Start apartment hunting early (but not too early)
You are more likely to end up paying more if you don’t allow yourself sufficient time to find the right home for you and your family. Always allocate at least 1 – 1.5 months to do your research and spend enough time viewing, comparing and researching on condos to shortlist locations and condos that will fit your requirements. If you start searching for homes 3 months in advance, you may find it challenging to find a landlord that would be willing to wait 3 months for you to move in, without you having to pay a portion of rent during the transition. Ideally, you should allocate the last 2 weeks to view shortlisted homes, negotiate and make a decision.
Know Your Landlord
Start of by knowing your landlord. Understand if he or she has had multiple enquiries and find out if the apartment or condo has been on the market for a while. If yes, he or she may be more willing to negotiate. Timing is also important here because landlords are usually more willing to negotiate near the end of the month, especially if the apartment has been vacant for a while.
Identify what you need
Do you need a home that allows you to get to work in 10 minutes (by train or car) or do you need to stay near a specific school? We recommend identifying the things that matter to you from the onset. This is important so you don’t end up paying a premium for things that matter to others but not to you. Similarly, if you don’t need a full suite of facilities like concierge services, take a step back and ensure you are not overpaying for additional services you may never use
Know your Market
We can’t emphasize this enough. Landlords are typically represented by agents and are more often than not, familiar with market prices. Even if they do recognize that it is a “tenant’s market”, you are likely to be on the losing end if you enter a rental negotiation without any insight on prices in the area, price trends or even the last transacted price. You are also possibly competing against other prospective tenants who may be more well informed
To get started, Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (“URA”) provides access to a list of the signed lease contracts every month, including condo names, sizes and monthly rental. For those who would like easy access to property insights on the go, DREA.sg provides you instant real estate insights on past transactions, prices in the area, trends and even a comparison of condos to help you shortlist the right homes for you.
Be in the right mental state and sell
Before you enter a negotiation, you need to be convinced of what you are asking for and have the right points to support your ask. Do not show hesitation or weakness as the landlord might sense that and you will lose bargaining power. Consider selling yourself to the landlord – tell him / her how you would be a good tenant and tell him or her of your track record with other landlords
Don’t just focus on Money
If you tried lowering the rent but failed, don’t give up. Try for something else. Ask if you can move in slightly earlier for free or ask for a new coat of paint. Be creative with your asks and you might just get it
Find the right Agent
Finding the right property agent will help you find the right home and save money doing it. The right agent for you would also recommend the right homes for you and even provide additional input to help you get the best deal possible. They also provide on-the-ground knowledge of the area.