Monday, April 22, 2013

Everything is Negotiable

We found a rental property this week that we fell in love with. Its almost everything I wanted, and I'm realistic enough to realise that I'm not going to get 100% of my list.

It has:
5 bedrooms (I only wanted 4!)
Floorboards - perfect when you have a pukey baby and don't want to wreck someones carpet
An extra living space that I can shuffle all the babies toys into as an informal lounge
Reasonable walking distance to Madeleine's high school
Ensuite (YAY!)
Dishwasher (Triple YAY!)
Air Con
Directly opposite a nice big park

What is also has though is:

Dated and daggy bathrooms
Minimal backyard space
In your face feature walls in every room that are very much personal taste (not mine though)

The property had been on the market for 4 weeks before I noticed it. I originally wasn't looking for something around $450 per week so hadn't noticed it, but realised after a few weeks of looking that I wasn't going to find anything big enough at that price. So I raised my limits and found this one (among others). But it was originally listed for $500, which I definitely didn't want to pay, and actually didn't think the property was worth.

After doing the initial property inspection and having a chat with the agent about the state of the backyard (debre EVERYWHERE), I left it a few days to see if the property would come off the market. Since it had been there for weeks, I had a feeling it wouldn't.

I sent an email to the agent with an application and all supporting documents, but let them know I was only willing to consider the property at $470 per week. I pointed out that the owner would be better off financially taking us at $470, than having it sit vacant for another couple of weeks, particularly as I was interested in a 12 month lease with a view to staying in the property 24-36 months.

The agent sounded so wary and surprised when she rang me to discuss the application, I really don't think many people try to haggle on rent. I discussed the comparable properties I had looked at, and the condition of the bathrooms and backyards with the agent, and she eventually agreed to discuss my offer with the owner. 
Time to get packing again!
He came back with a counter offer of $480 (!) which I happily accepted, $480 being the maximum I had decided I would be willing to pay for rent anywhere, and this house really did have much more living space than anywhere else. 

Total savings: $1040 per year in rent for being willing to negotiate and doing my research first. I have no doubt the owner will put the rent up first chance he gets, but at least I have 12 months guaranteed at a price I am happy with.

Have you ever haggled on rent? Or something else surprising? 

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