When negotiating a residential real estate lease agreement, it is essential to remember that lease contracts are legal binding documents that outline the rights, restrictions, and requirements incumbent upon both the landlord and the tenant. In some cases, lease agreements can be more complex than some simple real estate sales contracts, so it’s usually wise to have a legal consultant look over any contracts before you sign. There are some general tips that will help you negotiate a real estate lease agreement you can live with.

Read the fine print

Whether you are renewing your lease or moving to a new property, it’s essential to read over the real estate lease contract in its entirety before you sign. Small changes can make a big difference in your ability to enjoy your residence and conduct your daily activities. If you have questions or concerns about any aspect of your lease, don’t be afraid to ask your landlord directly; any changes or adjustments to your contract must be made as a written addendum to the contract and should be completed before you sign anything.

Keep your options open

If you and your landlord are in the midst of heated negotiations over your lease contract, it’s essential that you have a back-up plan in place in the event that no agreement is possible. This will give you a sense of security during the negotiations and allow you to bargain from a position of strength, rather than desperation. If you have no other options in place, your landlord can basically force you to accept whatever terms he chooses. Making arrangements for other accommodations ensures that you will land on your feet, even if you can’t land the lease you want.

Be realistic

While many landlords are willing to reduce the monthly lease rates by a small amount to attract or retain your tenancy, it’s unrealistic to expect your monthly rental payment to fall much below the market average. Researching the rental market in your desired area can allow you to make a counteroffer that will be accepted by your prospective landlord or management group. If you’re in the market to lease a house from a private owner, you can research the likely mortgage payment on a given house by obtaining its value from the County Assessor’s office. This will give you an idea of the monthly expenses incurred by the owner and help you decide whether the property in question is worth a second look.

Enlist help

If you believe that certain terms of your residential real estate lease contract or renewal are unfair or even illegal, don’t allow your landlord to pressure you into signing on the spot. When in doubt, it’s usually wise to enlist the help of a legal professional with experience in the field of residential real estate leasing; this can sometimes save you thousands of dollars over the life of the lease. An experienced real estate attorney can draft a lease agreement that addresses your concerns and ensures that your rights are protected. Real estate lease agreements should be mutually beneficial to both tenant and landlord; by obtaining expert advice, you can be certain that your lease agreement meets your needs now and for the duration of the contract.