AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) —– Congrats on finding your new apartment at the right price! Before getting your key, remember that signing the lease is essential, and it’s crucial to read and understand its contents thoroughly, says Jonas Bordo, CEO of Dwellsy. Dwellsy, a free residential rental marketplace, makes it easy to find hard-to-find rentals.

Here some valuable tips to enhance your negotiation skills, ensuring you get the best rental deal while maintaining a positive rapport with your prospective landlord.

First and foremost, recognize what aspects of your lease you can request changes for beyond just rental costs. These may include a free month of rent, alterations to the lease term, additional amenities like pet rent, parking, or gym access, or even having the landlord cover certain utilities. It’s essential to conduct research and compare your potential rental to others in the area, empowering you with valuable information for negotiation.

Be clear about your requests, specifying the exact changes you desire. Consider what you can offer in return, such as helping with maintenance or agreeing to a longer lease. Your negotiation leverage depends on factors like the demand for the rental and timing, so realistic expectations are key.

If you renew a lease, initiate negotiations well in advance, and wait until you’re approved before discussing changes.

Approach negotiations with courtesy and be prepared for back-and-forth discussions.

Finally, ensure that any agreed-upon modifications are documented in the revised lease and duly signed, as verbal agreements are not legally binding.

These tips will help you negotiate your lease effectively and secure a rental arrangement that suits your needs.

Bordo is the coauthor, along with Hannah Hildebolt, Everything You Need to Know About Renting But Didn’t Know to Ask: All the Insider Dirt to Help You Get the Best Deal and Avoid Disaster (Matt Holt, August 2023, ISBN: 978-1-6377439-2-8, $21.95). It’s available at major online booksellers.