Negotiating rent prices can be an intimidating process. Most of us are used to the idea that we can negotiate the price of a home, car, or even our wages. However, when it comes to selecting a rental property, most of use look at that price as being set in stone. Last time, we took a look at 3 tips for you to use when trying to find lower rent.
Now, we will see how those tips (plus a few others) can help us to negotiate rent in many situations.
7 Ways To Save Money By Negotiating Rent
Determine Your Priorities
The first stop in negotiating rent (or anything for that matter), is to set priorities, and also establish a list of items/features that are not important to you. Once you have determined the things for which you are not willing to negotiate, and also the things that are not important, you can negotiate in a more logical and consistent manner.
You also have to understand what your counter-party considers to be important, or your negotiations will go nowhere. Realize that the landlord is factoring every feature into the price of the unit.
The idea here is to be able to offer something to your potential landlord that will be more valuable (or at least equally valuable) as the amount of rent you wish to save.
Know The Market
When negotiating rent, it is important to know what the market price is for the average property which fits your criteria. By diligently searching all of these websites often (daily is best), you can detect changes in market behavior, trends, and anomalies.
If a property has been sitting on the market for a number of months, then you can be move aggressive in your negotiations – as long as you are willing to move in quickly. Also, you can see when a property is above or below the current market price.
There will be times when a landlord places an apartment on the market at a price that is below the market value. Many times, the most important thing to the homeowner is getting a good tenant who will move in quickly. In those cases, the negotiation has already been done for you – the owner is offering you a price that is below the market value – so it may be wise to forgo haggling for a lower price, and just move in!
Actually, in the last article, Cash Flow Mantra left a comment stating the exact same thing from an owner’s point of view:
As a landlord, anyone who tries to negotiate a lower rent is automatically disqualified from renting from me. It tells me that they are probably looking outside their price range. I usually price toward the lower end of the local market so I have lots of prospective tenants from which to chose. I can usually get a place rented in a few days without difficulty. I even had one time when someone moved out in the morning and someone else move in later that evening with the house cleaner working in the middle.
If you study the market, you will know when you are getting a “steal” – making any attempt at negotiating rent, not only pointless, but potentially costing you a great apartment (and forcing you to end up living with friends)!
When negotiating rent, you must realize that the agreement needs to make sense for both parties. Being flexible can help you be able to offer something that will make your prospective landlord willing to reduce the rent.
For instance, the biggest thing that a homeowner hates (next to having a tenant who doesn’t pay and destroys their property) is having a vacant home. If you are able to move in immediately, your potential landlord may be willing to reduce the rent.
This can be very effective if you are looking at a property that’s been on the market for several months. That is one of the benefits of using the rental websites I listed in the previous article – you can watch these properties sit on the market, and even take note of the price reductions as reality and/or desperation takes hold of the owners.
Sign A Longer Lease
As I mentioned above, having a vacant apartment can be a real nightmare for a homeowner. Also, the hassle and potential costs of finding a new tenant – as well as cleaning up and making repairs after a tenant moves out – is something that most landlords would rather not deal with.
If you can offer to sign a two or three-year lease, then you have a great chance of your request for lower rent to be approved.
This is one of the areas where you have a lot to offer. If you prove to be a great tenant, then this can be a real benefit to the landlord. Also, the added stability may be seen as a benefit to you as well.
This is probably the most overlooked tool in negotiating a lower price on rent. If you are able to provide some sort of service for your landlord – such a general maintenance or landscaping – you are more likely to negotiate a lower rent.
If you are moving into an apartment complex or building, offering to take care of some administrative duties (such as working the front desk in the rental office, or performing accounting functions), can earn you a much lower (or sometimes free) rent!
There is even a storage facility company that builds an apartment into each location. You are paid a little bit above minimum wage to manage the facility, but you get free rent and utilities!
The key here is to be creative in what you can offer.
Offer To Pre-pay Your Rent
Many people are able to successfully negotiate rent prices by paying their rent in advance. This can work in two ways:
First, you can agree to pay your rent for six months or even a year up front. If your landlord agrees to reduce your rent from $1,500 to $1,200 a month for a 1-year pre-payment, that means you will end up saving $3,600 over the first year! Even if you have to show up with a suitcase of damaged money (just remember to give it back if it isn’t really yours), it’s in your best interest to secure this large of a discount!
If you aren’t able to come up with that much cash at once, you can also ask for a discount for paying your rent 15 days or a month in advance. By simply paying every 4 weeks instead of every month, I was able to begin paying over a month in advance in a very short period of time.
Separate Yourself From The Pack
In the previous article, we talked about how most landlords will check your credit rating before allowing you to rent from them.
If you have a great credit score, be sure to flaunt it. If your current income demonstrates that you can easily afford the rent (along with other obligations), then be sure to call attention to that fact as well.
The same goes for recommendations from previous landlords. Anything that you can do to convince the homeowner that you are a desirable tenant, will help with negotiations!
This would also mean highlighting your flexibility, living situation (no kids or pets, travel for work often, etc), skills (the ability to do basic maintenance is great), and anything else that would help you to stand out from everyone else who is looking to get that apartment.
- Have you ever been successful in negotiating the monthly price of a rental?
- If you are a landlord, what are the most important things to you regarding a tenant?
- What other monthly fees have you been able to negotiate?
Thanks for the mention. I will say that as a landlord, pre-payment is a good technique. I do offer a discount to one tenant who pays by the first of the month. I have also accepted a lower total payment for 6 months upfront cash. It is nice not having to deal with collecting monthly. These are great tips especially knowing the market and what is out there.
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says
1. Yes, knowing the market is key. Say things like “Apartment company X has free parking,” for example. Make yourself sound responsible (you should be anyways), talk about your job for example.
2. What other monthly fees have you been able to negotiate? Free parking, discounted internet and cable services.
Jon - Free Money Wisdom says
What is interesting is that you can barter anything — if you know how to do it! Great tips in getting the landlord to lower the cost of rent. I’ll have to use them when I get married and go searching for an apartment.
Matt Wegner @ Financial Excellence says
Good points. I think way too many people just accept the price of something as the price they have to pay. I like to think everything is negotiable to some degree. I like to barter too – good way to save money on goods & services.