Negotiating a New Lease 

Rental property types will vary greatly between towns and neighborhoods, providing you with a multitude of options to fit your needs. This variation can be quite helpful but it can also affect your ability to negotiate a good deal. Your efforts will largely be impacted by the differences in the type of property you rent, as well as the number of units available, and the timing of your transaction.

  • You’ll find that it is easier to negotiate with independent owners that are renting out a room, house, or small apartment building. Large apartment complexes rarely negotiate unless they have a high number of vacancies.
  • Simple supply and demand will be a primary driver of cost. The more units that are available for rent, the cheaper prices will be. At this time across many markets in the US rental are in high demand, pushing rates ever higher.
  • Timing the rental market for favorable pricing is near impossible, but sometimes you can get lucky. Prices will fall locally when an increased number of units become available due to people moving out. When vacancies increase in a particular complex or geography, prices will fall to attract new renters.

Whenever possible you should use a real estate agent, so that he or she can advise you on state laws and common practice for the area that you are moving to. Be sure to ask the real estate agency for a ‘rental agent’ who specializes in rental properties. If they don’t have a specialist, then try another agency. It is generally your responsibility to pay a rental agent, but sometimes an apartment complex may share in the cost.

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Tips for negotiating a lease:

  • Agency: hire a real estate agent if your budget allows it. If not, see if you can have a brief discussion with an agent in the area to give you some tips and advice.
  • Truth-in-Lending: get a copy of State lending laws and become familiar with it. In some states it is called a truth-in-lending statement. 
  • Cancellation fees: negotiate a cancellation clause as though you are moving out tomorrow. You never know when you might need to move out before your lease term is due. Avoid high cancellation costs in the future by negotiating lower fees now.
  • Monthly payment: always try to reduce your monthly expense. 
  • Security deposit: a smaller security deposit will help you keep more cash in your pocket for other move expenses.
  • Utilities, Internet and cable television: If you are unsuccessful with negotiating a lower monthly rent payment, see if the landlord will share or pay for some of your other monthly fees. 


The 3 Phases of a Successful Move


1] Properly research the new destination before you decide to move. Understand your financial and social impact to you, and download the free assessment form. Stressed Out by Moving


2] Learn about each step of the move process to get your move started in an organized way.


3] Manage transition and stress from the very beginning. Each family member needs to be fully engaged throughout the entire move to properly assimilate into their new environment.

Move Acronyms

AMSA  American Moving & Storage Association

CWT   Cost per one hundred pounds

DOT    Department of Transportation

PBO    Packed By Owner

SIT     Storage In Transit


Real Estate Acronyms

BPO   Broker Price Opinion

CMA  Comparative Market Analysis

FDR   Formal Dining Room

MLS   Multiple Listing Service

TI      Tenant Improvement


Relocation Acronyms

CRP   Certified Relocation Professional

COLA Cost of Living Allowance

FMV   Fair Market Value

MVA   Market Value Analysis

PCS   Personal Change of Station (military)



Also see Definitions and Terms