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Winter rental tips: "5 to 10% off is not out of the question"

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From a seasonal perspective, the New York City rental market tends to heat up with the mercury and hibernate in the cold.

“The summer and fall are times of new beginnings, with people starting jobs, starting school, and getting their kids into school moving in the summer,” observes Gus Waite, a managing director and rental broker at BondNY fond of referring to the rental market as "a business of dealing with people hookin' up, movin' up or breakin' up."

“Not many people have the time or energy to find an apartment in the colder months or around the holidays," he observes. "This time of year is mainly made up of people who are breakin’ up"--which is why it’s an excellent time to negotiate a deal on rents that may already be wafting down from their summer highs.

“Depending on the landlord, 5 to 10% off is not out of the question,” says Waite. “Each landlord has their own sweet spot.”

Some tips for negotiating a deal in winter:

  • Offer immediate occupancy, and let the landlord know that you are willing to sign a lease for 15 or 16 months, which gives them the opportunity to put the apartment back on during the busy summer months, suggests Waite.
  • While the slow rental season typically spans November through March, the month of February is traditionally the most lethargic, so consider waiting until then if you can. 
  • “Landlords can be impulsive too,” Waite notes, and the speed with which you are willing to sign leases and write checks will get you serious leverage this time of year “because of how many tire-kickers there are in the market right now.” Have your most recent job letter, two years worth of tax returns, banks statements, and landlord references ready, and make sure to give the landlord a complete package on the first go round.

 Other tips for getting a deal this time of year? Share them here.

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