Paying rent is a necessary evil, sort of like death and taxes. But that doesn’t mean you have to pay full price. Believe it or not, negotiating rent is pretty commonplace. And while not every landlord is willing to compromise on price, many are more than happy to agree on a lower amount – especially if it means getting a good tenant to sign a long-term lease.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a new Dallas apartment or your lease is about to come up for renewal, here are a few expert tips to help you get more bang for your buck.
Don’t be afraid to ask.
A landlord probably isn’t going to put the offer of negotiation on the table, so if you’re interested in haggling a bit, you’re going to have to be the one who brings it up. As mentioned, there’s no guarantee that your landlord or property manager will go for it, but it can’t hurt to try. Start by asking whether they’d be open to discussing rent prices and if you could arrange a meeting to do so. (If you’re working with an apartment locator, ask them whether there’s any wiggle room on price.)
Do your homework.
Don’t just pull some random number out of thin air. If your landlord is willing to negotiate, be sure to come to the table armed with up-to-date and accurate data. It’ll be a lot easier to get a yes if you can demonstrate that the rate you’re requesting is still a competitive one. Research different properties in the area that are similar in terms of location, square footage, layout, number of bedrooms, amenities, etc. and be prepared to pony up some proof to back up your request.
Choose the right time.
Your landlord isn’t going to negotiate a new rate the day you show up to sign the lease. Likewise, planning too far ahead (like 6 months into a 2-year lease) won’t give you much leverage to work with. Make sure you time your request appropriately. Not only will this give you adequate time to meet and reach an agreement with your landlord, but if you decide not to take the deal he or she is offering, you’ll have plenty of time to find another place.
Trust us – it’s not always easy to find good tenants. If you’re one of the few, you can use that as a bargaining chip in your negotiations. For instance, if you’re an existing tenant about to renew a lease, use this opportunity to remind the landlord or property manager about how reliable you’ve been, what a thoughtful neighbor you are, how you always pay your rent on time, etc. If you’re a brand new tenant, highlight these qualities and then back them up with several trustworthy references.
Be ready to compromise.
Keep in mind that your first offer may not be one the landlord is willing to accept, so be ready for a counter-offer and be willing to compromise. You might even keep this in the back of your mind while determining your initial offer. For instance, if you’d be happy with $100 rent reduction, come to the table asking for $200. That way if the landlord counters with $100, you’ll still be comfortable with the result.
Negotiating rent is a great way to save yourself some money over time. Keep in mind, as well, that your negotiations don’t have to be strictly limited to cash. If the landlord isn’t willing to budge on price, he or she might be happy to strike a deal in other ways, such as free storage, waived fees, apartment upgrades or additional amenities. The options are many, and remember, it doesn’t hurt to try. Who knows – you might just end up with an arrangement you both can be happy with.
In the market for an apartment in or around the DFW area? Give us a shout! We can match you with the perfect place for your needs and budget.