Did you know that, in many cases, it’s acceptable to negotiate your rent? While the notion of haggling can be intimidating, the benefit is clear - more money in your pocket for paying down debt, adding to a savings account or spending how you please. When people think about negotiating, rent isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. That’s why we’ve developed these easy steps to help anyone face their fears and, hopefully, save some money.
Step #1: Do Your Research
To start off, you’ll want to research what rent is for similar, comparable apartments in the area. If you see that others are charging significantly less than the particular property you’re interested in, you may have a stronger case for negotiating the rent down. Print out those prices to share with the landlord - the more data you have to present, the better. This can also help you feel more confident going into the conversation. Knowing what similar properties go for in the area will help you maintain reasonable and realistic expectations when negotiating for a new price.
Step #2: Have Documents on Hand
If you have a clean record, it’s important to have your rent payment history on hand. Other paperwork like references from previous landlords and your credit score would be great to have with you as well. Gather any documents that could help you build a case, and have them ready to share when speaking with your landlord.
Step #3: Alert Your Landlord
You don’t want to spring this conversation on your landlord or property management company out of nowhere. Let whoever’s in charge know that you’d like to set up a meeting to speak with them about your rent. This way, you and the other party can have clear expectations regarding what the conversation will be about. This can also help ensure that the two of you will have a meeting designated specifically for rent negotiation.
Step #4: Practice With Friends or Family
If this is your first time negotiating prices, consider practicing with friends or family members before meeting with your landlord. Negotiating money is never an easy conversation to have, and if you’ve never done it before, it can be nerve-wracking. Practicing your talking points ahead of time can help you get the nerves out and identify any weak or problem areas in your argument to work on.
Step #5: Outline Benefits For Your Landlord
To make a strong case, you’ll want to hone in on how this decision will benefit both parties. If you're moving during a slower season, remind your landlord that they’ll have locked in a 12-month lease instead of a having a property remain vacant. If that argument doesn’t work in your particular case, try to find something else in your arrangement that will benefit the landlord. Perhaps you can leverage your previous records and show that your landlord will benefit from having a good tenant and receiving payments on time. To many, timely payments and quiet, clean tenants can be worth taking a small cut in rent.
Step #6: Purchase Renters or Tenants Insurance
In addition, offering to purchase renters insurance can take some of the financial risks off both your and your landlord’s shoulders. This may persuade some landlords to lower your monthly rent. Renters, or tenants, insurance would be used to cover certain damages inside the home caused by you or your guests, and it would protect personal property that’s been damaged or stolen.
Negotiating rent is not entirely uncommon to do, but it’s important to be prepared and have the right information and documentation ready. Remember, your landlord is human too, so approach your conversation with respect and empathy. You may be surprised by their answer.
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