How to Negotiate When Renting an Apartment

Renting an Apartment is Like Interviewing for a Job

When you are looking at apartments, it is almost like a job interview because the owner or agent is looking to pick the best tenant for this rental unit. The agent wants someone who will help keep up the value of the apartment. Here are some tips to help you get to the top of the line.

Look the part

You need to dress the part of a responsible person who will take good care of the apartment. You don’t need to wear a suit, but you should look neat and wear nice casual attire. As they say, you don’t have a second chance to make a first impression.

Act the part

Just like an interview, a firm (but not too firm) handshake is in order when you introduce yourself. Be sure to look the agent/owner in the eye and smile. I like to make some nice comment, like “what a view!” or “what a nice garden!” or something else positive. The agent will give you his/her card. I like to give my business card. It is a handy way to give my contact information and it shows again that I am a responsible person that can be entrusted with an apartment.

Be observant and ask questions

It is a lot better to see the apartment’s problems or flaws before you move in. If you see a water spot or suspect there may be flooding, ask questions about it. If the apartment is near the road, see if you can hear traffic. You should look at the unit with the same diligence you would use if you were considering buying the unit. If you see something, point it out and ask whether it will be fixed before you move in. It is a lot easier to get something fixed before you move in than after!

Visualize yourself in this apartment

I like to visualize myself living in the apartment. This helps because sometimes I can either be too critical or overlook major flaws in the apartment. If I really like a unit, there can be a halo effect so that I don’t see any flaws, until it may be too late. Drive through the neighborhood and see if there are people on the street. Do they wave to you? I find it comforting to know my neighbors are friendly. How far away is the grocery store? How close is the nearest restaurant? You are not just renting an apartment, but you are really renting a neighborhood. Trust your instincts. If there is a problem, try to resolve it or walk away.

If you don’t like something, speak up

Is there something about the apartment you don’t like? Is it perfect except for just one thing? Then speak up. For example, I looked at a rental condo that I really liked. It was spacious and close to the beach. However, it had an ugly old shag carpet that was burnt orange and even covered the steps to the second floor. When I was visualizing myself in this apartment, I just could not get past this shag carpet from the 70’s. Finally I thought, “what do I have to lose?” I am not going to take the condo in its present condition. I asked the realtor if it would be possible to replace the rug. Apparently others had complained as well and the realtor said “yes,” after consulting with the owners. I rented the condo with a nice new tan carpet that matched my furniture and was very happy. I know I would have been miserable if I had to deal with the orange run on a daily basis!

Follow these tips and you will be negotiating like a pro

Apartment Renting in Oaxaca, Mexico

Renting an apartment often presents a nice alternative to hotels or hostels for travelers staying in one location for a few days or longer. Hotels and hostels are more common than apartments, of course, but apartments should be considered.

Renting an apartment for a week or longer offers several advantages to staying in a hotel or hostel. One key advantage is cost: a nice apartment will just about always be cheaper if not far cheaper than a comparably nice hotel room. A second advantage is that an apartment almost by definition is far larger than any hotel room, and this is more important the longer the stay. Returning to a hotel room day after day where the only options are sitting on the one chair or lying on the bed gets old fast.

A third advantage is that an apartment has cooking facilities, which allows for additional savings; eating out daily adds up quickly. Additionally, people who have special dietary needs might prefer their own kitchen. Finally, one subtle advantage apartments have over both hotels and hostels includes allowing one to feel just a little less like a tourist and a little more like a local. Emerging from an unmarked building onto the street has a different feel from exiting a hotel.

Hostels can be quite inexpensive, and sometimes cost as little as an apartment, but that low cost comes with a price: shared dorms, bathrooms, and kitchen facilities. All can be shared, or sometimes a private room can be rented with a shared bath, or a private room and private bath can be rented with a shared kitchen. But the increased privacy costs more. Many people aren’t keen about sharing close quarters with strangers. This might be acceptable for more adventurous travelers (indeed, I shared quarters with strangers when I was younger) but most travelers want a nice, clean, quiet, and private place.

However, one advantage hotels and hostels have over apartments is that they tend to offer more service, including a desk clerk on duty most of the time, daily room cleaning, and so on. Apartments tend to be less directly service oriented. On-site manager, garbage removal, drinking water, sheets, towels, etc. might or not be part of the apartment package; you need to ask.

In Oaxaca, there are apartments that specifically cater to travelers and tourists, often associated with a hotel. They are prepared to deal with foreigners who don’t speak Spanish very well, and they also are likely to repair things that break and return your damage deposit when you leave. (Oaxacan landlords don’t necessarily do either!) There are other non-hotel affiliated apartment rentals that cater to the foreign traveler, but they aren’t always easy to find.

Finding them is not easy because there aren’t very many good ones. But here are a few tips that might help.

