How to Negotiate Rental Rates Like a Pro in California

iStock_000011739530_SmallYou have been the perfect tenant for many years in a row. You love your place, get along with all your neighbors and don’t plan on moving out in the near future. Even so, you can’t help but notice that you are spending a lot of money on rent on a monthly basis. The ugly truth is that the housing options chosen by your friends, relatives and neighborhoods in the same ZIP code are much cheaper than the one that you’ve sworn not to abandon too soon. What’s the best tactic that you can implement to lower your rental rates without opening a dispute with your landlord? Would it be possible to negotiate your rent? Could you express your desire to invest in repairs and/or remodeling work in exchange for a convenient rent reduction? Keep reading to discover the most accurate answers to all these questions, as well as a few tips that you may find useful during your first round of negotiations.

Reasons Why You Should Work on Your Negotiation Skills

First of all, when should you actually ask your lessor to lower your rent? Here are three plausible (and very common) scenarios that would justify this move:

  • You don’t make enough money. Believe it or not, many young adults who want to live the Californian dream juggle two or three jobs at the same time to be able to pay rent and cope with other expenses on a monthly basis. If you can’t find an easy (and perfectly legal) way to supplement your income and don’t want to bend over backwards to find a new roof over your head, consider discussing your situation with your landlord and presenting a form of bartering as a potential solution to your problem.
  • You want to redirect your resources towards a new project. Any kind of startup requires a significant amount of money, especially if you don’t want to work from home or from the nearest internet café. If you’re planning on investing most of your resources in a new work-related project, you may want to keep your most important expenses in check by striking a deal with your landlord.
  • You don’t think that the property that you’re occupying actually deserves that much money. Let’s face it: even if you don’t have any other plans that could involve a major financial investment, perhaps you hate the idea of spending around $3,000 on a nice apartment located in a neighborhood where most accommodation options are in the $1,800-$2,500 range. If that’s the case, schedule a meeting with your landlord and let him know that you’re targeting cheaper alternatives located in the same area.

Reduced Rental Rates in Exchange for Home Improvements: Does This Strategy Actually Work?

Regardless of the factors that stimulate you to go see your landlord and ask him to lower your rental rates, the main question that you should focus on remains the same: how could you turn the first round of negotiations into a smashing success? There is no foolproof trick that you can explore and apply to achieve this objective without taking any chances; however, there are quite a few tactics that you could employ to spend less on rent save some cash at the end of each month.

  • Contact your landlord and suggest that you are thinking about moving out because you can no longer afford to pay rent. Mention the fact that you’ve stumbled across similar rentals carrying smaller price tags. Fear of competition may be the decisive factor that could intimidate landlords and convince them to lower their rental rates.
  • State the fact that you are willing to sign a long-term lease. By indicating that you’re eager to occupy the same property for many more months in a row you could earn the trust and benevolence of your landlord and get him to lower your rent.
  • Mention the fact that you are willing to handle your own repairs without any fuss. This is a notable advantage that busy landlords will always appreciate, especially if they have to tend to the needs of multiple tenants.
  • Make a list of the home improvements that you would be willing to invest in, in exchange for a rent reduction.

All in all, the tactics detailed above should help you become a better negotiator and come to an agreement with your landlord.

What If You Can’t Lower Your Rent?

In all honesty, finding an incredibly cheap rental in the state of California can be quite tricky (and nearly impossible if you’re targeting prominent, overcrowded cities like San Francisco, for example). So assuming that you have to renew your lease and your landlord isn’t willing to offer you a discount, what’s the strategy that you should employ to save some cash without lowering your level of comfort? Here’s an idea worth exploring: monitor the local rental market on a regular basis. Sweet deals don’t last long on the California market, but you could definitely stay one step ahead of the rest of the people who are looking for an upgrade or a less costly rental by using the data provided by a reliable apartment finder. Knowledge is power and represents the key element that could help you gain a competitive advantage during your apartment search. Apartment Hunterz brings you thousands of quality, verified listings and also facilitates your communication with landlords who may just be on the same page with you in all aspects. Reach property managers and lessors who are eager to fill their vacancies, negotiate rental rates like a pro, discuss the terms of your lease and submit your paperwork online. Apartment Hunterz simplifies each home search and lets you save time and money while falling in love with the Californian rental that’s just perfect for you.

Jun 2015

Ways to Rent a Californian Apartment When You’re a Prospect with Bad Credit

Man giving handshake to real-estate-agentBad credit is a major drawback that can stop you from renting a property in California. As you may already know, the competition on the Californian real estate market is fierce. Thousands of buyers and tenants may be looking for a new roof over their heads in Cali as we speak. So how could you possibly get one step ahead of those who have already started their house hunt? Moreover, would it be possible to get the keys to a nice rental when you have bad credit?

