The cost of living can be astronomically high and depending on where you live, it can take up a major portion of your paycheck. Renting a house or apartment is no different. The good news is that as the renter, you do hold a lot of negotiating power, especially if you come with good references or you are renewing your lease. Especially when it comes to renting a home, you can hold a lot of negotiating power if the owners know that you can be trusted to keep their property nice as well as pay your rent on time each month. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes time to negotiate rent.
Research comparable rentals in the neighborhood
There is no better way to plead your case for lower rent than to compare your rental to almost identical rentals in the area. There are numerous tools at your disposable this day in age, most of which come via the Internet. Having a few comparable properties in the same vicinity should be all you need to prove to your landlord that you deserve a decrease in rent.
Barter your services
All properties require maintenance and upkeep in order to keep them looking nice and functioning as a place of dwelling. Many landlords will be open to accepting your services for a slightly reduced rent. For example, perhaps you can mow the lawn yourself instead of the landlord having a landscaping company come out. If you are particularly handy or are knowledgeable in other trades, it never hurts to ask.
Keep in touch with prior landlords
The last thing a landlord wants to do is take on risk in a tenant. If you can prove a clean history of being a tidy and responsible tenant that pays their bills on time, that can go a long way. For this reason, you may want to start gathering references from prior landlords or just keep in touch with them for future references. A good track record goes a long way when it comes to asking for a lower rent.
Offer more of a deposit
Nothing speaks like money does when it comes to a rental agreement. Many landlords will require a deposit which is usually one month’s rent. Offering more months rent is a good way to ensure the landlord that you are indeed good for your word and limits the financial risk that they take on. A lump sum is always more valuable when it comes to the time value of money so it would be ignorant of your landlord not to take you up on the offer.
Walk away if it doesn’t feel right
It’s not necessarily bluffing so much as knowing that there are many other options available, and unless you are completely sold on the place there is no harm in looking elsewhere if the landlord is not flexible at all. If you are being fair in your requests, chances are the landlord will end up realizing that and decide to work with you after all.
Timing is everything
Nobody wants to go hunting for a new house in the winter or much less move all of their belongings. It is for this reason that it is the perfect time to look for a new place to live. As are most things in life, it is all about supply and demand. When there is less demand you consequently have far more bargaining power. Use this to your advantage when it comes to looking for a new place to live. Most landlords know that people looking for housing during the colder months are far and few between and are therefore much more likely to negotiate.