Surely you’ve felt the squeeze. Prices of practically everything have jumped over the last year, and affordable housing is no exception. The Consumer Price Index has risen 7.9% over the last year. It would be hard not to feel this pinch in your wallet. Americans are reevaluating their budgets as inflation spikes prices. Wages have not kept up with the spike, and many are working multiple jobs just to keep up. This means we are feeling short on both time and funds. We all need a place to live, but with traditional rent prices rising, this leaves less for our other essential needs and has us wondering—what are the alternatives? Thankfully, we have the option of shared housing and Houston furnished rooms.
Feeling the squeeze with traditional rent.
In Houston, traditional rent has increased 23% over the last 7 years. It increased 10% in the last year alone. The average rental in Houston is now $1,515 per month. Over the course of a year, you would spend $18,180. Keep in mind that this is just the basic cost to live in the space. This doesn’t include basic utilities and internet access, and these costs add up quickly. Traditional renting is expensive and inflexible, and it’s tough not to feel the squeeze when so much of your budget is committed to housing each month. But what is “traditional renting,” and is there a better way?
Traditional renting is a dated concept. It’s exactly what most think of when they think of renting. You visit multiple properties to try to visualize yourself in the space. Then, when you think you’ve got the space selected, you are told that you must submit an application. If you’re approved, you then sign a lease, pay a security deposit—which often requires a lot of your savings up front—and move in.
Signing a lease
A lease is a contract between a tenant (you) and a landlord. It gives a tenant the right to live in a property for a certain amount of time, usually 12-months. Some landlords prefer oral agreements, but it is more common for them to require your signature on a written lease. As the landlord provides the lease, it often includes stipulations that protect the landlord and their financial interests should the tenant break the agreement early. This can include allowing the landlord to keep the security deposit or requiring the tenant to pay rent even after they move out. Leases help protect tenants as well, and should always include what are called “renters rights”, but these practices can make it a challenge if the tenant needs to relocate during the fixed time of the lease. Traditional leases are often inflexible in this way.
A security deposit is often a part of this initial agreement. But what, and how much, is a security deposit? A security deposit is an amount of money a renter pays when beginning to rent a property. It is a financial assurance held in the landlord’s account that says the renter will cover any damages outside of the normal wear-and-tear of living in a space. The landlord keeps this money set aside and may use it to pay for any property damage caused by the tenant. The amount of security deposits varies, but it is often an additional two months’ rent. One of these months’ rent is your final month, and the other is the amount of the deposit.
Take the average monthly rental in Houston of $1,515, multiply it by two, and you get a $3,030 security deposit. While security deposits help protect a landlord’s property, they can make it challenging for people to rent the property. Along with the security deposit, you’ll need to cover the first month’s rent as well. When combined, the first month, last month, and security deposit will total $4,545. Without considering furnishing your new home, this is just the amount to move in as you will still need to put down deposits on utilities and internet service. Basic utilities (water, electric, sewer, garbage) will, on average, cost around $155 per month. Internet (with wireless) will cost around $75 per month. If you combine these three factors: rent, utilities, and internet will cost $1,745 per month. That is a very large percentage of most Americans’ monthly budget.
As costs continue to rise, traditional renting can get very expensive and make it even more difficult to reach personal and financial goals. Finding affordable housing shouldn’t be a barrier to building a life. But for time and finance-stretched Houstonians, what’s the alternative?
PadSplit is not like traditional renting at all. It’s a membership program that allows you to rent rooms with utilities included for a low, fixed weekly payment. This can make so much sense for someone working to build their savings and better themselves financially.
For a fixed, weekly payment, Members get private, furnished rooms. All of these rooms meet standards of quality and are hosted by the property owners, not an absentee ownership group. Better still, the weekly payment includes utilities, internet, basic furnishings, and laundry facilities.
The process for renting is clear and standardized, so you never feel left in the dark, as before when sending in lease applications and waiting for the phone to ring. PadSplit keeps the process simple. They facilitate relationships between renters and property owners and manage all the paperwork from payment processing to background checks. While some traditional leases require minimum credit scores, PadSplit does not. In fact, PadSplit reports your consistent membership payments to help Members build their credit histories and improve their credit scores. 95% of PadSplit Members see an improvement in their credit score.
Do you have the time to visit multiple properties?
Most of us feel stretched for time. Life is busy, and who has the time to coordinate with leasing agencies or landlords to visit rentals? PadSplit makes checking out your next rental simple. They offer 3D tours of almost every property in their inventory. No more calling potential landlords or finding yourself in awkward meetups. You can get a tour without having to go anywhere. PadSplit offers one free transfer within 14 days of your initial commitment period. Members can begin a transfer request on your Member Dashboard. Approved Members can also view cross-streets for specific homes and see nearby public transit, grocery stores, and gas stations. This saves time and money.
Room rentals can save you hundreds of dollars per month and give you the flexibility you need as you work to improve your financial life and reach your personal goals. Unlike traditional renting, PadSplit doesn’t require you to sign a lease or pay a security deposit. To become a Member, you fill out a background check ($19) and an employment verification form. The process takes 2-5 business days, and once approved, you can book a room and move in immediately with no long-term lease agreement.
PadSplit Costs Compared To Traditional Renting.
Traditional Renting will end up costing you around $1,515 per month. With utilities, that number increases to $1,745 per month or $436.25 per week. This rental will entail a long-term lease with a first, last, and security deposit to put down totaling $4,545 upfront in order to move in.
A Houston furnished room on PadSplit will cost you around $524 per month or $131 per week. That includes utilities and a laundry facility. What it doesn’t include is the massive outlay of your savings to be able to move in. You keep your savings, with only the $19 application cost needed to get you moving. On average, Members save $420 when they live in a PadSplit.
There is no long-term lease, so the flexibility you may need for your work is matched by the flexibility of your weekly living space. If needed, you can simply sign up for another great room in another great neighborhood in your new city.
As you look for affordable housing and the price of traditional rent continues to climb, know that there is an alternative out there for Houston furnished rooms that can save you time and money, and provide the flexibility you need to reach your personal and financial goals.