Here’s exactly what it costs me to live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The author's home is not shown — it is pictured below.

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Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The author’s home is not shown — it is pictured below.
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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

  • I live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where the median rent for a three-bedroom house is $2,250.
  • But, because I rent a room instead of owning a house, I pay much less: about $600 per month.
  • The two-bedroom, 1,300-square-foot house costs my landlord and roommate about $1,700 a month, including her mortgage, taxes, and maintenance.
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When people hear that I live in Fort Lauderdale, I can tell they think that I pay a lot in rent, which is easy to understand. From a higher-than-usual renting threshold and housing market, to ever-fluctuating utilities and maintenance costs, it’s a rational assumption.

According to The Sun Sentinel, rent in Fort Lauderdale and Miramar (a city south of Fort Lauderdale) are the most expensive rental markets in the area.

And according to Trulia’s June 2019 stats, the median rent in Fort Lauderdale for a three-bedroom house is $2,250. I, on the other hand, only pay $600 for one bedroom in a 1,300-square-foot house – including electric, water, Internet, basic cable, and maintenance.

How I pay less than my neighbors

If my neighbors knew what I paid to live in the same neighborhood, they’d probably try to take my place in the fantastic living situation I’m fortunate enough to have.

To give you a little context, I live in a nice non-HOA neighborhood, in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, single-family house with a pool. I share the space with another woman who is also in her 30s. We live in an ideal part of town, where we’re just one minute from I-95 (which travels along the entire Eastern coast of the United States), about 10 minutes from the famous Fort Lauderdale Beach, and 30 minutes from Miami.

Our home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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Our home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
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Courtesy of Laura Dunn.

My landlord, who is also my roommate, pays our monthly costs:

  • $1,200 for mortgage, taxes, trash pickup, and insurance
  • $110 to Comcast for high-speed Internet and basic cable
  • $55 for water
  • $90 for pool maintenance
  • $60 for lawn service
  • $125-$200 for electric, depending on the time of year (it is, of course, worse in the summer)

If not for my roommate, I’d be paying a total of $2,690 each month instead of the $600 rent I owe on the first of the month. Therefore, altogether, I save $2,090 each month for rent, utilities, Internet and cable, and maintenance.

Did I mention that my roommate-slash-landlord is also a very generous woman (who is also my maid of honor for my March 2020 wedding)? I’ve been incredibly lucky: When I first moved in with my friend, I had a low-paying job and the move was somewhat sudden. So she generously said I’d only owe her the low rent and never added it in when I started getting paid a little more. If not for her, I don’t know how I would even come close to being able to pay off my credit card debt or school loans, let alone feed myself and put gas in the car!

Due to how little I pay in housing costs, I am a firm believer in renting. While I plan to buy my own house in a few years, renting has been my only acceptable option for this season of my life.

Not only do I get to live in a great area of Fort Lauderdale for a shockingly low cost, but I’m free to come and go when I please, which came in handy when I moved a few years ago from one good job to a great career – and met my husband-to-be in that same move. For that reason alone, I will always be an exuberant fan of renting for as long as possible.