How to get the best deal?
Tip #1 – Don’t let your emotions over-control your decision
Even if you think that is the best property out there, don’t show your excitement. That property has not been designed for you (even if you think it is). You will design your own home after your MBA or a few years after it.
Tip #2 – Have the right information on the property to negotiate
The more informed you are on the property, the better it is. Here are some elements to know:
- Property vacancy: For how long has the property been on the market? If it has been on the market for long, the landlord may be more willing to accept a lower rent than the asking rate.
- Size of landlord’s property portfolio: Does the landlord own multiple properties or just a single property? If he just owns a single property, the he / she may be dependent on the rental income to pay for the mortgage, whereas a larger landlord may think of his overall portfolio income first, which can make him more flexible on tenancy terms like monthly rent, break clause, minor improvements to the property, etc.
- General condition of the property: Any factors that may give you some space to negotiate a discount on the asking rent? For example, is the furniture worn down? Are there minor repair works that would ideally be needed but that you are willing to do without? In these cases, you may be able to negotiate a discount on the asking rent on the basis that the landlord will not need to spend money on getting things fixed before you move in.
- Comparative rental information: we recommend that you do some research to find out the asking rent on comparative properties in the area, as well as the rent the current tenants of the property are paying. You can also do a general Internet search (on sites like Zoopla, MousePrice) to find out if this property has been listed there by other agents for a lower price, or to find out previous rents for this property.
Tip #3 – There are many amazing properties out there!
The most critical aspect that will help you negotiate well is to have 2 or 3 good alternative properties on your shortlist. These properties should be within your budget, provide similar quality living space (location, area etc.) and be available for similar terms (duration of lease, etc.).
This will put you in a position where you can afford to ‘let go’ of a property and not feel pressurised to accept terms that may not reflect the market value of the rental property or not present a balanced deal.
It’s also helpful to plan your search so you have sufficient time to find the right property before needing to move out of your current accommodation. The general recommendation is to start searching within 4 to 6 weeks before your moving date.
So when you get a copy of the tenancy agreement, make sure you fully understand the terms that are outlined. This will include the agreed rent, notice period, break clause, etc.