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Saving money in 2013 by negotiating your lease

Imagine that you are a renter-or maybe you already are one-at a Michigan apartment building. You love your unit; it has everything you could want as far as amenities, as well as a few extras you didn't think you would end up liking. But your rent has increased since the first time you signed your lease and now that unit in the apartment down the street, though unappealing at first, is starting to look like a better-and cheaper-option.

So what would you do in a situation like this? Chances are, if you're like most renters, unless you're really unhappy with your current living conditions, moving is not the first thing that springs to mind. Although you might be saving $20 to $30 a month in rent by moving to another building down the block, is the savings really going to offset the cost of having to pack up and move? So what are your other options? According to some experts, in situations like this, it doesn't hurt to try to negotiate the terms of your lease; that is, if you follow a few of these helpful tips when you do so.

Building a good rapport with your landlord can actually go a long way when it comes to negotiating the terms of your lease. This is especially true if you'd like to drop a few dozen dollars off of your rent. Being trustworthy and a good tenant are always good first steps, say many experts who point out that landlords are more likely to want to keep people in their buildings that they don't view as a "nuisance" or "troublesome."

Opening a conversation with your landlord is another good step; explaining your situation then asking them what their thoughts on the matter are can help foster an existing relationship and open up negotiations in a more comfortable setting rather than straight out demanding changes.

Although we've only mentioned two here, there are several other ways of helping negotiations swing more in your favor when it comes time to sign your lease. Keep in mind however, that getting these changes to your lease in writing will be important so as to avoid messy litigation down the road.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "How to Negotiate Lower Rent With Your Landlord," Daniel Bortz, Feb. 12, 2013

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