Should You Renew Your Lease? 7 Questions to Help You Decide

Moving houseYour lease is up soon and you’re pondering whether you want to renew. Sometimes, it’s a slam-dunk: of course you want to renew. Other times, it’s a no-brainer: no way you’re living in such a dump another year.

But this time you’re just not sure. Your current place is okay … but you don’t love it. Is it worth the hassle and expense of upgrading to a new place? While only you truly know the answer, here are some things to consider.

1.) What’s the market like, availability-wise? In other words, how hard is it to find a suitable replacement? If there are barely any vacancies and the great apartments are snatched up in a matter of hours, you may want to just renew. On the other hand, if there are plenty of vacancies and you’d have your pick of new places, well, maybe moving and getting an upgrade is the right choice.

2.) What’s the market like, financially? How much are you paying for your current place, and how does that compare to what’s available? Check some listings. You may be surprised to find you’re getting a deal on your mediocre one-bedroom … or you may find that you could save a lot of money if you moved to a comparable place down the street.

3.) Why don’t you like your current place? Really. Is it that it’s a bit small and that it’s a third-floor walk-up? These are the types of issues where, unless you’re willing to pay more, you’re going to have to live with them – small places with no elevators are cheaper for a reason. On the other hand, if you don’t trust your landlord, or if your loud, new-ish neighbor has been keeping you up several nights a week for the past couple of months – these are problems that could be solved by moving.

4.) How is your current living situation, roommate-wise? Do you have roommates? Do you like them? Would you rather live alone? Or, do you live alone, but you’d rather live in a house with four other people? If you’re interested in having more or less roommates, the only way to do that is by moving to a larger or smaller place. In other words, moving might be the right choice.

… Also, keep in mind that if you end up moving from having just one roommate to having three, you’ll likely pay less per month – the general rule of thumb is that the more people in a given living situation, the less each person pays per month.

5.) How much spare money do you have? Short-term, you’ll definitely pay more to move. Moving is an expense – staying put is not. If you’re tight on money, consider staying put … or downgrading to a cheaper place.

6.) On the flip side, how does your income now compare to your income a year ago? In other words, if you’ve gotten promoted in the past year, or you’ve otherwise improved your financial situation, maybe you don’t want to renew – maybe you want a real upgrade. If you can now afford a one-bedroom instead of a studio, for example, seriously consider it.

7.) How much spare time do you have? Moving to a great place can really improve your life – there’s no doubt about that. The question is, do you have the time it takes to apartment hunt, plan and then move? If you find yourself repeatedly thinking that searching for a new place is well worth your time, then you should probably move.

…On the other hand, if you find yourself dragging your feet and wanting to just have your normal weekend routine instead of going apartment hunting, maybe staying put is the best option.

Sometimes it’s hard to determine whether a gut feeling about moving is reasonable, or not. By sitting down and going through all the issues above, you’ll crystalize your reasoning and be confident in your final decision, whatever it may be.

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Author My First Apartment

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Alex has rented in Minneapolis, Queens, Brooklyn, and now Chicago. He can kill rodents and roaches when required, and loves picture-hanging projects. If you're ever in town, give him a shout.

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