In all honesty, while trying to rent a new house or an apartment, blotchy credit can become an important obstacle, even if you have a sizable salary and a faultless renting history. Can you blame Californian landlords for being picky? Taking into consideration the large pool of individuals who would do just about anything to find a decent, affordable rental in some of the trendiest and prosperous Californian cities, it goes without saying that most landlords implement strict tenant screening policies and tend to favor candidates with a spotless credit history. Nonetheless, if you get rejected by a bunch of lessors, it certainly won’t be the end of the world. Here’s what you can do in this situation.

Evaluate Your Situation in an Objective Manner. Do you know how bad your credit actually is? If the answer is no, then there’s only one way to find out: start by checking your credit report before giving the green light to your house or apartment search. Get data from all three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) because you can never know which of these sources your landlord will rely on to check your credit history. While taking a closer look at your reports, you may spot inaccurate information. In this case, feel free to start a credit report error dispute to have the erroneous data removed as soon as possible.

Find a Landlord That Doesn’t Do Credit Checks. Let’s face it: most landlords do extensive background checks when it comes to renting their properties. This is perfectly understandable, considering the risks associated with an unscreened tenant, including late or no payments or property damage. Owners and property managers of large apartment complexes usually do credit checks. On the other hand, some individual owners may be inclined to skip this step, for one reason or another. You can increase your odds of meeting such lessors by reading the newspaper and circling ads. You could also tour the neighborhood where you would like to live and keep an eye out for properties with a “for rent” sign on their premises. Also, you should know that there is a much simpler method to reach landlords in real time without actually landing on their doorstep. With the iConnect feature brought to you by Apartment Hunterz, California’s most loved apartment finding service, you can connect with thousands of landlords and property managers with just a few clicks, submit applications online, schedule face-to-face meetings and discuss the particularities of a potential rental agreement.

You can determine whether or not a landlord performs credit checks by simply asking him the right questions. Find out what kind of criteria he sets in place when it comes to screening and approving tenants. If credit checks are not a part of the equation, you can rest assured knowing that you have high odds of being accepted, especially if you count on a stable source of income and have great references from your previous landlords. If you have your heart set on a certain property, but your landlord sees your bad credit history as a potential deal-breaker, note that there are a few things that you could do to clean up your image and build credibility and trust.

Prove That You Count on a Steady, Considerable Source of Income. A well-known rule of thumb says that you have to spend less than 30% of your monthly income (after tax) on rent. This means that your salary should be three or four times bigger than your rental rate to allow you to maintain a satisfying quality of life. Multiple recent paystubs indicating that you make a sufficient amount of money and have a secure job could help you convince landlords that you a reliable person and a low-risk tenant.

Rely on Solid References. Landlords get very skeptical when dealing with individuals with a bad credit history. You can try to eliminate this disadvantage by contacting people who have influenced your financial background one way or another (employers, your bank or past landlords) and ask them for reference letters. If this strategy doesn’t do the trick, it may be time to bring out the heavy artillery. Talk to your landlord and try to make him understand your delicate situation by explaining the causes of the financial hardship that impacted your credit history at some point (such as unemployment, medical bills or divorce). To provide extra guarantees, it may be a good idea to rely on a co-signer who would basically vouch for you by co-signing your lease. Of course, finding that special someone who meets certain credit qualifications and is also willing to stick his neck out for you can be difficult, but it’s always worth a try. Last but not least, remember that most landlords are open to negotiations, especially if you know how to sweeten the deal. For instance, you could agree to pay more money upfront; in some cases, certain landlords could require a bigger deposit or up to three months of rent paid in advance to keep risks at bay.

All in all, renting in California can be an extraordinary experience, even when you have bad credit. The key is to reach the most dependable landlords and spot fantastic properties that won’t drain all your resources. You can do all this and more by counting on the apartment finding services brought to you by Apartment Hunterz. Check out thousands of verified listings online, find the Californian rental that appeals to you the most and move in your new home in less than a week.

Mar 2015

5 Tips on How to Rent Your Californian Property Fast and Hassle-Free

Happy Young Hispanic Family in Front of Their New Home.These days, most people who live from paycheck to paycheck can’t actually afford to discover the pros and cons of ownership. Their hectic lifestyles, unexpected changes corrected with new job offers requiring a quick relocation and their semi-nomadic existence are other factors that convince them to rent a place, instead of buying one. This is great news for Californian landlords who are striving to rent their properties. But finding the ideal tenant is no easy task. How can you screen potential candidates rapidly and effectively? Here are a few pointers that you should consider before trying to promote your “for rent” property on the Californian market.

