Is It Possible To Negotiate With A Bay Area Landlord?

If you read or watch the news, you know that in the Bay Area, it’s a seller’s market for real estate and for rentals, it’s a landlord’s market. While this is true, there are steps you can take to negotiate with landlords to make finding a home a little less painful.

The average Bay Area rental is about twice as expensive as the nationwide average. While we do tend to earn better than average, our average salaries aren’t that much better.

We’d be lying if we didn’t admit that landlords hold most of the power in this market, but there are still ways to get somewhat better deals.

Do your research

It will take a little homework, but before you show up for the viewing, know what comparable rentals are going for. Bigger Pockets has some great tips, and best of all, you probably won’t have to leave your couch.

Don’t put it off till the last minute

If you wait till everyone is ready to sign the dotted line, you risk angering your potential new landlord and you take away all your negotiating power. Take a tour of the home, let the landlord see how amazing you are. Arm yourself with some reference letters from previous landlords and bring a copy of your credit report. You can even run an FBI background check on yourself. All of this will show the landlord that you are responsible and a good tenant, and trust me when I say that that’s often more important than a couple hundred dollars a month.

Hire some help

In New York, it’s common if not expected to hire a rental agent, who normally charges about one month’s rent. While most in the Bay Area tend to go it alone, if you plan on staying for a long time, it might be worth it to recruit some help.

There are pros and cons to hiring a renter’s agent. Yes, there’s the cost, but they also tend not to scan sites like Craigslist and Facebook for private rentals. They do, however, know the going rates and they know when something is fishy in the lease.

Go through an individual

It’s usually easier to negotiate with the property owner directly instead of with a rental agency. Even if a property owner doesn’t give on rent, they might be willing to set up a payment plan for the security deposit or they might be able to waive a no-pets policy once they meet your charming fur baby.

h/t: Distilled Dollar

Featured image via Turkeychik/Flickr