How to Lower Apartment Broker Fees

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How to Lower Apartment Broker Fees

Staff Writer · Nov 24, 2009

When you’re looking to sign a lease agreement for a monthly rent apartment using an apartment broker can be the right move. Although a fee is required for this service there are ways on how to lower apartment broker fees.

How do Apartment Brokers Work?

Apartment real estate brokers make their entire salary by the fee they charge for showing space. It is usually one month’s rent or ten to fifteen percent of the entire years rent. Brokers usually have the best, newest and lowest priced listings which is privileged information released to accredited brokers that pay the listing fee. This warrants charging a brokers fee. When dealing with an apartment broker find out what fee they charge up front so nothing changes along the way.

Here are a few tips on how to lower apartment broker fees:

Broaden Your Search and Stay Calm

To give you several choices regarding fees choose two neighborhoods and two brokers; one for each. You’ll be able to avoid duplicate showings, compare prices, spaces and most of all fees broadening your search and your control of that search. When you find a space you like don’t broadcast it. Brokers can be like wolves-they smell desperation, so all potential haggling would immediately go out the window if you squealed with delight. Plus, if the market is suffering and apartments are renting at a slow pace there’s more wiggle room. So play it cool.

Be Prepared and Don’t Be Afraid to Open Your Mouth

Be knowledgeable of the location, space layout, fair market value, etc. and a broker will take you seriously right from the start. Have any paperwork ready on site. Brokers will often reduce a fee if they see that you are serious and cash ready. That means be prepared to write a check and show any documents that may prove your income and credit score. If you have excellent credit you’ll be a much more desirable candidate hopefully prompting the broker to work with you and reduce fees.

Ask if the space you’re interested in is an open or an exclusive listing. If it is open then the broker will be more willing to negotiate than let another broker get the fee. They will also know that you are not a novice.

Tell the broker you want to split the fee with the landlord. Sometimes the landlord will do this to quickly get the space into a lease especially if your credit score is high.

If the broker is taking a percentage of the years total rent, ask if you can pay equivalent to one months rent. Depending on the rent this can save you several hundred dollars.

If you can pay the fee in cash a broker may reduce it.

Asking to tack the fee onto the rent is a way to avoid a lump some payment. A landlord will pay the broker’s fee and then break it down over twelve months adding it to your monthly rent. Sometimes, if you sign a two year lease your rent can actually go down in the second year after paying off the broker’s fee over the first year.

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