I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of money. Scratch that—I do know about you, because let's be real, we're all big fans of money. Alas, cash isn't the easiest of things to hold onto, especially when the cost of housing seems to increase exponentially each year.
All hope is not lost, however. If you can work up the nerve, you can negotiate your rent. And while haggling with your landlord won't make you a millionaire overnight, it could help you knock $100 off your monthly rent. Over time, that kind of cash adds up, my friend.
So if you're looking to save a few bucks to put toward something worthwhile (like investing in your future), give the following ideas a try.
Offer to put money down upfront
It's an unfortunate reality that, occasionally, tenants skip out on their rent. It makes sense then that your landlord would find it appealing to get a large portion of the lease contract paid for upfront. If you can swing, let's say, three to six months of rent in advance, there's a good chance your landlord would be amenable to lowering your monthly payment a bit. It's basically a discount for buying in bulk.
Bring something to the table
Everyone has something they can use as a bargaining chip. Think about your strengths as they pertain to your apartment building. Could you help stage model apartments prior to walk-throughs? Maybe marketing is more in your wheelhouse and your landlord needs help establishing a social media presence for the complex. Get creative! You possess some skill or talent you can likely barter for a lower rent. (Really, you do!)
Point out comps
If you feel like your apartment is over-priced, do some market research. Find out how much other apartments in the area that are comparable to yours are charging per month. Do they include any utilities? Do they have a clubhouse? If you can make a solid case that you could pay less to live somewhere else that offers everything your apartment does, your landlord might just play ball so as not to lose your lease altogether.
Sign an extended lease
Good renters can be hard to come by, and having to find new trustworthy tenants every year can be a major hassle for a landlord. If you don't plan on leaving the area anyway, offer to sign an extended lease agreement contingent upon your landlord reducing your rent. Guaranteeing consistent rent from responsible tenants for a longer time span is pretty good incentive for a landlord faced with finding new tenants or, worse, dealing with undesirable vacancy.
Agree to an earlier move-out notice
The logic here is very similar to the logic of signing an extended lease — since finding good new tenants can be a long and tedious process, it's in your landlord's best interest to have more than the standard one month's notice when a tenant moves out. This gives them ample time to vet all applications and conduct interviews, if so desired.
Put in some elbow grease
You've been looking at those overgrown shrubs in front of your apartment complex for a hot minute, so why not do something about it? By offering to do odd jobs for your landlord or apartment manager you get to kill two birds with one stone: beautifying your apartment and adding tangible value to your tenancy. Just make sure you set parameters ahead of time to ensure no one gets taken advantage of.
Pick the right time
As with most things in life, timing is everything. If you approach your landlord about dropping your rental rate during the middle of summer when they are slammed with inquiries, they probably won't budge much. After all, that flood of potential tenants knows the rent and is still interested. Instead, broach the convo in the "off-season," which generally runs from around November to April.
Ask for their opinion
My quintessentially Southern grandma was quite fond of the idiom, "You'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." The gist of the sentiment is that people are much more receptive when the person they're dealing with is polite. One way to apply this logic in real life is to frame the rate reduction as though you're asking for advice, i.e. "I'd hate to leave, but I don't know if I can swing the rent as is. What do you think I should do?" People love to feel like their opinion is valued.