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 For Rent – How To Find Your First Apartment As A College Student

Many college students are looking to rent an apartment this coming fall. It’s time they move out of their parent’s basement and start living life on their own–or at least halfway on their own. This period of leaving home and entering college sounds all too exciting… until they realize the stress and hassle brought on apartment hunting.

Searching for an apartment is, simply put, no walk in the park. It’s no easy task to say the least. You need experience to be able to find the perfect apartment for your needs without going through a pin prick. But if you’re a first-timer college student, well, you’re out of luck.

Here’s some tips to make apartment hunting easier for you:

1. Start them early

This is a call to all parents out there who’s child is about to enter college soon – start looking for an apartment as early as possible. Your child isn’t the only one entering college this fall and more than likely those thousands of other kids are looking for a nice apartment, too. You’re going to have some competition. So the best response is to start searching early.

2. Spread your options – contact more than one apartment

Don’t put too much trust on one apartment owner who owns a very nice and affordable apartment. Fact is, the apartment might end up going to someone else, or this thing or that. There are too many variables to ascertain your getting the apartment. So I suggest you take up at least five different apartments and choose from there. When it comes to living space, it’s nice to have options.

3. Contract someone to co-sign for you

Some apartment owners-no, in fact, most apartment owners–are hesitant to take up a first-time college student with no co-signer backing him up. It’s an understandable situation.

So for all college students out there looking for an apartment, don’t come unprepared. There’s no excuse to try and search for an apartment without a co-signer. Ask your parents to co-sign for you. After paying for your college tuition, co-signing for your apartment shouldn’t be a big deal.

At some point you’ll realize, as a college student, that apartment hunting can be scary thing. It literally means you won’t be at home anywhere, the place where you grew up, add to that the stress of actually finding an apartment. But don’t worry. If you’re prepared, apartment hunting can be a fun and learning experience as well.

Apartment Investing Basics

Many investors looking to get started in real estate look at investing in apartments. Apartment investing is a great way to begin investing in real estate. This is because apartments are something that we all have had some introduction to and are familiar with.

We all understand that “people will always need a roof over their heads”. And that is the nice thing about investing in apartment buildings. Getting started will take some time, and if you begin with the basics, you will be well ahead of most investors just starting out.

Benefits of Apartment Investing:

1. Cash Flow
Bought properly, apartment buildings will provide a steady source of income for the owner. If you purchase a building in a good area with good management, your apartments will remain occupied, putting money in your pocket every month. The nice thing is that all of this can more-or-less happen on autopilot because you cah hire a property manager to handle the day-to-day activities.

2. Appreciation
This is an area where apartment buildings shine. Because the value of an apartment building is based on the income it provides to the owner, when you increase the net income, you increase the value of the property. Period. It is that simple – you simply purchase properties where you can increase rents and reduce expenses – realistically – while keeping everything properly managed and maintained. Try doing something – anything – to increase the value of your stock portfolio. You have no control whatsoever over your investment.

3. Equity Increase
Your equity also increases every single month. How? Because your tenants are paying off your mortgage. It may not be large equity jumps like when you manage the income and expenses. However, every single month your mortgage principal balance is reduced, thereby increasing your wealth. Month in and month out.

4. Tax Advantages
Apartments provide the owner tax benefits both through depreciation while owning the property and through a 1031 exchange. I don’t buy based on the tax benefits, but they are a nice bonus to get involved with apartment investing.

Steps to Get Started Investing In Apartment Buildings:

Education
Begin by educating yourself on apartment investing and property management. Even if you are going to hire someone else for the property management, you will want to have some knowledge base to go from. Start out by going through some apartment investment courses – they are difficult to find, but well worth looking for. In addition, if you can attend a live event with other investors, you will benefit from that, as well. Just by getting around others with like minds, you will be heading in the right direction.

Property Analysis
Remember no matter how nice a building looks, or how new it is, or how great the neighborhood is, it all comes down to the numbers. Never, ever lose sight of that fact. Decide what your goals are for investing in apartments and choose the properties that will help you get there – fastest.

Take Action
One of the biggest mistakes I see is a would-be investor who invests in his or her education, and never buys their first property. Take your time getting educated and going through the process, but I would encourage you to follow through and take action when the time is right. Then keep going. Get your first property and keep building your wealth over time.