Moving to a new apartment? 7 exorbitant fees you may have to pay – and how to avoid them

Physiques/iStock.com

Physiques/iStock.com

Unless you own your own home, you’re probably paying rent somewhere. According to Statista, the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the United States is $1,320, an increase of $38 from the previous year.

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While this is just a small increase, the cost of renting an apartment is rising in many parts of the country. In some states, they rose by more than 20% from 2021 to 2022 alone. While some of the more expensive states, like New York and California, have actually seen apartment rental prices decline slightly, rent is still a significant financial burden for many people.

According to a GOBankingRates survey, nearly 50% of renters spend between $751 and $2,000 on monthly rent payments. Meanwhile, only 36% of renters spend $750 or less, while 14% of renters spend more than $2,000.

Not only is housing expensive, but many apartments come with hidden or additional costs that you may be expected to pay – beyond the typical rent itself. Here are some of the biggest fees and how to reduce them.

Application fee

One of the most common fees when it comes to renting is the application fee, which landlords typically use to cover a background check.

“Prospective renters will typically incur a non-refundable application fee, ranging from $45 per adult to $100 per adult,” said Daniel Del Pozo, a real estate agent with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.

Some landlords may attempt to charge their tenants additional or higher fees during the application process.

“Make sure the application fee is only used to cover the cost of the tenant background check,” said Greg Helbeck, owner of Velocity House Buyers. “Besides this, there should be no other inspection fees before signing the lease.”

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Technology packages

Some apartment complexes, especially newer ones, charge technology fees for things like video intercoms, smart thermostats, and access to mobile apps. The total cost depends on the apartment, but can range from about $20 to $90 per month.

“Prospective renters should be aware of various potential fees and hidden costs when considering an apartment,” said Stacy Brown, director of technical training at Real Property Management, a neighboring company. “In addition to the monthly rent, this could include technology or internet and TV packages.”

You may be able to opt out of some of these fees, but it depends on whether they are part of the module or an add-on. Review your lease and talk to your property manager about your options.

Community amenities and maintenance

Aside from technology, many apartment complexes charge additional fees for use of their amenities. Shared amenities include a business center, pool, exercise center, on-site dog park, trash valet services and parking. These fees can add up — and fast.

For example, a reserved parking space may cost about $20 to $30 per month, while a covered parking space or garage can cost more than that. Other amenities and regular maintenance fees are often included in rental agreements, which means you can’t necessarily opt out of them.

Some services, such as valet parking or a concierge, may be optional. If you do not want to use these services, ask about opting out of them.

“To reduce renter fees, consider negotiating with landlords, looking for complexes with lower fees, inquiring about move-in specials, bundling services and choosing pet-friendly spaces,” Brown suggested.

Services

Some apartment complexes will include certain services, such as trash removal and sanitation, in the rent. But more often than not, you’ll be responsible for paying utility bills as a separate expense.

You may also have to pay a deposit when moving to the utility company, although this is more common for first-time renters. If a deposit is required to set up utilities, you might be looking for anything from less than a hundred dollars to several hundred dollars — depending on your credit score and rental history.

Before making the move, look for “apartments with more comprehensive amenities (to help) reduce financial obligations,” Brown said.

“Also make sure you can afford monthly expenses that you might not pay today: rent, utilities — like electricity, water and internet — and food,” said Matt Gromada, managing director and head of youth, family and junior banking at Bank. JPMorgan Chase & Co.: “If you’re not paying for utilities or food today, ask whoever is paying for them how much it will cost. The cost of rent/utilities/food varies greatly depending on where you live in the US.

Other initial costs

Depending on where you live, the initial cost of moving into a new apartment can be fairly hefty.

“At least for Las Vegas, (initial costs) tend to include: administrative fees (on average about $120), key fees (on average $50 to $100), and cleaning fees (on average $300 to $500). dollars), a pet fee ($300 to $500, maybe) and a deposit, which is usually the same amount as the rent, Del Pozo said.

All of this together equals roughly $790 to $1,320, excluding the deposit.

Renter’s insurance

Renter’s insurance, or renter’s liability insurance, is another fee to consider. Depending on the policy you choose, you can either pay this amount all at once or spread the cost over all months of the lease.

Each apartment complex has different tenant insurance requirements. More expensive or newer buildings may require a more expensive policy that covers things like personal property, unit damage, medical costs, and more.

Renter’s insurance usually costs about $150 per year, depending on where you live and the policy you get. If you want to cut costs, look for more affordable plans or opt out of unnecessary coverage.

“Compare available renter’s insurance options, review leases carefully, explore no-fee apartments, plan to move during reduced fee periods, and communicate openly with landlords,” Brown said. These are all ways to cut costs — not just on renter’s insurance but on other aspects of renting an apartment.

Apartment orientation fee

In addition to the fees you may already be aware of or expect, some apartment complexes will find other ways to cover additional fees when you rent.

“Some buildings have routing fees, so they’re paid to tell you all the other fees,” said Todd Stern, founder and CEO of TheMoneyManual.com. “It is wise to ask about all fees in advance to avoid surprises.”

“Careful review of the lease agreement and proactive questioning can help tenants understand and prepare for these potential financial obligations,” Brown added.

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Renting an apartment may be more expensive than you think, especially if you’re looking for upscale or luxury units. But you may be able to avoid some fees by shopping around, reviewing the rental agreement carefully, and simply communicating with your landlord.

“It’s hard to get around rental fees, as the landlord or property management company is asking for a lot of them,” Del Pozo said. “My advice for finding the lowest upfront costs for rent is to work with a real estate agent who can search for properties easier than a renter. Agents can also help with Negotiating lease deals.” “Through proper negotiation, an agent can either help avoid some fees for the tenant or even turn a rejection into an acceptance.”

GOBankingRates surveyed 1,091 Americans ages 18 and older from across the country between August 14 and August 16, 2023, asking twenty different questions: (1) Have you ever had trouble paying utility bills (gas, electricity, heat, internet, etc.) ? Bills in the last 6-12 months? (2) Which of the following bills/expenses was the most difficult to keep up with last year?; (3) Have you purchased a car/truck within the last 6-12 months? (4) Have you ever visited food coupons? (5) Are you using or will you use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to earn passive income? (6) Where to shop to get the best deals on groceries?; (7) What is your current annual income?; (8) How much have you been able to contribute to your savings this year?; (9) How much has your savings/investments decreased over the past year? (10) Next year (2024) Social Security’s cost of living adjustment (COLA) will be 3% instead of the 8.7% seen in 2023. Will this affect you? (11) What assets are in your retirement portfolio? (Select all that apply); (12) How much money have you currently saved for retirement? (13) How much personal savings do you currently have? (14) What is the first step you would take if you were starting a small business?; (15) If you had to choose between your current job and starting your own business, which would you choose?; (16) If you have any plans to start a small business, what is the timeline?; (17) How much do you currently spend on rent?; (18) How much do you currently pay per month on your mortgage? (19) How much has your housing risen (rent, mortgage, etc.) over the past year? and (20) How long do you think it will take you to save until you can buy a home? GOBankingRates used the PureSpectrum survey platform to conduct the survey.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Moving to a New Apartment? 7 high fees you may have to pay – and how to avoid them

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