Many of us feel too shy to negotiate the rates we pay, especially in regard to rent.
But seeing the rental prices shift with little to no changes in the property you reside in, it’s easy to see why so many people make an effort to put their shyness aside and learn how they can pay less rent.
The question isn’t whether you should negotiate your rent rate or not, but how you can successfully do so.
True, you can move, but you’ll eventually face the same dilemma – you want to pay less rent!
So, here are some of the things you need to know if you are to successfully negotiate with your landlord and pay less rent in the future:
• Preparation is key
Know the market: Read about the rates around you, gather rental statistics, (you may even prepare them in a short presentation or document).
Make sure you have a clear understanding of the available amenities, and how they compare to the unit you’re considering, and be prepared to openly negotiate with that information.
• Timing is everything
Choose the season: At which point do you have the most leverage?
When does the market have the lowest supply?
Do some research for your specific area.
Usually, during the winter it is hardest for landlords to find tenants.
So during this season, landlords, in general, may be more amenable to your terms.
Negotiate before your current lease expires: this way you won’t look desperate and will have a solid stance to negotiate.
• Your reputation speaks louder than you
The way you present yourself is key in negotiations.
Every landlord wants responsible, trustworthy tenants; so you need to present yourself as such.
Be an amazing applicant: gather all the required information (including tax returns, proof of employment, and positive references), go over it and send it quickly.
Use proper language, be polite and show exceptional mannerism whenever possible.
Negotiate in person: it is harder for someone to say “no” when debating in person.
Use this to your advantage.
Gather references: get a few letters of recommendation from previous landlords or apartment managers, which state that you didn’t cause any problems and paid rent on time.
You may even go a step further and get some references that speak to your character, like a former boss, or neighbors or someone in a non-profit organization.
Credit score: if possible and if your credit score is good, make sure you show it to your landlord as proof that you won’t be late with your rent.
• Considering bargains, then coming up with a creative offer
Consider bargains: Think about what you have to negotiate with, and how you can make the deal more appealing to your landlord and at the same time more beneficial for you.
Consider the bargaining chips you can offer to your landlord in exchange for lower rent, such as:
- Can you prepay for a few months upfront? (To show good faith and stability, in exchange for monthly discount.)
- Can you give up a parking spot? (In case you don’t own a car.)
- Can you commit to a longer lease? (If you plan to stay longer, you can negotiate to rent for 2 years in exchange for a lower rent rate.)
- Offer recommendations, referrals in exchange. (This will especially work with low occupancy properties.)
Point out the benefits of your stay: as stated before, use your profile to show why you will be the most reliable, stable tenant.
Point out the repairs: mention any repairs that may be needed tactfully in the conversation.
Then suggest that the current condition of the items in question merits a proportionate reduction in the rent price.
You can also offer to repair or replace these items yourself in exchange for reduced rent.
Be smart: know exactly what you want and what you are bargaining for, and aim for more than you expect to receive, then meet somewhere in the middle.