Signing a lease can be challenge and daunting task, especially if it's for your first apartment. But even seasoned apartment hunters should take a few moments to make sure they are getting the most out of the deal in as straight-forward a manner as possible.

  • Be confident. Landlords respect potential renters who are confident and knowledgeable. You will receive favorable treatment.
  • A little charm and friendliness goes a long way. Have you ever worked at a job and a customer took an interest in you as a person, which resulted in you dropping your guard and going the extra mile to help him/her? Open up the conversation with a question such as "How is your day?" or another question that leads to "breaking the ice."
  • Ask many questions to become familiar with the rental agreement. Helpful negotiating questions/points are: "How long has the unit been vacant?" "Are the neighbors friendly?" "Have previous tenants smoked in the unit?" "Do other tenants have pets?" "What is the typical noise level in the building/neighborhood?"
  • Get all the details up front. Ask for details in writing regarding the security deposit, maintenance, pet policy, rent due date, and lease term.
  • Let the landlord know that you have other apartments/leases that you are considering. If you are a good potential tenant, they will want to win your business.
  • Be upfront and honest with all concerns. Having open communication from the beginning helps develop a solid landlord-tenant relationship. A tenant's honestly makes the tenant more attractive to a landlord and thus they are more willing to negotiate.

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