You pay how much in rent?
In 2014, Denver residents experienced soaring property values and rental rates, in large part due to the supply and demand imbalance. Renters were quick to jump on a deal, even if it wasn’t the best deal they could make – it was available and they knew it wouldn’t last. While renting a property might not be your housing dream, you shouldn’t discount the many advantages and benefits of this easy lifestyle.
Rental housing is often perceived by society as a temporary solution before achieving that long-term goal of property ownership. In my opinion buying versus renting is a debate for the ages, but discerning renters will always seek value through a pragmatic and diligent search approach, whether it’s an up market or down market.
Define value – What makes you happy? An Elevator? A washer and dryer? Natural sunlight or views? Swimming Pool or Pool Table? Maybe it’s the 24/7 Concierge services that you can rely on when you can’t get home in time to walk your dog? Or maybe, you’re just trying to save some money! No matter what, your decision is ultimately based on the value you see in the rental home you choose – it needs to fit your lifestyle! As a renter myself, I place a lot of value not just on my square footage but also regular use of great on-site amenities and the location – I walk to my office, the commute rocks. Ultimately you need to know what perks you can put a price on and what you can compromise. Does your property and property manager make you happy? How do you value that?
Three steps can lead you to a great rental value:
- Shop – Narrow your search to the three neighborhoods you would most like to call home. Due diligence is key; Pinpoint properties and landlords that have good reputations in the community and online. Next, make a short list of properties that meet the most of your needs (amenities, price, availability).
- Compare – Visit the top properties on your list in person if you can. Be prepared with a list of questions because by the time you think of that question that you wanted to ask so badly and stalled on applying, someone else already rented the apartment. Make sure you are aware of all of the extra fees (storage, parking, pets, etc.). Remember, this is your opportunity to interview the landlord to find out how far your rental dollar will get you.
- Decide – Remember, it’s all about finding value and now is your chance to negotiate! It never hurts to ask if any concessions are being offered before you apply, but keep in mind this ultimately depends on the strength of the rental market and the property’s occupancy rate.
Value in new construction? Not so fast…
- New properties in the lease-up phase are always more inclined to offer concessions and/or move-in incentives
- New properties have a goal of filling the apartment units… But building corridors may have ongoing construction noise and dust for months into your lease!
- New construction delays can land you with headaches and an earful of excuses from the property manager or developer – you could be stuck with amenities that aren’t ready for months after you take possession of your rental
- Ask the Property Manager for a construction schedule and what concessions they will offer to tenants if deadlines aren’t met – good Property Managers will do their best to ensure resident satisfaction, their job depends on it
- Leaks, Mice, Noises – Yes in downtown Denver “luxury” properties! I’ve heard and seen it all and good Brokers not only have their finger on the pulse of construction delays for new properties but also keep remarkable records of feedback from residents to share with future clients
Some new properties now offer to reserve apartments for up to 90 days from lease signing – it’s a deal if the building construction is close to completion and apartments are already occupied!
Your voice matters!
Tenants can make or break a property and its staff when it comes to posting property reviews and/or photos on the web. While laws are designed to protect landlord and tenant rights, residents have every right to hold the Property Manager accountable for what they promise in writing and what they don’t deliver on. Your rent pays their salary, their bosses salary and so on. Don’t be afraid to call the corporate offices – as often as you need, and if you get the run-around, you know your concerns aren’t valued and it’s time to hire an Attorney or move on.