Looking for Affordable Housing? 5 ways to save money on rent in Houston

June 03, 2022

It’s easy to love Houston. America’s fourth-largest city is an international attraction filled with world-class dining, arts, higher education, shopping, and nightlife. From the historic Heights area, Museum District, and Space Center Houston, the city is full of good places, good food, and good times. There’s something for everyone in Houston—except maybe affordable housing.

If you’re a tenant, you’ve noticed that along with groceries, gasoline, and utilities, rent costs are shooting up. Research shows that the Greater Houston area experienced a jump of 9.9% from February 2021 to February 2022, placing Houston at No. 49 overall nationally of the 100 cities included in the rental index survey. Pretty dismal stats!

         According to Forbes, the reasons lie in economics and can boggle the mind. Economists agree, though, that a reversal is on the horizon as rising mortgage rates dampen home prices, resulting in a leveling off or even falling house prices and rents. But economic wheels turn slowly, leaving you with the issue of how to find affordable housing in Houston today.

While we await the anticipated housing cost correction, let’s discuss how to take charge of your rent challenges by:

  • Getting a roommate
  • Negotiating lease renewal
  • Signing an extended lease
  • Tapping into the “economy of favors”

Getting a roommate

For many of us, thanks to stimulus payments in the first year of the pandemic and then seeing our after-tax income inching upward in the past year, sharing housing costs with a roommate became less common. But it may be time to reconsider the benefits: Having a roommate or two means you save money, feel safer, share chores, and experience companionship.

Negotiating on lease renewal

Negotiate and sign your lease!
Negotiate and sign your lease!

Now’s the time to get tactical: It’s easy to understand why landlords desire long-term renters over short-term. It reduces costly repair and maintenance required between renters, as well as lost revenue while the unit is vacant. Ready to try your hand at negotiation? Enter any lease negotiation armed with rental data from the area and prepared to support your rationale when proposing a lower rent. Remind your landlord that your housing expenses include not just rent, but hidden costs such as fees, fees, and more fees, for everything from utility hookup to paying for the “extras” the landlord made look so attractive when you first checked out the space. Don’t forget to discuss transportation struggles you may have. Mentioning your lengthy commute or the rental’s distance from public transportation hubs may be just the bargaining chip you need to encourage the landlord to reconsider and offset those expenses through a rent adjustment.      

Signing an extended lease

Another way to convince your landlord that you are a desirable tenant is to help them out. Most landlords want to avoid high tenant turnover, so your willingness to propose a lease longer than 12 months while paying a slightly reduced rent makes the option attractive to both renter and landlord. On that note, many landlords experience cash-flow challenges, so consider offering several months’ rent in advance in exchange for a discount. Cash in hand could make a landlord amenable to your request. If you feel that a landlord’s asking price for an apartment is still too high, look elsewhere.

Tapping into the “economy of favors” 

Trading goods and services is sometimes a good way to conduct commerce. Do you have some skills? Perhaps a bit of bartering with your landlord would be just the thing to make a cash-strapped landlord consider a rent reduction. If your landlord is agreeable to wheeling and dealing, be sure to keep meticulous records. The Internal Revenue Service, the legal profession, and the insurance industry have strict regulations and guidelines around this type of exchange. Something as simple as mowing a lawn or sanding a banister has a price tag, albeit invisible, and involves income, property, and liability issues.

Still need affordable housing?

Despite employing these and other negotiating tools, are you still grappling with finding affordable housing in Houston? PadSplit may be the solution you’re searching for. After an initial rent payment, you’ll become a PadSplit member and realize a tastefully furnished room, plenty of storage space, and a clean, attractive common area with trustworthy housemates solves your affordable housing needs.

Consider the PadSplit alternative:

The flexibility of PadSplit can accommodate multiple needs
The flexibility of PadSplit can accommodate multiple needs

As you plan your budget, one of its major components is housing costs. You’ll find that most rental housing includes much more than monthly rent — other expenses include down payments, security deposits, and utilities. And in times of inflation, trying to find an affordable lease for less than a full year is not easy. In today’s volatile rental market, rental prices are skyrocketing, and many complexes require at least a one-year stay commitment with a security deposit and the first month’s rent paid in advance. PadSplit eliminates those hidden fees for its members. Plus, unlike traditional rentals, utility costs are included in the price you’ll pay.  

While most housing facilities demand a specified lease commitment and apply steep penalties when broken, PadSplit offers flexibility by offering a 30-day minimum commitment and then weekly stay options. Payments can be made weekly or bi-weekly. 

PadSplit understands Houston’s extensive sprawl. That’s why its attractive, furnished rooms are close to major thoroughfares and public transportation, allowing you to easily get to work, school, or play. Some PadSplit residences even have specified space for vehicle parking, but if you want to avoid the inconvenience of owning your own vehicle, Houston offers many alternatives that include rideshare and Metro lines. 

PadSplit residences come furnished to feel like home, but bringing your own linen, artwork, and minimal kitchen supplies ensures additional comfort and further establishes a welcome touch of the familiar. 

Your PadSplit host ensures that your home is move-in ready. Members can expect necessary utilities, including Wi-Fi, to be up and running from the start, and, unlike traditional rentals, utility costs are included in the price paid by members.

For everyone’s safety, you and your neighbors are subject to background checks and employment verification, helping ease members’ minds about just who their housemates are. Straightforward membership rules remind PadSplit guests that their comfort depends on adhering to high standards set by PadSplit’s governing body: Covering everything from guest policy to vehicle parking, clearly stated membership rules leave no room for ambiguity, which ensures members can enjoy a well-regulated community from day one.

Now, more than ever, it’s essential to emphasize sanitation and hygiene. While members are responsible for keeping their own residence a clean and safe environment, many PadSplit locations also provide laundry facilities and a once-monthly cleaning service targeting collective, shared areas.

At PadSplit, member welfare is a top priority. That’s why access to our sites is strictly controlled and closely monitored. You’ll appreciate that, for security purposes and to keep access limited and privacy ensured, the addresses and lock codes for PadSplit homes are not provided until a member’s move-in day. On move-in day, you’ll receive a welcome email from PadSplit. This email includes your address, newly created front door code, and information about your private room door lock.

You’ll also receive free access to Teladoc, a virtual health care company that allows you to talk to a doctor, therapist, or medical expert anywhere by phone or video. Once your free account is set up, there’s always an expert available to help. Check out the Member Perks page to explore Teladoc and other free and discounted benefits.

The PadSplit life

Want to see what PadSplit can do for you? Becoming a PadSplit member is easy! Once approved, you can search for rental rooms, secure your booking, and move in — usually within 48 hours. Not surprisingly, demand is high for PadSplit facilities, but they’re continually scouting new and convenient housing to build, renovate, or design. Take a peek at what’s available and planned in the Houston area and use the drop-downs to find the living arrangement right for you.

As you explore rental properties and Houston insights to find a place to call home, it’s time to consider a newer way of lodging.

It’s time to consider PadSplit.

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