If you are looking for a place to live, you should know the average landlord is willing to consider negotiating the price of the rent. Take some time to add up all your monthly costs of rent to utilities, your phone, cable TV, internet, food, gasoline, car insurance and spending money. If the apartment you have your heart set on is a little bit out of your price range, offer less than the asking price just as you would when negotiating the price for anything else. The landlord might budge a bit once you tell him or her about how you have planned out your monthly costs in a detailed budget and determined you can afford rent at the number offered to start the negotiation.
Negotiating the Rent
The average landlord will not accept your first offer unless it is near the initial asking price. Remember to start out below what you are willing to pay. The landlord will either counter with a higher number or stand pat on the initial asking price. However, if no one else is interested in the apartment, the landlord might accept your first offer if you can provide proof of employment and pay the first and last months’ rent before moving in.
Consider the Cost of Living
Think long and hard before setting financial parameters for renting an apartment or house. Aside from rent, you will also have to pay for internet, cable TV, utilities and your phone. These electronic services add up to at least $200 to $300 per month. Plan on spending $10 per day or $300 per month on food. Automobile insurance and gas will run another couple hundred dollars per month. Do not forget to budget in at least $200 per month for discretionary spending. If you have student loans, you will likely have to reserve another $250 or more each month to cover your monthly payment. Once you have added up your monthly expenses, you will have a better idea of what you can afford in terms of rent.
Negotiating Strategies to get the Lowest Monthly Rent
You can enhance your appeal as a prospective tenant by offering to pay several months rent ahead of time. This down payment of sorts just might convince the landlord to agree to your negotiated monthly rent rate. Landlords also respond positively to offers to extend the lease beyond the initial 6 months or year.
Find out if the lease can be extended to 18 months for a reduced rate. If you are guaranteed one or several parking spots in the parking lot, consider giving up one or both for a rent reduction. This negotiating strategy is perfect for those who walk, bike or take public transportation around town. If you have a friend or family member looking for an apartment, tell the landlord. You might be able to get a monthly rental rate reduction of $20 to $50 or more for referring a friend with a stable source of income in need of a place to live.
Timing is Everything
If possible, try to snag a new apartment in the winter months. Landlords are willing to rent apartments at lower rates during the winter as it is the slow time of the year, or depending on the time of year to rent or buy. If there is inclement weather, it is a hassle to drive on over to the property to show the apartment multiple times without any guarantee someone will bite. Search for your apartment during this slow period and you just might be able to score a fantastic rate through savvy negotiating.