While paying rent is one of those things adults have to do, it shouldn't be a painful experience. You may be wondering, “Can I even negotiate my rent?" The answer is yes!
If you take the time to think about negotiating rent before you sign a lease, you may end up surprised with what you can get for your money.
The art of negotiating, for anything, is complicated.
You have to take into consideration how the other person will react to what you want. There's a right and wrong way to handle this conversation. These tips on how to negotiate rent have the potential to save you thousands.
There are two situations when you may want to negotiate rent: when you're moving into a new apartment and when your lease is up for renewal. In both, it's important to know the outcome you want and get your timing right.
Sweeten the negotiations a little bit by showing you want to make your property owner's life easier. Examples include:
Your achievement as an ideal tenant may not be enough to sway a tough property owner's mind when it comes to rent negotiations. Another tactic that may work is comparing the rent you're paying, or will pay, with other units in the area.
Spend a little time researching your local rental market and pull comps of units like yours with a lower price tag. This evidence can prove your rent is getting too high to remain appealing for the area. If you could find a similar or better unit for less than so could anyone else.
It's best to lead with why you're a good tenant who is deserving of a little break but backing it up with actual examples of price. This can show that you understand the value of your property and are willing to have a real conversation about rent.
A rental resume can give a new property owner clarity into what type of renter you are.
It can also remind your current property manager why they should keep you around. A solid rental resume should include information about you, including:
You may also want to make a note that you're happy to provide extra documentation to confirm you financial status upon request. Being open and honest about who you are as a renter and what your current situation is can help put your property manager at ease. This makes them more comfortable and possibly more willing to talk about discounting the rent.
To expand on what your property manager sees on paper in your rental resume, it's OK to brag a little about the qualities that make you a good tenant. Rent negotiation is a one-sided request. You're asking your property manager for something without giving something back.
As a good tenant, which not everyone is, this approach helps you point out why it's in your property owner's best interest to keep you in your apartment, even if that means lowering the rent a bit. Certain highlights to hit when talking about yourself as an outstanding tenant include that you:
As your property manager recalls the value and respect you feel toward your apartment, they'll most likely become more willing to negotiate.
Negotiating rent isn't just about receiving a rent reduction. Consider the benefits and amenities. While these aren't directly factored into rent, they can still save you money. These could include a free parking space or waived amenity fees.
Before the process of asking for lower rent begins, it's important to have realistic expectations about your apartment search.
Going into a neighborhood you can't afford and trying to get the rent low enough to fit into your budget is most likely not going to work. It's best to limit the neighborhoods you look in to those close to that number.
Establishing your budget includes factoring in what you can afford for rent, along with the other necessary costs to living in an apartment. “When you rent an apartment, you are typically only renting the space. Utilities, cable, water, groceries and sometimes even a parking space or a storage unit are separate expenses.
Do some research to find a ballpark figure on expenses," says Living on the Cheap. It's also important to note that the 30 percent rule that used to be the standard for how much rent to pay each month may no longer be the norm. Today, the median income for renters is a little under $35,000. Using the 30 percent rule, that's $875 per month for rent, which might not be enough to get you into an apartment in the right location.
Without a standard template, it's important you sit down and figure out what works within your budget for your entire set of living expenses.
Negotiating rent isn't about whether you can say you want to pay less, it's more about if the property manager is even open to discussion. You know it's a common conversation to have, but how interested is your property manager?
You don't want to sit down to sign your lease, assuming this is an open topic, and end up offending anyone. It's best to approach the topic politely by asking if they're open to discussing rental prices. Let them know this is a conversation you'd like to have before signing the lease.
To recap, when you approach your landlord, you should:
If you're new to your apartment, before signing your initial lease is the best time to negotiate the language that's in the document. If your property owner has written in a standard timeline for rent increases that are a little too high for your wallet to sustain, talk about it now before you're up against an actual increase.
Ask if they can extend the timing between increases or lessen the amount of each raise in rent. Offer to sign a longer lease or pay a few months in advance, if that works for you. This will prove they'll have more consistent income by compromising with you on this issue.
While some of the above conversational topics include a bit of compromise, it's important to go into this type of discussion knowing you're not going to get something for nothing.
Property managers don't offer discounted rent, so make sure to back up your request with evidence why you deserve a little special treatment.