the smaller streets in search of for rent signs.
Call them. Even if it’s for a one bedroom, they may have another house that’s almost move in ready at the end of the month. Or, they can have a buddy who also rents houses that just told him about a house he has empty. You never know!
Remember, create your ideal budget where rent is at 25% or 30% THE MOST, and stick to that number!
What if you can’t afford a 3 bedroom house to rent?
This is tricky. Housing is in favor of landlords. Most of us are so deep in debt, that we struggle to keep a roof over our heads and the lights on. But having the four walls in place is truly essential. But a traditional 3 bedroom house to rent may not be an option -for now.
When you can not afford a 3 bedroom house, it is time to consider other options.
1- Look into apartments.
In my area, there are serious waiting lists for 3 bedroom apartments, but it may not be the case in your area.
Apartment complexes often offer discounts, such as first month free, or waived security -depending on your credit score. The other benefit of apartment complexes is that some of them have pools, laundry centers, parks, and even an exercise area. When you factor in the prices of these benefits alone, it is an added bonus!
Many homes are converted into apartments. Jump on Craigslist, you’d be surprised at the number of apartments available. Another added bonus of apartment living? Lower utilities!
Most apartments have no water charges. A few of them may even offer free heating! Remember, less square feet =less heating and cooling = saving money.
2- Consider a 2 bedroom house or apartment.
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This is more ideal for smaller families. But sometimes sacrifices have to be made. Like Dave Ramsey says in his book The Total Money Makeover, “live like nobody else, so later you can live like nobody else”.
I keep telling my husband we should get a two bedroom and transform the living room into our bedroom. I mean, we can save an extra $200 a month this way, between no water bill and cheaper rent. That’s an extra $2,400 a year that can go towards debt! But he refuses to give up space. But who am I kidding, with 5 kids, it’s probably a fire code violation? But if you only have two kids, go for it!
3- Temporary. I mean TEMPORARY motel living or staying with family.
Only choose this option if it’s between sleeping in your car or a shelter. But honestly, for a month or two, if you need to save money towards security for a bigger place, or to find a new place when your lease ends, it is an option.
With the days of job security gone, many families are stuck between a rock and a hard place. No judgment here. Just know, if this is your only option, that it’s time to budget like a madman and name every single penny until you can get into a better situation. Just know that this way, you’re paying one set amount with no utilities at all.
4- Increase your income.
If your rent is 40,50,60 percent of your income, and you’re not living in California or New York, it’s most likely time to raise your income. This post on 29 ways to make money from The Penny Hoarder is full of creative ways to increase your income.
I hope this helps. If you have any ideas on how to afford a 3 bedroom house for rent, let us know in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe to keep up with more money saving posts!