The first useful step, if you don’t have any local Oaxacan contacts, is to check the Internet. There are several good apartments listed that cater to foreigners and have nice, clean, tastefully decorated apartments at reasonable prices. Most are small, but they will be nice or at least nice enough. Arranging accommodations in advance is a huge relief to a lot of people, who then are able to focus their initial days or weeks on something other than trudging around looking for an apartment.

Info to seek — what is included in the price (gas, electric, city water, garbage removal, etc.), how much is the deposit, is there high speed Internet, kitchen furnished, maid service, and so on. Noise, access, security, pets, etc. Also inquire about the water tank capacity, a cistern, and its size. Apartments without adequate cisterns, especially during the dry season (Spring), can be very uncomfortable.

Be aware that apartment hunting after arriving in Oaxaca usually isn’t quite as easy and straightforward as in the US. In the US, many apartment buildings have an easily visible sign facing the street with contact info, and often basic info like how many rooms, baths, etc. And a quick phone call yields any additional basic info you need to decide if a showing is worth the time. In Oaxaca, signs out front are usually handwritten and have no info besides the phone number. So you often end up wasting time calling someone to discover it’s not worth seeing. If someone answers the phone. And if that person happens to know something about the apartment. Sometimes it takes multiple calls to get basic information.

Because there is no central listing of available rental apartments that I know of in Oaxaca, reliance on ad hoc listings is necessary. Newspapers have a small number of apartment rentals in their classified section but they tend toward the expensive. (This is not all bad: most gringos probably should look for more expensive apartments because the cheap ones are cheap for reasons prohibiting much gringo interest.) The Oaxaca Times, for example, could be checked on line before arriving.

A second place to look after arriving in Oaxaca is in the apartment listings at The Oaxaca Lending Library, on Pino Suarez just south of El Parque Llano. This is probably the best place to look, especially for nicer places that are gringo friendly.

After that, it’s pretty much walking around the streets and hit or miss. This last method is very time consuming and can be unpleasant and frustrating, especially when hot outside. I’ve looked at dozens of apartments with this method — it’s hot, apartments are far apart, sometimes the owners are 15 minutes late, etc. Often you can see within a nanosecond that the unit is nowhere near what you would consider — their definition of two bedrooms isn’t close to what you would call two bedrooms, the kitchen is grimy, etc. The primary advantage is learning the streets and neighborhoods and practicing Spanish. But gems are out there, however few and far between.

By all means consider renting an apartment if you are staying more than a few days, and especially if staying a week or longer. The extra space and the cost savings will make the search well worth the time.

Choosing the Best Downtown Apartments in Dallas

Downtown Dallas is an exciting place to live; as a matter of fact downtown in any city is usually a nice place to live. If you are moving and need to search for Dallas apartments that are close to everything then downtown is definitely the place to look. Downtown Dallas apartments are close to everything, from museums and entertainment, to parks, shopping, schools and churches.

Downtown Dallas is largely known for its farmer’s market. If you love to cook you will love going here to get the freshest of produce as well as cooking classes at times. Here you will not only find produce but you can also find flowers as well as other things for your garden. You can even find international merchants here so the food will not be limited to the taste of Texas but also from around the world.

You will find a number of different types of Dallas apartment rentals downtown. You can find renovated high-rise apartments in one or two bedroom options. For these apartment buildings you can enjoy amenities such as the location which is right in the middle of downtown, modern fitness centers and roof top pools with decks and grill areas.

These downtown Dallas apartments have nice interior finishes and appliances. You can find penthouse suits with upgraded packages. Some of these high rises give you a nice view of the skyline depending on how high up you are. There is also a 24 hour doorman as well as controlled access entry so you know you are safe. There are private screening rooms for residents and a sports lounge and gaming room.

At Landmark building you can find loft apartments. You can find one or two bedroom lofts as well as penthouse lofts. The lofts come with washer/dryer hookups, large open kitchens with luxurious appliances and not to mention the oversized bathrooms. The windows in the lofts are huge and let in an enormous amount of daylight so your downtown loft apartment will never be dark and dreary in the day time.

Historical Lofts can be found within walking distance of sports venues. They are also within close proximity to West End along with museums and the Aquarium. Here you will find a roof top patio with a private hot tub. Inside the apartments you will find sile stone countertops. Inside you will have exposed bricks, an updated kitchen with matching stainless steel appliances, a long island and wooden columns. There are washer/dryer hookups and you can feel safe knowing that there is 24 hour on site security. These lofts are close to major freeways so you can easily access transportation.

You can find some nice high-rise Dallas apartment rentals on the DART Light Rail. These apartments come with stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and wonderful views as you are 32 floors above the city. They have a private dog park, an outdoor fire-pit with accompanying kitchen, full service bar, media and game rooms and a poker and cigar lounge.

These are just a couple of the best downtown Dallas apartments you will find in your search. Whichever you choose you will love it here in the hub of the city.