  1. Make Your Home Seem More Inviting
    Start with the basics: make your rental seem cozy and customizable. This doesn’t mean that you have to invest time, money and energy in a complex remodel project. Just think about the tiny details that could turn your house or apartment into a more welcoming environment and fix potential issues (plumbing or electrical glitches or pest problems) that could make the lives of your tenants a living hell. At the end of the day, don’t forget to remove unnecessary clutter, add a fresh coat of quality paint, cut the lawn and get ready to welcome your new tenants in style.
  2. Set a Decent Monthly Rent
    Go online and start looking for rentals in your ZIP code. A quick comparison based on square footage, specific location and amenities will enable you to set a fair monthly rent. Overpricing your property won’t do you any good, as inflated rates will only deter potential tenants.
  3. Promote Your House in an Effective Manner
    Use both online and offline channels to promote your rental property. Word-of-mouth is also very effective when it comes to finding new tenants for a property that you are trying to rent.
  4. Don’t Forget to Screen Your Tenants
    Don’t forget that there are a few aspects that you should focus on before giving the keys to your apartment to someone who is basically a complete stranger. Criminal history, credit history and tenant behavior are the main elements that could help you determine whether or not a certain individual would have what it takes to become a good tenant. If you want to rest assured knowing that your Californian rental is in good hands at all times, you should consider relying on a trustworthy property management company. Also, you should also know that third-party companies can take care of tenant screening, allowing you to get this weight off your shoulders.
  5. Rely on an Apartment Finding Service
    Wouldn’t you want to find someone who could promote your Californian rental properly and help you find great tenants in only a few days? Apartment Hunterz makes this possible, by putting you in direct contact with the right people who are looking for housing accommodations like the ones that you provide. The Landlord Center gives you access to all the tools that you could ever require to fill your vacancy; not to mention the fact that the largest apartment finder also lets you profit from additional services that you can unlock by simply creating a free landlord account. Give this system a try and find out how you could meet the most dependable tenants in only three days.
Jan 2015

5 Things to Consider Before Renting a New Place in California

Right Facing For Rent Real Estate Sign Over Clouds and Sunny SkyMaybe your most ambitious short and long-term plans are tied to the life of the rich and famous that you can only experience in Cali. Perhaps you would give just about anything to rent or buy a place in California, even is this move would force you to juggle two or three jobs and focus less on your personal life. But what exactly are the factors that you should consider before starting your house hunt? Here are five aspects that you should never overlook.

  1. Rental Rates. How much money would you make here? Would your monthly income be big enough to cover all your living expenses? Remember that you can always use online calculators to determine the cost of living in different cities that may interest you the most. Also, online listings let you compare rental rates by city or neighborhood and pick the best options that you can actually afford.
  2. Timeframe. For how long would you want to stay here? Most landlords require a minimal length of stay (typically one year or six months). In this case, month-to-month rentals may be more difficult to spot, especially in overcrowded urban areas that usually attract students, visitors or corporatists.
  3. Amenities. Next, try to separate your needs from your wants, when it comes to comparing certain properties in terms of amenities. Naturally, if you have pets, you’ll be determined to stick to pet-friendly apartments and houses; those that do not meet this criterion will automatically be rejected. But at some point, once you list all the deal-breakers, you will also have to underline the things that you could actually live without. I mean, would you really be willing to ignore a gorgeous apartment building simply because it does not have an on-site gym or wellness center?
  4. The Size/Category of the Ideal Property. A too-big home will make you waste energy and deal with sky-high utility bills. A too-small place will make you feel somewhat uncomfortable. Furthermore, townhouses may be perfect for those who appreciate breathtaking views and peace and quiet, but they could represent a nightmare for those who would never be willing to give up on the big city life and the satisfaction that it brings. In addition, apartment buildings offer a wider array of services, but cannot recreate the superior level of privacy that a cute, elegant townhouse will automatically provide. The Californian real estate market is diverse and lets both tenants and landlords contemplate multiple options. This is precisely why you should always analyze your real needs, lifestyle choices, budget and expectations before signing a lease.
  5. Location. Who wouldn’t want to live in Santa Monica or Los Angeles? Who doesn’t dream about pursuing a great carrier opportunity in San Francisco? Nonetheless, before putting your finger on the map and calling your real estate agent, you may want to leave your wishes behind for one minute and see things from a different perspective. Is the neighborhood of choice quiet and safe? Is it close to your office? Would it allow you to build long-lasting relationships with new people who share your interests and passions? You can get great answers to these questions by reading city guides and checking out crime reports.

At the end of the day, do remember that no matter how big, spacious, inexpensive or versatile you may want your new Californian place to be, we can help you find it in a matter of a few days, with minimal effort on your behalf.

Oct 2014