Negotiate a Lower Rent and Save Up for Buying a House

Is too much debt making it difficult to afford your rent? Or maybe you're looking for a bigger place - but without the bigger price? You may still be able to take advantage of the current renter's market before it disappears.

Recently, renters have gained major negotiating power, say Chicago bankruptcy attorneys. Younger people are increasingly opting - or forced - to rent instead of buy. Kids who moved back in with their parents and renters who added roommates to help cover their lease are finally looking to move back out on their own. Eventually, we could end up with a rental shortage. But in the near future, a lot of vacant apartments and potential tenants might mean a chance for you to lower your rent.

Do the research. Browse rental prices and amenities in your nearby area so you have a better idea what your place is worth. If you're overpaying, you might be able to use your statistics as leverage.

Consider asking for a lower price in exchange for a longer lease. Since your landlord won't be scrambling to fill that rental every six months or year, it should lower her costs as well. Of course, if you think you might have to break your lease, make sure the penalty you'd pay won't cancel out your savings.

If your landlord won't budge on a price, see if you can score some freebies, like a parking spot, smaller security deposit or a few free months in exchange for paying some of your rent upfront.

No matter what, make sure you fully understand the terms of your agreement. It's common nowadays for landlords to offer low prices to hook tenants only to hike the rental rate just a few months into your lease, or to run misleading advertisements.

Whatever your situation, it probably can't hurt to give negotiation a try next time your lease approaches expiration. You can take that savings and pay down debt, making rent even easier to pay in the future. You could even start saving for a house, and say goodbye to landlords forever.

Of course, if you've got so much debt that no haggling is going to make your rent affordable, it's time to take action. Find out how bankruptcy can help you get out of a rut and on your way to financial freedom - maybe even your own house - when you sign up for a free one-on-one debt analysis with a Chicago bankruptcy attorney.

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