Author Topic: How to figure out when to switch places to rent?  (Read 2629 times)

Angie55

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How to figure out when to switch places to rent?
« on: February 13, 2015, 09:09:03 AM »
Just wondering how everyone decides to switch rentals. For the first 10 years of my rental life, we moved at the end of the lease chasing cheaper rent or better/larger housing. Our current place, we've stayed at for 2.5 years which is a record! Alas, the rent is going up $80, conveniently what I expect my measly raise to be starting the same exact month.

Currently we rent a SFH in Denver. Even at the raised rate of $1650 it would be the lowest comparable rental in the area other than apartment buildings. I'm an engineer, so I calculate everything down to the penny. I'm not sure if I'm under- or over-estimating the cost of moving. One of the main costs of moving is a) Lost security deposits and b) paying for overlap days or weeks to accommodate move in/out dates. In my calculations to overcome these losses requires finding an even better steal rate at 200+ less a month. Which, if we are paying undermarket now, is pretty hard to do!

For example, Our management company has 2 stars on yelp and lots of reviews about security deposits being ravashed. Also, renting 10+ places I've always had awful luck with returned deposits and fighting over the amounts which are usually very low. So I'm assuming all or the majority of that money is lost or tied up for a long time. ~1500. Meanwhile putting a deposit on another place would be 1500 minimum. Add on another 500 for an overlap week to move. Then another 500 or so for incidentals. This would be to move into another place where the management company seems WORSE than the one we have now. So I would consider the new deposit lost again (but consider as a bonus to receive lower rent I guess?).

Anyway. New place is 200 cheaper. 2400 for the lease term. But take out the 1500 deposit. 500 for overlap week. And 500 for incidentals. It blows out any savings by moving. I think the scenario actually made my potential savings lower for the year.

How are you supposed to make a decision when there is so much left unknown?
What difference in rent is worth the moving hassle to you?
How much do you like to "gamble" with your landlord or management company? How much does their track record affect your decision?

samburger

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Re: How to figure out when to switch places to rent?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2015, 09:56:49 AM »
I don't move to chase better/cheaper apartments, generally, but only because I really love my current place, price-wise. I'd move in a heartbeat to be closer to work, if my wife or I changed jobs.

I'm paying $750/mo (~10% of my take-home pay) for a perfect-for-us apartment in a wonderful, walkable neighborhood that's close to my job and my wife's. We browse apartments from time to time, and it doesn't get much better than what we've got, at least not by our criteria.

If I started to see similar apartments/neighborhoods/locations for ~$100/mo less, we'd talk about moving. I wouldn't be in a hurry to move, though, since it would take more than a year to recoup moving costs and it's tough to say how long we'll be in a given place.

Eric

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Re: How to figure out when to switch places to rent?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2015, 11:34:55 AM »
You say that there are a lot of unknowns, but I feel like you've pretty much identified all of the factors.  It's going to be hard for us to tell you whether to move or not.  If your calculations state that you'd break even on the move, then stay where you're at if you're happy with it.  There are always other places if you decide later that you want somewhere new.

I personally wouldn't calculate a full lost deposit (depending on the shape of the rental, obviously), but I do figure to lose about 25%.  Of course, I always take a shit load of pictures when I move out, California has very favorable laws for renters, and I'm prepared to fight for my money.

The last time I moved, it was to lower my rent from $1575 to $1300, and we even had to pay for a duplicate month (1 at both places), but it paid for itself after 6 months so it was a no brainer.

Angie55

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Re: How to figure out when to switch places to rent?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2015, 12:02:19 PM »
It's really just the lost deposits that are the biggest unknown and could make or break the deal. We have notoriously bad luck with getting dinged for extravagant crap off our deposit no matter how spotless we leave it.  $75 cleaning lint from behind the dryer, $75 oil cleaning of range hood, $50 wrong touchup paint color that was given to us by landlord... I could go on and on. I don't believe we have ever lost a full months rent worth of deposit though so maybe I'm overestimating. I tend to assume the worst about everything.

Seriously, every time there is crap I couldn't predict in a million years. So its hard to say how much we would lose. All of it, maybe not. But according to yelp reviews of my management company it could be a lot. We did take a ton of pictures, but the place is old and started with a lot of questionable things they could try to ding us for that either happened while we were living there or were present before but weren't noticed for awhile. Although I always go through the effort of demanding mailed letters, phone calls, and emails I'm really not prepared to go to court to fight for my money.

