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How to Negotiate Rent Price

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Whether you are seeking a brand new apartment or your lease is up on your current place, you may decide you want to negotiate the cost of your monthly rent. Factors that will contribute to your success include your desirability as a tenant (good credit score, excellent references, etc.) how long the apartment has been on the market, and the going rates for other places of equal size and quality in your neighborhood. However, your effectiveness as a haggler will also rely heavily on your attitude, preparation, and the way you portray yourself to your landlord.

If you plan to argue your way to lower your monthly rent, this guide will provide you with some pointers to help you do it right.

Research the market

You don't want to offend your potential or current landlord by requesting a rent price that is unreasonably low or cheat yourself by negotiating for an amount that is still more than what other tenants in similar places are paying. In order to be properly informed of the current rent trends in your area, it's important to do your research before you begin negotiating. Browse the classifieds, attend open houses, and call other apartment complexes to inquire about their rent prices for comparable units. This way you will know if your apartment or the apartment you are interested in has a higher rate than average, and how much you could reasonably haggle for.

Provide references

When you are negotiating rent for a new apartment, you want to convince the landlord that you are a reliable and trustworthy tenant they would be happy to have in their building. Providing references from former landlords will convince them that you will be on time with your rent, take good care of your unit, and not be a disturbance to other tenants. The more convinced the landlord is that you would be a pleasure to rent to, the more likely they will be to agree to offer you a lower price for rent. Many landlords would consent that taking a slight cut in the monthly rent is a small price to pay in exchange for a tenant that will not create trouble for them.

Pay more up front

Agreeing to put down more money on the apartment is a good way to negotiate lower monthly rent payments. Rather than simply paying your security deposit and the first month's rent, offer to pay the first three months' rent right away. Receiving a larger chunk of change right away may make your landlord more apt to give you a discounted rate on your new digs.

Sign a longer lease

It can cost landlords money to find new tenants. If you promise to stay longer than a year, you can make yourself a more desirable candidate for the apartment. Offer to sign a two- or three-year lease instead of one in exchange for a lower monthly rate. Some landlords will also lower the rent if you agree in your lease to pay before the first of the month.

Choose the right time

Timing is essential when negotiating. If you are apartment hunting in the summer, you will have much less luck bargaining with a landlord that has potential tenants clamoring for their apartments. This season is the busiest and most popular time for moving--parents with school-aged children and people in college are all relocating. The optimum time to search is during off-seasons, and at the end of the month. Your best bet is to wait until the last minute to approach the landlord--he or she will be more likely to negotiate the rent for an apartment when they have been unsuccessful in finding a tenant. They may prefer to agree to a lower price rather than letting the apartment remain empty another month.

Be mentally-prepared

Before boldly walking into an office and attempting to strike a deal with the property owner, take the time to plan your strategy. Make sure you feel comfortable and are confident--you will not sway anyone if you appear nervous and unsure. Negotiate a price that you deserve compared to other rates for similar units in your area--don't attempt to demand an unreasonably low amount or the landlord won't take you seriously. Be flexible, but assertive as well. Practice the art of bargaining with friends if it will help you to prepare.

Be nice

As the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Being rude, arrogant, or overly demanding will not score you any points or get you any closer to sealing the deal. Be friendly and compliment the place to let the landlord know how much you wish to live there. This will make he or she feel confident that you will take good care of the apartment and appreciate the opportunity to rent in the building.

Build yourself up

You are selling yourself as a candidate for the apartment--do all you can to appear attractive and appealing as a tenant. Emphasize your great credit score and your stellar references from former landlords. Encourage the landlord to conduct a background check, employer verification and credit check to verify your credentials, or bring a copy of your credit report, pay stubs, and references to contact. You can also include references from neighbors in your building that can confirm that you were a quiet, peaceful and pleasant tenant to have in the building.

Know when to walk away

If you have done all you could and the landlord would not budge an inch on the rent, know when to quit. Simply let him or her know what you can afford to pay each month, leave your contact information and request to be notified if anything changes. If the landlord cannot find another suitable tenant within a few weeks, you might just get a phone call. He or she would likely prefer to agree to your conditions than continue losing money on a vacant apartment.

Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on June 7, 2013

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