The Apartment Chronicles

Using A Lease Analysis Spreadsheet To Save On Your Next Apartment

I finally moved into my second apartment a couple of weeks ago and I'm so excited I don't even know what to do with my self! Remember when I complained about my patio being behind a hedge of wasp loving bushes? Well no more hedges! This apartment is on the third floor so not only can I finally use my balcony, I have the an awesome view of the sunset.


For months I'd been looking at places to move to and I always ended up back at one particular property. I thought looking for my second apartment would be easier than looking for the first. In some ways it was but looking for the apartment wasn't the hard part. It's the decisions you have to make after you've selected the property you actually want to live at. For example, you have to make sure they have availability for when you need to move in, that they offer amenities you actually like and will use (after all you're paying for them so you might as well use them), and factoring in the cost it takes to move on top of the application fee, admin fee, deposit, and most likely pro-rated rent. Yeah, it's a lot. Because of that, I started to have second thoughts about moving but knew I had to or I'd spend another year in a place that I really didn't like.

So after looking online at my now current property, I saw a unit available for when I needed to move in, which at the time was in late August. It was on the second floor and $100 more than what I was already paying. Not ideal but it was a way to get on the property and out of my current place. After talking to my dad for hours on end and probably every day of the week, we found another unit! This one was on the third floor, close to the clubhouse, and had a view of the pool - perfect! We decided that it was best that I moved in to that unit even though it was a much earlier move in date. The rent would only be $43 more than what I was paying verses $100 more and $56 less than what I would have paid in the other unit. That may not seem like that much but when you look at the cumulative savings, it's a lot. As a matter of fact my dad went out of his way to create a spreadsheet that showed just how much I'd be saving even though there would be a pro-rated rent on top of the rent that I'd already be paying for my current place in August. You can see what I'm talking about in the spreadsheet below. I changed the rent numbers and based it on a 3 year analysis so it's easier for you all to follow along.

If you're not used to reading or working with spreadsheets let me explain this one a little bit. The point of it is to compare the cumulative amount of the higher rent with a pro-rated amount for August to the cumulative amount of the lower rent with a pro-rated July and August rent over the course of three years. The difference between them shows how much will be saved by choosing the lower rent and paying more upfront costs. Something important to note is that the savings on this chart will only be accurate if I actually stay in the same unit and it does not show how much the rent will increase per year. That being said, as you can see in the far right column, no benefits can  be seen until a year and a half into leasing there. After January 2018 you will be able to see the positive savings from choosing the lower rent with upfront costs rather than the higher rent. Even though the savings aren't instant in this scenario, it's still a great way to map out how much you can save when you consider moving. The chart that I use for myself is over the course of five years and the numbers are higher so the savings are more across the board. By the end of the five years, I will have saved almost triple the amount of rent I'll be paying!

I know this wasn't the most exciting post and but trust me, it will help you when you're moving! If you want your own version of the spreadsheet feel free to download it below. The formulas are already in place so all you have to do is plug in your own numbers. Happy Monday!

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