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Are you planning on renting a new apartment? Are you already in an apartment, but your monthly cash flow—and your ability to pay your rent—is an issue? Do you feel like you’re paying too much?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then rising rental rates are probably a big concern for you. But how do you find out whether or not your rent is too high? A simple solution is to use the very useful website Rentometer.
Here’s what it is, how to use it, and some additional tools you can check out if “rent o meter” doesn’t do the job.
What Is Rentometer and Why Should You Use It?
Rentometer used to be a free to use web application that helped you analyze whether or not your rent was too high. You didn’t need to create any accounts on the website to use it, but since then the format has changed.
Now, Rentometer.com is a subscription-based website.
A lot of the time when people see the word “subscription,” they’ll ask “is Rentometer free or does it have a free option?”
While you can access some of Rentometer’s basic functions without paying, you can only use them a few times before the website will block you from searching for rental information.
When you reach your limit, you’ll get a warning similar to this:
After you hit your limit, you’ll need to sign up for a Rentometer PRO subscription to continue using the service. There is a free trial for this subscription, too, but like the search limit, it only lasts for so long.
A good reason why you should use Rentometer: It’s one of the fastest ways to find out what the standard rent is like in your area. The website also offers rental comparisons for real estate agents and landlords who want to see if their properties are priced competitively.
Rentometer also allows you to place a rent widget on your website, or list your rental-related business for free in the Rentometer Classifieds.
If you’re wondering about the risks and rewards of renting out your apartment on Airbnb, Rentometer will also help you competitively price your property.
Ironically—despite the fact that the people who are most concerned with rental rates are tenants—the website states that a lot of its users are property managers or owners. This might have something to do with the price of the website’s subscription itself.
However, just because landlords use this website doesn’t mean that the average tenant can’t look at it. In fact, knowing the market value on your rental unit is a smart move.
That way if someone tries to oversell you on a place that’s worth much less, you’ll be ready for it.
How to Use Rentometer
Using Rentometer is very simple. First, open up the website so you’re on the main page. Next, enter your area or the street where you live into the address bar:
Make sure the address you’re typing in is US-based. While Rentometer will pull up addresses outside of the US, there’s not enough data for Rentometer to make a call on your apartment’s market value.
It’s also important to remember that you have a limited number of searches available. So when you type in those addresses, make sure you get them right.
Next, enter the amount of rent that you pay on a monthly basis. This should be the total amount that you pay, including utilities. If you don’t include your utilities, it will skew the price.
In the dropdown menu when it says Beds, click on the arrow and indicate how many bedrooms are in your apartment. This is so Rentometer can more accurately gauge if your rent is too low or high based upon how much space you have.
Beneath this, there are options that are only available to PRO accounts.
- The Max Age of the listing.
- The Search Radius of the query.
- The Building Type, ranging from apartment to house.
- Report Branding.
Once you’ve figured out all your settings, press Analyze Address.
Rentometer will take you to a page where it will tell you whether or not your rent is a good deal. It will show you a visual “rent-o-meter,” a map of your area, some information on where it’s pulling its data from, along with the average rent in your city.
If you want to search for another address, enter the information into the search bar again. Once again, press Analyze Address. This is especially handy if you’re trying to decide between multiple apartment listings in different areas.
Again: You have limited free searches, so make those searches count.
What Is Rentometer PRO?
Because this website is subscription-based, we figured it was a good idea to briefly touch on the paid version of this site.
Rentometer PRO is good for people who have to manage multiple rental listings or compare their listings on a frequent basis. As part of the PRO Annual plan, you get full access to the site, along with:
- Historical Rent Trends.
- Property Details.
- Batch Analyses.
- Downloadable Reports.
According to Rentometer, your subscription can be canceled at any time and will close at the end of your subscription period, which seems straightforward enough. Unfortunately, their tiered subscription models seem to run on the expensive side.
Other Cool Things That You Can Do With Rentometer
Before we wrap up this article, we should talk about the other cool things that you can do with this site:
- To make Rentometer’s calculations more accurate, you can add your own rent to the website.
- If you’re a landlord, you can list your rental unit on Rentometer for free.
- You can list your rental-related business in the Rentometer Classifieds, to help drive traffic to your website. The Classifieds are very easy to use; just open up the page, click Add your free listing! Then fill out the details on the form.
If you’re not sold on Rentometer as a service, there are other places where you can compare rents:
- Zumper is a website that allows you to compare rental costs by city.
- Rent Jungle is a rent-comparison search engine that works in a similar manner to Rentometer (although they seem to be less active on social media).
There’s a high chance that one of these sites will have the data that you’re looking for.
Make Sure Your Rent Is Fair
Rentometer can help you find out if your apartment is too expensive. Even if you do find out that you’re paying too much, you’ll at least be aware of the situation.