5 tips to help you secure your dream rental home and get the best possible deal.Once you’ve found your dream property, you need to quickly decide on making an offer, which includes agreeing on the level of rent, duration of the lease and sometimes other conditions like completing minor repairs to the property, etc. Notwithstanding that you may be comfortable – or even enjoy – this part of the process, it is important not to loose sight of the broader goal: you want to secure your dream property at terms that are fair, for both you and the landlord.
How can you prepare for negotiating the terms of the lease and achieving a positive outcome? Here are 5 important tips to ensure you get the best deal possible.
Tip #1: Remember your limits… and stick to them
Remember the list of “must have” and “nice to have” requirements you defined for your “dream home profile”, at the beginning of your search (for more details see Defining your Dream Home Profile). This will help you to know where to set the boundaries when negotiating with the landlord or agent.
Tip #2: Knowledge is (bargaining) power… so make sure you do your homework
The more informed you are on the property, the better equipped you are to negotiate a fair tenancy agreement and a good rent. Information that could be helpful for you to frame your offer include:
- Property vacancy: For how long has the property been on the market? If it has been on the market for long, the landlord may be more willing to accept a lower rent than the asking rate.
- Size of landlord’s property portfolio: Does the landlord own multiple properties or just a single property? If he just owns a single property, the he / she may be dependent on the rental income to pay for the mortgage, whereas a larger landlord may think of his overall portfolio income first, which can make him more flexible on tenancy terms like monthly rent, break clause, minor improvements to the property, etc.
- General condition of the property: Any factors that may give you some space to negotiate a discount on the asking rent? For example, is the furniture worn down? Are there minor repair works that would ideally be needed but that you are willing to do without? In these cases, you may be able to negotiate a discount on the asking rent on the basis that the landlord will not need to spend money on getting things fixed before you move in.
- Comparative rental information: we recommend that you do some research to find out the asking rent on comparative properties in the area, as well as the rent the current tenants of the property are paying. You can also do a general Internet search (on sites like Zoopla, MousePrice) to find out if this property has been listed there by other agents for a lower price, or to find out previous rents for this property.
Tip #3: Get out of the "scarcity mindset"
The most critical aspect that will help you negotiate well is to have 2 or 3 good alternative properties on your shortlist. These properties should be within your budget, provide similar quality living space (location, area etc.) and be available for similar terms (duration of lease, etc.).
This will put you in a position where you can afford to ‘let go’ of a property and not feel pressurised to accept terms that may not reflect the market value of the rental property or not present a balanced deal.
It’s also helpful to plan your search so you have sufficient time to find the right property before needing to move out of your current accommodation. The general recommendation is to start searching within 4 to 6 weeks before your moving date.
Tip #4: Keep your cool
Even if you are standing in virtually the best property on the planet that fits your budget, never show how excited you are about the prospects of living there. Don’t get pushed into making an emotionally-driven decision. (Yes, this is speaking from actual experience!) Remember, even the best property is not 100% suited to your requirements, simply because you did not get it built yourself.
Tip #5: Carefully review the tenancy agreement
Make sure you fully understand and are aligned with the key terms outlined in the tenancy agreement. These will include the agreed rent, notice period, break clause, general rules for using the property, etc. For more details, please see our blog article Tenants’ Rights, Responsibilities & Tenancy Agreement.
And don’t forget...
You will not get a reduced rent or better terms unless you ask for it. Based on the points we covered above, always have a clear argument about why you are asking for something.
There are various public sources available for information on tenants’ rights that you may want to review before you start your negotiations or discuss a tenancy agreement with the agent / landlord: see blog post here.
If ever in doubt on the tenancy agreement, make sure to consult a specialist. Our professional Sherpas are also very well-versed in these matters and can support you throughout the negotiation and tenancy agreement discussion process.
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