4 Things You Should Try to Negotiate Before You Sign a Lease, According to Real Estate Experts

published Jul 3, 2021
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In certain situations, landlords might be flexible with the terms of your lease. While some will be more willing to make a deal than others (How You Pay Your Initial Deposit

One of the most common barriers for renters looking to move is their ability to come up with massive up-front fees, like security deposits, first, and last month’s rent. This is why Tyler Davidson, of The Davidson Group Realty, says sometimes you can ask to break that payment into more manageable chunks. “From time to time, we will allow tenants to pay for their security deposit in two to three payments instead of coming up with the first month’s rent and another month’s rent for the security deposit,” he says. 

Making (Minor) Cosmetic Changes

One of the benefits of renting a space is that you don’t have to do much to make your new home move-in ready. The walls are typically freshly painted and spackled, and all of the windows might be already outfitted with window treatments. But if you’re someone who really wants their space to reflect your style (and not, say, the least expensive blinds and paint your landlord could find), you can try to negotiate for permission to make some minor cosmetic changes

“As a tenant, you need to ensure that anything you negotiate and do to the property won’t damage the property,” explains Stacy Brown, director of technical training at Real Property Management, a Neighborly company. “If you want to paint a wall, can you color match and paint it back before moving out?” she asks. “Are you willing to pay for any unforeseen damages made by changing things on the property you negotiated for to make it more your own space?” If so, try and see if your landlord will give the okay. 

Moving Dates

Some landlords have a little bit of wiggle room in their calendar, which means they may be open to being flexible about anything from the date you move in (or out) to the length of your lease. Davidson says it doesn’t hurt to ask if your timing needs are a little less traditional. 

Outdoor Chores

Depending on whether the property you’re looking at is a condo or a single-family home, certain amenities can be negotiated, according to Davidson. “It really benefits the landlord to hire their own landscaper, so they can control how well the property is maintained versus leaving it to chance that the tenant will maintain it to their standards,” he says. “It’s not uncommon for the tenant to negotiate that into the contract.” No lawnmower? No problem — if your landlord agrees to cover the landscaping, that is.