The Best Time to Negotiate a Lease

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The Best Time to Negotiate a Lease

Staff Writer · Dec 10, 2009

Whether you are preparing to move to a new community, or considering an extension of your current lease, plan ahead and you may find better value or savings by timing the opportune moment to negotiate a lease. Most businesses, including rental communities, have a slow season and may be effected by other variables that will make the timing of your lease more valuable.

Identify the Best Time to Lease

The easiest way to find out is simply to ask. Don’t be tentative to approach rental communities and inquire as to whether there is a time of year that may be beneficial to you, if you were to move in. It may take several inquires before you speak to an agent or manager savvy enough to clue you in, but a little additional work on your end may pay big dividends when it comes time to lease. Also, consider the following when making your decision:

1. In cooler climates, the winter months are certainly a great time to ask for savings or incentives to get you to sign a lease. Similarly, you may find incentives if moving in the hottest time period, should you be living in a desert climate.

2. If living in a student based area or college community, then avoid moving at the beginning of the school term. Many communities who operate in this environment offer their biggest discounts shortly following the beginning of the school year, or following a semester break.

3. Watch for communities or advertisements offering big specials. Free rent, no deposit, or similar specials in a community you favor are a excellent indicator that this complex may have higher than normal vacancy, and may be more willing to offer you a super deal.

4. If you have been a great tenant where you live now, but are considering moving to another rental community, first consider another term at your current location. If you have paid your rent on time, maintained a good relationship with your currently landlord, and enjoy your location, then you are in a great position to negotiate effectively with the property manager. By providing you with a good deal, your manager knows he will be keeping a great tenant rather than risking a slightly higher rate on a resident he does not know. And, since you’re staying, there will be no cleaning or maintenance needed for your unit should you have decided to move out.

Always Try to Negotiate a Better Rate and More Incentives

Your timing is a great way to have the upper hand in negotiating a better rental rate. But remember, don’t just focus on the rental rate alone. You may also be able to receive any number of incentives, depending upon how desperate the landlord may be. A reduction of your security deposit, or guaranteed return of deposit in another valuable request. Free carpet cleaning, additional garage/ storage space, a larger or upgraded unit are all good examples of what good timing may garner you in your lease negotiations. So, consider carefully what each community is willing to offer in addition to, or instead of just a good monthly rate, and you may be surprised what your good timing and good negotiation will provide.

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