The new word in the renting game is — NEGOTIATION!

Let’s imagine something. You’re looking at apartments (ok, so you don’t need to be so creative on this journey) and after 8 dumps you spot it. You’ve found “The One.” Whether you’re planning to live with roommates or not, it has everything you’d want, be it location, space, amenities, what have you. The other thing it has, is a price tag that makes it just out of your reach. Enter the negotiation (or if even the word scares you off, think of it as bargaining.)

Negotiation can lead to a win/win and make both sides happy, or at least close the deal.
It also makes ALOT of people uncomfortable, including yours truly. When living abroad, I went to Morocco and even though I was told that it made the merchants happy to bargain, that it was part of the culture and they’d be insulted if I didn’t try — I felt weird. Money can really weird a person out, especially if they’ve been brought up in a culture of malls where everything has a fixed price and you can either buy it or you can’t.

It doesn’t have to be that way and I’m here to tell you why: this is a renter’s market in many cities. People are looking to save, not spend, which gives all buyers the power of the sellers. Simple supply and demand, my fellow ex-collegiate friends. However, it’s not like you can negotiate a $2000 two-bedroom down to $1200. $1800-$1900 though stands a very good chance of success.

The best part of bargaining for a new apartment? Unless multiple people put down a bid the same day, there’s very little risk! Truly, the worst a landlord can say is no and they may say yes. If they’re on the fence, mention all the aspects of the apartment that “need” fixing up — whether you really feel that way or not. It gives you leverage. A friend of mine and her roommate paid $2000 for a 2-bedroom and their rent was going to go up to $2300. The friend called the landlord, said they really wanted to stay as they loved the apartment but couldn’t fit the additional rent and . . .wahlaa no increase. On the Lower East Side of Manhattan, no less!

For those of you who don’t feel comfortable negotiating, let me see if I can’t find some helpful links/resources for ya!

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Author My First Apartment

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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