Ron Denhaan, Realtor (949) 290-3263. Coto de Caza real estate specialist.
Happy couple negoyiating a home lease

 Can you negotiate a home lease?

In many cases, yes! Read on...

Question: "I found a great home for lease on your web site, but the price seems a little high. Is it possible to negotiate the monthly cost of the lease?...."
Answer: In many cases, yes, It's perfectly acceptable to make an offer on a lease price. but its best to approach it with realistic expectations. Many landlords are willing to negotiate the price of the lease, rent, or any of the other terms. There are several factors that will definitely improve your chances. If you have great credit and are willing to meet all of the other terms of the lease, your chances of getting a little off the rent are reasonably good. Time on the market is also a motivator, and a landlord with home that has sat for a long time may be willing to consider a lower offer.
Home for rent
On the flip side, If a home is already reasonably priced, the landlord will usually refuse to negotiate the rent. Poor credit or asking for lots of other concessions will also lessen your chances of getting a price reduction. Also, be aware that there may be other offers on the table. All things being equal, the landlord and his/her agent will usually give priority to an applicant who submits a full price offer.
A few other things to keep in mind:
Make sure your offer is reasonable. Landlords are business people who expect a favorable return on their investment. Don't insult them with a low-ball offer. Expect to pay a fair price for a nice home.
If the Landlord won't lower the rent, try for other concessions. In lieu of lower rent, perhaps the Landlord would be willing to accept a lower security deposit, or would be willing to pay for some of the services like water, trash, etc.
Avoid asking for the sun, moon, and stars. A landlord may be willing to lower the monthly rent, but will be put off by too many requests for concessions. Its OK to ask for a few things; just don't go overboard. Also, don't continue to ask for more once your initial requests have been granted. I have seen too many cases in which the rent and other terms were successfully negotiated, only to have the prospective tenant come back with additional requests for concessions. This isn't good business, it's sneaky business. Be straightforward and simply ask for what you want, up front.
Don't expect concessions if you have bad credit. If you have had a credit setback, your main focus will be to convince a potential Landlord that you are willing and able to pay the monthly rent. Don't lower your chances of getting the house by also asking for discounts.  
The bottom line is that it's OK to negotiate a lease. I do it all the time for my clients. Understand however, that many landlords simply won't negotiate and if you insist on a lower price, you may lose the home to another applicant. Be sure that you weigh your chances of locating another house against your desire to try to get the price you want. My advice is to be flexible and be prepared to give something in order to get something. A bargain is best when both parties benefit.

In summary, your chances of negotiating a lower lease are increased, if:
  • Your offer is reasonable and sincere

  • The home has been on the market for an extended period of time (landlord may be getting "motivated")

  • The home is priced above the market (there is room to negotiate)  

  • There are no other offers on the home

  • You have excellent credit (high FICO score, low debt, no derogatory items)  

  • You fit the desired profile for the home (no pets, non-smoker, etc)

  • You are ready to move in by the desired occupancy date

  • You are willing to pay the requested security deposits and other costs

Your chances of getting a lower lease price are reduced if:
  • You are offering an unrealistic price

  • The home is new on the market (no motivation yet)

  • The lease price is already lower than similar homes on the market

  • There are other offers on the table, including a full-price offer

  • You have bad credit

  • You ask for lots of other concessions like modifications to the home, changes to terms, etc.

  • You delay the move-in date

  • You haggle over other costs such as the security deposit, pet deposit, utilities, etc.

Footnote: I was browsing another web site on lease negotiation, which stated, "The best negotiation time is during the signing of the lease when the landlord has approved you...... and is ready to close the deal" . I strongly disagree with this advice and find it to be unethical and dishonest. I recommend instead that you be up-front and honest, by asking for all lease terms at the same time that you present your application, credit report, and references.


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If you have any other questions on leasing, please contact me at (949) 290-3263 or by e-mail at I will be happy to answer your questions. I specialize in helping people with leases in Coto de Caza, Dove Canyon, Rancho Santa Margarita, Ladera Ranch, Mission Viejo, Las Flores, Robinson Ranch, Rancho Cielo, Coastal communities, and the Santiago Canyon communities, in Orange County, CA. My goal is to negotiate the best lease terms possible for the home of your choice. Call me today to see how I can help you!

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