Know Before You Rent

How to Negotiate a Better Monthly Rent Payment

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You want the best rental you can afford, but what if you could get a little bit more? What if the place of your dreams was just a little cheaper? Too good to be true, right? Not if you approach your next lease discussion with an eye on negotiating. Here’s how to negotiate a better rental rate.

* Do your homework ahead of time. Before you negotiate, take the time to research the rental rates for comparable properties in your area. You don’t want to pay more than you have to, but a landlord may not take you seriously if you try to negotiate too low.

* Put your best foot forward. Your negotiations will be more successful if you are an impressive candidate. When you meet your prospective landlord, dress professionally and be polite. You will also help your negotiations if you can show your landlord you have good credit, a strong rental history, a proven source of income and strong references.

* Think about commitment. When you sign a lease you may get a better rate if you’re willing to extend it. Consider signing an 18- or 24-month lease in exchange for lower rent. Your prospective landlord may be willing to give you a better rate if he or she knows the property is generating income for the next two years, especially if you appear to be a strong candidate (see point number two). Signing a longer lease will also protect you from increases to your rent.

* What can you improve? You’re interested in renting a piece of property, but a landlord will look favorably on you if you take ownership of it. Home improvements such as painting or updates within the home will benefit your landlord in the long run and, hopefully, benefit you in the short term. Be sure to discuss any proposed improvements with your landlord when you negotiate and check in with him or her again before you start the project.