Experts: How To Manage the Rental Market in States With High Rent

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What do states including New York, California and Florida all have in common? These three states have some of the highest rents in the United States. 

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In tight, popular rental markets, how can renters navigate finding a place to rent? Follow these tips to gain a competitive edge as a renter.

Work With an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Renters attempting to navigate a competitive real estate market should not go it alone. This is especially true of renters who are unfamiliar with the territory and struggling to identify a great deal or an ideal housing option for their needs. 

Mario Pannunzio, licensed real estate salesperson at SERHANT, recommends identifying and working with an experienced agent with an excellent track record in this specific market. Seasoned, well-respected agents can help renters find solid options and give themselves the best chance at getting their first choice in a home in a competitive landscape.

“Having a professional help guide you through the process can make all the difference in being first choice and finding the best deals in a highly competitive and high-cost housing market,” said Pannunzio. 

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Search For Apartments by Owner

Renters don’t have to limit their search to property management companies. Some apartment rental search engines allow renters to search for apartments listed by the owner.

Allyson Waddell, agent success manager at RentHop, said searching for apartments by the owner means the renter will not have to pay a broker’s fee since there isn’t a broker involved in the transaction. This can save renters upwards to thousands of dollars before signing a lease to move in.

Search For Condos and Co-ops

Don’t limit your search to apartments only in highly competitive rental markets. Andy Feiwel, real estate agent with Compass in New York City, recommends clients include condos and co-ops in their rental searches. This can be a win-win for renters seeking nice properties and potentially dealing with fewer applicants.

“These property types require more lead time as they both require board application packages, which can take 30 days or longer for approval,” said Feiwel. “There is somewhat less competition for these properties because they have extra fees for the application process and for moving into the building, but they tend to be nicer apartments with higher end finishes.”

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Negotiate a Longer Lease

Switching tenants is expensive for both landlords and management companies with both wanting to retain good renters for as long as possible. Renters in competitive rental markets who plan to stay in the area for a while may offer to sign a lease extending past 12 months. 

“While most leases last for 12 months, a prospective renter can offer to extend the lease by 18 or 24 months in return for a lower monthly rental price,” said Waddell.

Adjust ‘Dream’ Apartment Expectations

Prospective renters often go into an apartment search with a “dream” apartment in mind and try to avoid settling for less than their dream spot. The reality about these expectations? Michael Shapot, licensed associate real estate broker at Keller Williams NYC, said if you find an apartment without any deal-breakers it may be good enough for the time being.

Renters should prioritize their needs in terms of budget, location, amenities, finishes, light, layout configuration, pet rules and roommate preferences. But, sometimes you find a place which turns out to be the right place for right now — and this is perfectly fine.

“A renter needn’t expect to find the perfect and forever spot, but rather a place that’ll enable him or her to make due and maintain and grow life until circumstances warrant finding a more permanent home,” said Shapot.

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Consider Buying Instead of Renting

“If a prospective renter has the financial wherewithal to purchase and intends to stay put for a few years, buying should be seriously considered,” said Shapot, adding ownership helps avoid inevitable rent hikes.

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About the Author

Heather Taylor is a senior finance writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the head writer and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been published on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global, and more media outlets. 

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