Apartment Rental Incentives: See What You Can Get

renter incentivesOne good thing about the downturned economy and the less-than-stellar housing market is that renters have a lot to chose from. So many, in fact, that landlords across the country have been doing some interesting things to lure people to sign on the dotted line -- which is great news for renters.

Incentives can include: all utilities paid, no deposit, months in free rent and/or cash gift cards -- to the tune of $1,000.

Moving can be a hassle in the best of times, but these wallet-filling incentives can make your move more enjoyable. We show you how to hunt down these deals to get the most for your money.

Looking through listings in Downtown Los Angeles I came across Historic Gas Company Lofts for rent. Units range from the standard studio up to two-bedrooms, but with a twist. Accompanying the listing was something designed to get my attention -- and it did! -- an offer of two months free rent and a Gold's Gym Membership for a 14-month lease on a one-bedroom loft. Signing a 13-month lease on studios and two-bedrooms will get you one-month's free rent, a Gold's Gym Membership and a $1,000 Amex giftcard.

The more I looked, the more deals I found. My search encompassed all different types of rentals -- old, new, studios, two bedrooms, houses -- in towns across the U.S.

  • Standard listings are still the best way to find an apartment that meets your specifications for both size and your desired neighborhood. Plus, you can print them out and comparison shop. AOL listings for New York City (searching Downtown New York City) showed one page with multiple apartments offering one and three months free rent. And that's in Manhattan!

  • A Google search of 'Miami apartment deals' netted a website that has apartments all over South Florida -- from Boca Raton to Fort Lauderdale to Delray Beach -- featuring one- and two-months free rent, low move-in fees, and more. A similar search in Boston turned up several apartment buildings around Boston with one- and two-months free rent. One listing promises a rebate of up to $1,500 for some apartments, though they do note that the rebate comes in cash, reduced rent or utilities. In Chicago, similar listings came up for deals and this time it was two months free on a two bedroom apartment in some of the more luxurious buildings in Chicago. And Austin, Texas has a site called austinaptdeals.com that lists only apartments with, you guessed it, deals. But, whether it's reduced rent or low move-in fees or paid utilities for a year, that's money back in your pocket.

  • A Google search can go a long way, but say you want a certain neighborhood. A good way to find buildings with deals in a particular area is to drive around the area since many buildings are competing with each other and display banners describing the deals. And lots of buildings are advertising online and putting inserts in local papers etc., so don't tune out those banner ads.

  • Don't forget word-of-mouth. It's not well-mannered to ask someone how much they paid for their new apartment, but everyone will share news of deals they found when asked. You never know, your second cousin's accountant might have just gotten the deal you've been looking to find. Get the word out that you're on the hunt!

You will find your next apartment. Just make sure you find one that works for your bank account as well. Happy hunting...
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