How To Negotiate Rent (Best Tips and Tricks)

Negotiate Rent

Many potential renters don’t realize that you can negotiate the rental price on the lease with the manager or landlord.  This can be a tremendous benefit to the renter if they know what to look for in the lease and apartment, what comparable complexes there are around the area, and how to effectively negotiate for a lower price. 

Simply going in and asking for more amenities, free parking, and a lower price isn’t going to cut it.   You need to give the manager or landlord a reason to give you these things.  You first need to do your research.

Let’s walk through both How and What to negotiate in your lease price.

Can I Negotiate Rent With An Apartment? The Benefits.

Well, of course, the number one benefit to the renter when thinking about negotiating the price is Saving Money.  Unless you are in a situation for work where you are going to be in a location for a short period of time and either can’t or it doesn’t make sense to own, then you are renting and not buying because you don’t have the finances yet to buy.  

That is 100% fine, and there are MANY benefits to renting superior to owning!  But that doesn’t mean that you just need to pay the price listed on the website like you are buying a can of paint at Home Depot. 

Rent can be expensive!  Chances are, it’s 2 to 3 times the amount of your car payment, so ask yourself this… Did you negotiate the price for your car?  Of course, you did!  

However, just shooting for a lower price with your unit may not be the only benefit you can receive.  There are many benefits you can potentially get simply by knowing your stuff and leveraging your buying power.  

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Here are some of the things you can negotiate: 

  • A free or extra garage at the complex close to your unit
  • A better apartment with more bedrooms and amenities than the one you originally applied for
  • Parking for you and guests
  • Common space allowances for guests, such as the pool house and grill

And of course…

  • The PRICE

A great negotiating best seller resource to learn more tips and tricks is: Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

How To Negotiate Rent With An Apartment Complex

Simply going in and asking for more amenities, free parking, and a lower price isn’t going to cut it.   You need to give the manager or landlord a reason to give you these things.  You first need to do your research. 

First and foremost, how does the apartment compare in price to other apartments in the area?   Is it cheaper, more expensive, or about the same? What amenities and features does one complex have over another.   Does it have a pool and common area?

What about walk-out balconies on the higher floors? What part of town is the apartment complexes located in?  Does the neighborhood or proximity to businesses and restaurants have a value to you?

If one has a price that is a bit lower than the one you are truly considering, but that complex has a pool and grill you can use at any time, perhaps that is what is driving the demand, and thus the price a bit higher.   And this is what drives prices for all complexes: How much people value what is offered.  

So… does the apartment have a balcony?  What floor would you be living on? Is there parking nearby or right outside the apartment? What are the important features you are looking for, and how do the different complexes compare in offering those to you?

Knowing the answer to all of these questions is crucial when negotiating for price or benefits.  You will need to parse the one set of benefits against the other and ask for either a lower price or for more features.  

Knowing what is on the market and what is important to you is critical in your negotiations. 

Offering to pay more upfront is going to be one of your biggest negotiating tools.  More money upfront means a larger guarantee for the landlord.  It says to the manager that you are more likely to be able to pay during the entire term of your lease if you make a greater payment, say a few month’s rent, right upfront. 

And it is guaranteed money when you offer it upfront. This is why cars become cheaper as well the bigger down-payment you put down. A manager is going to be MUCH more willing to negotiate a lower rate or a better apartment or at least free parking if you offer to do this.   

In some cases, you can get an entire month’s free rent if you pay upfront.  This may seem like a lot of money to shell out upfront. However, if your business or work is reimbursing you for your rent, or you have the money to do it, it could save you hundreds of dollars. 

It may not seem like much, but a month’s rent can pay a lot of bills, buy Christmas presents, or allow you to take that trip you have been wanting to go on.  

Take the information with you when you go to talk to the manager.  Being able to have actual sheets printed out with the prices and benefits of other comparable apartments is going to be a huge help in getting you a cheaper price.  

Also, by showing him the information, it tells the manager that you are well-informed about the different choices you have, that you are price-conscious about your apartment, and that you aren’t making the decision lightly.  You want the best bang for your buck and it shows.   

Additionally, know that moving in during the winter has its benefits.  There are way more people moving during the summer than there are during the winter, and let’s face it, if you live anywhere north of Texas, it is probably going to get cold for several months out of the year.  

The manager or landlord is going to have pressure on them to fill their units, and they especially don’t want units going empty all winter. If their website has many units listed, they will probably be in the mood to negotiate a bit.  

Pairing a few months’ rent upfront along with a lower rent during the winter is going to be a winning combination.  Give it a shot!

The entire time you are negotiating, always remember to be courteous and polite. Sometimes, simply asking nicely for what you want is all it takes.  If it isn’t a burden on the apartment complex, they might be willing to just give you that parking place you want in exchange for having you as a tenant for the next year.   

Regardless, there is little downside to negotiating with the manager.  At worst, you are in no worse off shape than you were when you went in, and at best, you could get precious dollars off your rent, a better apartment, and more amenities. 

Go for it!

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John Boettcher

Co-Founder of Apartment School and a previous renter turned owner of many multi-family properties across the United States, with many years of experience in all aspects of the apartment, real estate, and investing world.

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