Plus the non-$ portion of actually moving everything and resetting it up again. Yes, we have a ton of crap. And packing/unpacking/organizing is pretty much all on my shoulders. We always end up breaking at least 1-2 items of varying value. There's always the money spent switching out furniture that doesn't fit.

New place is $200 a month cheaper, better layout, more updated, but worse part of town. It is available 3/5 and our lease is through 3/31 so I'd expect to pay at least double rent for two weeks. The interesting part is we might be planning a trip for the last two weeks of March. So we would be paying double rent while not even in town... I love where we live but feel guilty about how much we pay. The best part is living downtown, but last year when DH lost his job, rent and utilities was more than 50% of my pay so we couldn't even spend money going out!

OSUBearCub

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Re: How to figure out when to switch places to rent?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2015, 12:14:25 PM »
It's really just the lost deposits that are the biggest unknown and could make or break the deal. We have notoriously bad luck with getting dinged for extravagant crap off our deposit no matter how spotless we leave it.  $75 cleaning lint from behind the dryer, $75 oil cleaning of range hood, $50 wrong touchup paint color that was given to us by landlord... I could go on and on. I don't believe we have ever lost a full months rent worth of deposit though so maybe I'm overestimating. I tend to assume the worst about everything.

Have you considered scheduling a walk-through? 

I moved a lot in college and the best way to ensure you get your security deposit back is to schedule a walk-through with the management/landlord.  Once you've moved all your stuff out and done your own cleaning, ask the landlord to walk through with you.  Take detailed notes (this becomes a legal document whether or not they sign it, should they still get shitty with you), date the notes, and then attend to everything on that list.  You will be able to handle cleaning issues for free and small repairs at a fraction of the cost they will deduct from your deposit.

Most landlords/managers have been really great about walking through with me.  You will be helping them ensure a faster turn-over on the unit and they won't have to go to the trouble of scheduling additional cleaners/handymen.  In a dozen moves, I've never lost a penny of a deposit this way.

Angie55

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Re: How to figure out when to switch places to rent?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2015, 12:43:00 PM »
And this is why I needed to write something out because you guys can make it so obvious... If we do have an overlap of rent a walkthrough with some days left to fix issues would make me feel a lot more confident that we wouldn't be leaving the entire deposit on the table.

If you can't tell I get really stressed out about the prospect of moving. You would think I would be used to it by now. But never going to happen.

tlars699

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Re: How to figure out when to switch places to rent?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2015, 01:16:55 PM »
It's really just the lost deposits that are the biggest unknown and could make or break the deal. We have notoriously bad luck with getting dinged for extravagant crap off our deposit no matter how spotless we leave it.  $75 cleaning lint from behind the dryer, $75 oil cleaning of range hood, $50 wrong touchup paint color that was given to us by landlord... I could go on and on. I don't believe we have ever lost a full months rent worth of deposit though so maybe I'm overestimating. I tend to assume the worst about everything.

Seriously, every time there is crap I couldn't predict in a million years. So its hard to say how much we would lose. All of it, maybe not. But according to yelp reviews of my management company it could be a lot. We did take a ton of pictures, but the place is old and started with a lot of questionable things they could try to ding us for that either happened while we were living there or were present before but weren't noticed for awhile. Although I always go through the effort of demanding mailed letters, phone calls, and emails I'm really not prepared to go to court to fight for my money.

Plus the non-$ portion of actually moving everything and resetting it up again. Yes, we have a ton of crap. And packing/unpacking/organizing is pretty much all on my shoulders. We always end up breaking at least 1-2 items of varying value. There's always the money spent switching out furniture that doesn't fit.

New place is $200 a month cheaper, better layout, more updated, but worse part of town. It is available 3/5 and our lease is through 3/31 so I'd expect to pay at least double rent for two weeks. The interesting part is we might be planning a trip for the last two weeks of March. So we would be paying double rent while not even in town... I love where we live but feel guilty about how much we pay. The best part is living downtown, but last year when DH lost his job, rent and utilities was more than 50% of my pay so we couldn't even spend money going out!

Have you considered the transportation costs from both starting places? If you were able to cut your daily commuting costs by 10$ a day at the new spot, there would be the positive balance you were looking for.