5 Ways to Cut Rental Housing Costs in an Expensive Housing Market

It’s no secret that Bend Oregon is a wonderful place to live. But it’s also no secret that with all Central Oregon has to offer—great weather, a plethora of outdoor recreation, and cool culture—cost of living comes at a premium. The median home market price in Bend has skyrocketed to a current number of $529,000 (up 6.1%) and is estimated to rise another 2.9% next year. That number has also affected rental prices, which are now at a median of $1895 per month.

Wanting to live the dream, yet not wanting to be house or rent poor seems like the ultimate goal in Central Oregon. Luckily, there are ways to live within the boundaries of this recreational haven and still have a little bit left over at the end of the month. With decades of experience managing properties in Oregon, Lava Ridge Property Management has seen the market rise and crash and through it all, maintained their presence in Central Oregon despite the dramatic swings in housing. That’s no accident—we know how to effectively work with renters and investors to keep costs down, keep properties well maintained, and keep both renter and landlord happy!


5 Ways to Save Money On a Rental Property

1. Consider alternative living with co-living or roommates.

Commune, co-housing, communal living and roommates are trending in today’s market. Co-habitating  allows renters to save money while also bringing people together and sharing a common space. 

Whether it’s like-minded professionals, students, or someone looking for the social aspect of sharing a space, with co-living, renters get a little more of it all. This new trend is rising in popularity, especially with entrepreneurial millennials who seek out higher-quality amenities, services, locations or features but in an affordable way. It’s also a great way to find affordable housing quickly, make friends, and test-drive a new neighborhood with little commitment. (Learn more about roommates and Central Oregon on our blog)


2. Consider a smaller condo, bungalow, apartment, town home or studio.

The great thing about Central Oregon is the fact the community has so much recreation to take advantage of. Because of this, residents are often surprised just how little time they actually spend in their household since they are often trying to squeeze every bit of daylight out of their day. Pair that with a 40-hour workweek or post-secondary school, and home often becomes little more than just a place to crash. 

With that concept in mind, how much house does the average renter actually need? Our property management clients are often surprised to find that a smaller condo, bungalow, apartment, above-the-garage apartment, studio or even tiny home is just the right amount of space them--and a heck of a lot easier to clean and maintain! Not only will a smaller place generally help save on rent, utilities and overall cost of living are generally decreased as well in these pint-sized places. 

We currently have a sizeable list of available rentals in Central Oregon both large and small to consider and unlike many renter placement services in town, we will never neglect a renter or investor based on the size of their property or budget. 


3. Establish a relationship with your property manager/landlord. 

Landlords and property managers do not want to turn over a property. It's costly, riskier and a hassle! Staying in a place for an extended period of time helps keep the costs of rent down. 

Landlords who like their renters often do not cripple a good renter with a giant rent increase because they do not want to give them reason to consider looking for a new place. The same goes for renters--each time a renter moves, there are costs involved with moving, security deposits, cleaning fees, key changes and deposits, so staying put is a huge financial advantage. 


4. Negotiate a Longer Lease. 

The longer the lease, the more negotiating power a renter generally has. Two-year leases usually carry the most negotiating power for the renter, but even an 18-month lease can give renters some room to negotiate the monthly rent price down. 

Another time to really put negotiation skills to the test is during lease renewal. Establishing a good payment history and keeping up on cleanliness and maintenance of the property can give a renter good momentum in the negotiating game. A good property manager like Lava Ridge Property Management can help go to bat for renters and work with the investor on a fair and reasonable compromise that protects both parties. 


5. Evaluate location.

Yes, ideally that close-in, walk anywhere rental would be fabulous, but you can't have champagne taste on a beer budget. Expanding the areas in which a renter would consider moving to can dramatically ease up the budget. For example, downtown Bend is going to be one of the highest priced communities in Central Oregon; but, a close-in property to downtown Redmond is still very convenient to shopping, restaurants, recreation, and schools, and rings in at about half the price. Even within Bend there is a lot of variation. For example, the median house value in Century West is over $590,000, where the much more reasonable neighborhoods of Orchard District and Lakspur ring in at $296,500 and $313,600. 

Especially if the renter is new to town, they should rely on their property manager to help suggest locations within their budget that will help meet their needs, wants and desires. Lava Ridge Rental owner Lynette Remund has lived in Bend, Oregon, since 2000 and has a great grasp on hidden gems and under-rated neighborhoods in Central Oregon that only a property manager serving the area for two decades would be privy to.


Is the Bend rental market tough? You bet it is! But when you have a property manager standing in your corner to help you find a property that is ideal for you and within your budget, you will be a lot happier with the outcome and more likely to stay in your rental longer which makes both renter and investor happy, and helps keep the rental costs down.