U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Massachusetts > Boston
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Old 07-02-2012, 11:55 AM
23 posts, read 122,101 times
Reputation: 23


Some rental ads in Cambridge I've been looking at - both on Craigslist and on the sites of some agents - say the fee is negotiable.

Does anyone know what this means in practice? What is the starting point of the negotiation? 1 month fee or 1/2 month fee? I understand negotiations with the landlord but I don't see what concessions the agent can make to justify a higher/lower fee.

Anyone been through this?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 07-03-2012, 07:41 AM
38 posts, read 69,864 times
Reputation: 31
In practice I found it's not really negotiable, they already have an idea in their head what they'll settle on but that'll only go higher if you start too high. If they set themselves up for haggling, just start by saying you want no fee.

Ideally it would mean half months fee but it might just mean a hundred or two off.
You can negotiate no doubt and they'll tell you what a "favor" they're doing for you but when it comes down to it, I've found they will just hold you over a barrel and say some college students daddy is offering double what you are so you better accept now.

It's a tough market, really favors the landlords. For the life of me I still can't understand how college students who don't exactly like to work their way through college can insist on having their own apartments right near the campuses. It drives to prices sky high due to the demand. I'm working with a decent salary but I can't even keep up with what they students will pay, it's madness. Where I'm from student living usually meant sharing an old house with multiple people or commuting in from the suburbs but not around here unfortunately.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-05-2012, 01:01 PM
Location: Brookline, MA
613 posts, read 1,925,129 times
Reputation: 358
The fee for a rental agent is one months fee. There's no such thing as a "no fee" apartment from an agent. No fee just means no fee charged to the incoming tenant because the landlord is paying the fee. 1/2 fee means that the landlord has agreed to pay 1/2 and the agent is expected to get the other 1/2 from the tenant.

Negotiable means a lot of things but usually means that the landlord has experienced some willingness to pay some part of the fee (often 1/2). Whether the landlord will pay often depends on how much interest there is in the apartment, how qualified you are (do you have perfect credit with a great paying job or do you have some credit dings and don't make a lot). Also, some renters will try to negotiate on the rent amount or move in date (e.g., if the apartment is available Aug 1, but you can't move til Aug 15 or want Sept 1, it's less likely that the landlord is going to make any concessions on the fee). So negotiable usually relates to the landlord.

However, the agent may have some willingness to negotiate too. If the apartment is expensive and therefore, the fee high (like $2500+), the agent may be willing to take a hit on the full month's fee because there is still money to be made (but don't forget that it doesn't all go to the agent, the "house" (the agent's office) usually takes 40-50%). The "house" may have final say on the negotiation so it may not really be up to the individual agent unless it's coming out of their cut.

If the fee is advertised as negotiable, you're certainly not out of line to ask. But do so when looking at the apt, not when filling out your application. Ask whether the fee can be 1/2 and go from there.

Again, a lot will depend on how well qualified you are and if you're asking for any other concessions as well as how much interest there is in the apartment and how well qualified the other people are and what they're asking for. Same with the agent. They work purely on commission so they're not going to want to constantly negotiate and lose money especially if there is a lot of interest in a place.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Massachusetts > Boston
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or
Similar Threads
View detailed profiles of:

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2017, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 - Top