We all know the surge of dopamine that spikes when you score, or even anticipate, an exceptional deal—whether it’s from an item marked half-off on the sales rack of your favorite retail store or a promising apartment special on ApartmentFinder.com, something along the lines of “free rent on your first month when you sign with us by the end of this month!” But how do you find these apartment specials when they aren’t explicitly stated in a listing? The key is to understand how rent prices are determined, how the time of year affects rent prices, what the area competition looks like, and what you can negotiate.
Know that rent prices fluctuate daily.
Property managers use dynamic pricing software to determine a baseline price for rental units. Dynamic pricing, also known as demand pricing and surge pricing, is used by numerous industries. Some similar instances you may be familiar with include airline flight prices, hotel rooms, and cruises. However, rent prices for apartments change every single day. Unlike airline flight prices, for example, which may adjust every few days or from week to week.
Dynamic pricing software allows property managers to input various deals and details, considering the building occupancy, rent prices of other nearby apartment communities, and the location of an individual unit—an apartment on the top floor overlooking a lake will go for a different rate than a similar unit on a mid-level floor overlooking the dumpster. But the software is just a baseline. There’s a decent amount of wiggle room.
Try to move at the end of the year.
Wintertime, roughly from late October to December, has historically been the best time of year for renters (according to proprietary CoStar data), as far as landing apartment specials goes. Many apartment communities offer holiday specials during that time of year, especially since it’s the least popular time to move—due to weather conditions and added holiday stress.
Interestingly, Florida apartments don’t see much seasonality in their rent trends since the state enjoys a tropical climate year round. It’s still worth checking for specials during winter though. You never know what you might find, or be able to negotiate.
Research the area.
Shopping around is essential to getting a great deal on an apartment. Knowing what the standard rent range is for the area, as well as what the competition is offering, is crucial. Since rent prices change every day, visit sites like Apartment Finder on a daily basis to leverage a deal with the property manager.
Be ready to negotiate.
Everything is on the table when it comes to negotiating an excellent apartment rental deal. You can get application fees and amenity fees (parking fees, etc.) waived. You can even negotiate your rent. All you have to do is ask!
Knowing what the competition is up to really helps in this arena. Neighboring apartment communities are typically competing for the same renters. If one community is willing to waive your application fee, you can guess that the community across the street from it will likely waive your application fee as well. At the end of the day, apartment communities want to keep occupancy at 95 to 100 percent capacity.
As a renter, it may seem daunting to ask for apartment specials. But apartment communities usually expect it. Equip yourself with all of the knowledge gained from your research and ask for what you want. The hunt for apartment deals and specials is on!