With prices for commodities constantly changing and the uncertainty the pandemic has brought, having a rainy day fund nowadays is more needed than optional. On average, around 30% of your income is spent on rent, and while negotiating rent is something not everyone considers, it’s one way to save and be able to allocate funds elsewhere.
Extra funds that may come from negotiating your rent could go to other monthly expenses, savings, or towards a fund to buy a house. Whether you’re a first-time renter, looking to renew your lease, or are looking for a new place to move to, here are some tips for you to get the best deal for your rent.
Do your research
Before negotiating your rent, know if asking for a lower price is off the table since not all places may offer flexible rent, and work from there. Compare prices of listings around the area you’re interested in; you could do an online search or look around the area and compare prices for similar units. Having a competitive rate of other listings you’ve found may come in handy to negotiate a lower rate.
A property’s location or environment also plays a part in how high or low rent prices can be. Places near business districts, train stations, parks, schools, and other commercial establishments will naturally cost more than those that are located farther from these. Factor in whether you’d be willing to allocate savings from transportation into spending on rent if you’re considering a place closer to these amenities, or opt for spending a bit more on transportation and slightly less on rent if you’re considering the opposite.
Know your landlord
Independent landlords may be more flexible than bigger companies and be more willing to discuss better rent options with you, whereas some companies may implement a blanket, no negotiation policy for rent. Leasing from independent landlords may also allow you to build a friendly relationship with them if you intend to lease long-term. Establishing a working relationship with your landlord could give you a little more leeway to ask for a discount on your rent, or on your part, offer to refer tenants for rent credit instead.
If you’re planning to renew your lease and ask for a discount on rent, inform your landlord in advance and do so at least a month before your lease ends. You may also want to consider seasonality to get a better deal for your rent. It would be more ideal to negotiate rent prices during off or slow seasons like fall and winter versus peak seasons in the spring and summer. Landlords may want to avoid having vacant units in the winter months and be more lenient to discuss lowering your rent at this time.
Sell yourself as a good tenant
Be presentable and courteous when meeting landlords or agents since first impressions count. You could provide a recommendation letter from your former landlord or neighbor, vouching that you could pay rent on time and are a good tenant; or provide your previous payment history and credit score as supporting documents.
If you’re a new renter, proposing to lease long-term could be an advantage since you may not only get a lower monthly rate, but you’ll also be guaranteeing your landlord income for the period of your lease. Another option to warrant lower monthly rent is offering to pay months’ rent in advance since your landlord won’t have to go after you for monthly payment.
Be wary of deals that may seem too good to be true
A property may offer you a huge discount on rent but for some reason, could be struggling to keep tenants from staying long-term and moving out. You may also find that although you’re spending less on rent, you’re spending more on repairs or modifications to the property. Before signing a lease, you may want to look into reviews for a property since you may end up spending more to cover unexpected expenses that come with a unit. Getting a huge discount on your rent is great, but it’s also good to take these deals in with a grain of salt.
Also if it is too good to be true, it may be a scam. Know the signs of a rental scam and how to avoid being caught in a rental scam.
Know what amenities you want and need
Different properties come with different amenities. Some apartments may come with a built-in washer and dryer or may have storage provision, while some condominiums and apartment complexes may offer parking, a gym, and a pool. The rent for a property will depend on the amenities provided, it’s safe to assume that the more amenities a property could offer, the pricier rent could be. It’s important to know what amenities you will need versus what you can do without since you may end up paying for something you end up not using.
When in doubt, ask a professional. You can ask a property manager to help you navigate different rental payment plans, consult them for other rental concerns, and help put what you and your landlord have agreed on in black and white.
Being able to find the best deal for your rent may not be as easy for everyone. You may find a good deal early in your search, while it could take more time and effort for others. Negotiating rent is not only getting all the benefits of the deal but is about meeting in the middle where both you and your landlord find a middle ground that benefits you both.
This article was written for Kevin Vitali of EXIT Realty by a guest contributor.
|Kat is a Molecular Biology Scientist turned Growth Marketing Scientist. During her free time, she loves to write articles that will bring delight, empower women, and spark the business mind. She loves to bake but unfortunately, baking doesn’t love her back. She has many things in her arsenal and writing is one of her passion projects.|