Take a look at your monthly expenses; I bet rent is one of the highest items on the list. We all need a place to live, and it doesn’t always come cheap.
What do you do if your rent goes up but you love where you live? Are landlords the ones holding all the power? Let’s talk about how we can negotiate cheaper rent for ourselves.
Why People Don’t Negotiate Rent
In the landlord- renter dynamic, people feel like landlords have the upper hand. People shy away from negotiating because they fear making the landlord mad. People also don’ t know that rent is negotiable at all because of this power dynamic.
But once you sign your lease, your landlord is actually more like your business partner. You’ve agreed to pay them a certain amount each monthly, and they’ve agreed to provide a safe and updated home.
Thinking of your landlord as someone you’re in business with will make it easier to start thinking about negotiating.
How to Negotiate Cheaper Rent
Each negotiation is going to be a little different, because each landlord is different. But there’s a formula you can follow that can help save you money.
1- The time of year matters.
Landlords have a harder time filling spots in the winter than they do the summer. If it’s February, you’ve got the upper hand. You should also aim to be negotiating around 60-45 days before your lease ends. You don’t want to go in three days before your lease ends, desperate for a place to stay.
2- Be prepared.
Know going in what you want to pay, and what you’re willing to offer to get it. For example, say your landlord offered you a $1575 monthly rent and you want to pay $1500. Go in knowing your number and be firm about it.
3- Everything is negotiable.
It’s not just rent that’s on the table. You can use your parking spot, your payment history, even your lack of pets as a negotiating chip. If you want to get to that $1,500 a month rent, you can offer to give up your parking spot in exchange for lower rent. You can mention that you have a high credit score and no pets, which makes you a really good tenant. Play to your strengths!
4. Be polite.
Negotiating is not like going into battle. You’re not there to kill your landlord. It’s more like going to dinner. You want to charm them, and come to a mutual agreement. Be kind and polite in your negotiations, and leave with both parties feeling respected.
There is no harm in asking for what you want in every area of your life, including your rental rates. When you negotiate cheaper rent for yourself, you’re doing yourself two favors. You’re actively saving money in the moment, and you’re practicing negotiation skills that you can use again in life.
Have you ever negotiated your rent? Tell me your tips in the comments!
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.