3 Keys to Successful Rent Negotiation

Negotiation is one of the hardest skills in life. Some people hate confrontation so much that they will do almost anything to avoid it. Being on the apartment hunt myself, I ran into this huge obstacle. I loved the apartment but could not afford the price. Even the thought of negotiation made me nervous, but I decided to at least ask. Here are a few pointers that gave me the strength, courage and, yes, a lower rental price.

1. Know The Area

Before I even began the negotiation, I did a lot of research. It’s important to know the range of prices in that particular area. Look at apartments with similar bed/bath count- why is the lowest price the lowest? Why is the highest priced the highest? It may sound obvious, but by doing a good amount of comparison you can start to pick up the “going rate” of certain amenities like W/D in Unit, parking, gym/pool in complex.

2. Do a Self-Check

Is what they’re asking truly more expensive than the going rate or are you just trying to get more for your budget? If there are cheaper apartments with similar layout and amenities, why do you like this one in particular? If you feel confident that this is the one and the price is genuinely too high, it’s time to negotiate.

3. The Actual Negotiation

They say that negotiations are best done in person. While I do agree, I hate wasting the time of people to talk for a few minutes. I prefer to negotiate over the phone. So, text/email the landlord and ask if you can talk sometime soon. Then, and this is important, prepare your notes to have with you while you talk.  I love to do the compliment sandwich strategy:

An example negotiation might look like-

“Thank you so much for taking the time to talk, landlord name. I really enjoyed touring your apartment and definitely feel like it is the one for me. The only thing holding me back is the price. If you’re open to negotiating, I’d be willing to sign a lease by the end of this week.

They agree to negotiate. 

Well, I believe that the list price of $$$ is a bit high for the comparable apartments near by. Most # bedroom(s)/ # bath(s) go for about $$$ with amenity X & amenity Y. I can afford $$$ a month and think it would be a competitive price for this unit. What do you think?

They say something to the extent of “let me think about it”

Once again, I really love this apartment and would be asking this if I wasn’t really excited about living here. I know how exhausting it is to keep showing the unit and would be happy to sign a lease asap at the lower price.”

Don’t forget to …

  • Be upfront.
  • Be kind.
  • Ask about including utilities/parking/other amenities if price is non-negotiable.
  • Don’t try to get the price lower than 15% asking price.
  • Thank them for their time.

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Author My First Apartment

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Marisa Rinchiuso is a Design+Production major at Carnegie Mellon with a passion for DIY, budgeting and event management. She's always on the search for a great deal and new projects. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, crafts and travel.

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