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Set the Ideal Apartment/Condo Rental Price

July 05, 2021

Setting the Right Rent Price

Wondering what the ideal rental price might be for your new rentals? If you’re thinking of setting the price to comparable rentals in your neighborhood, you may be losing potential income.

Before you set the rent price for your apartment, condo or house, compare the long term value of your decision. In general, it might encourage you to price higher to get full market value.

Post pandemic, the demand for specific types of rental properties has changed. Houses in certain cities and regions are huge demand, while apartments in cities has lessened. This will impact your new asking rent price.

Demand for your unit could come from far and wide, and the prices renters are willing to pay has grown too. That makes old rent price numbers and forecasts unreliable. In the current rental market, you may be able to ask for more than you thought possible.

The Rent Price Determines Your Financial Outlook

One of the challenges of property managers and landlords when you have a new rental property is to determine the right initial rent to ask.  And once you set the rent, you may be stuck with it for a long time, especially in rent controlled regions.

If you’re a long time landlord, you might have tenants who are paying the same price they did years ago, and you didn’t have the heart to raise it, even for cost of living. Yes, it happens. But when that tenant moves, they get their eyes opened with the new rental prices. Some of them will be grateful you gave them such a nice price break.

Hopefully, you’ve done your homework before buying the rental property and know for a fact that you can charge enough to cover your mortgage, HOA fees, maintenance and repairs, emergency costs, insurance and other likely expenses. You’re in this to make a profit, so you may want to price above comps and do solid marketing, screening, and advertising to acquire the best tenants who will pay more.

We’ve got some tips and other resources to explore here in this post to help you set the right apartment rental price.

Set Rental Price Strategically

Price is a function of your need to pay your bills, mortgage, insurance, HOA fees, and repairs and maintenance.  Shorting yourself on revenue could leave you vulnerable to financial pain and even having to sell your property.


Lets face it, it’s all about getting the right tenants who stay and pay.


Too Low or Too High, Where is that Sweet Spot for Rental Price?

Is there are magical mathematical formula that will keep you happy and ensure your suite enjoys zero vacancy rates? You could multiply your home value x .1% or .05% to arrive at a price and pay off your mortgage in 10 years to 20 years.

$550,000 x .01 = $5500 per month! $220,000 x .005 = $1200 per month. A formula might not help much.

You might improve your foresight on setting the right rent price with a calculator app. See other landlord software apps too.

Rent Price and Cash Flow Calculator.

Rent Price and Cash Flow Calculator. Screenshot courtesy of Dealcheck.

The Usual Rental Pricing Factors

Typical standard factors which influence rental prices are: the type of unit, floor level, square footage, layout, condition of appliances, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, closet space and parking. Check other landlords ads and see if they’re offering incentives such as free cable, free parking space, or storage as it may indicate the area is very competitive.

Once you get a general ball park figure, you can begin to adjust the asking rental price to suit your circumstances.

Here’s 9 Tips to Help You Get that Ideal Price

  1. estimate your monthly costs and add 30 to 40% for excellent return
  2. ask the landlord in the multifamily complex/building the range of rents
  3. search online via websites that offer apartment searches
  4. search for rentals on Zillow, for rental prices in that building, zip code or neighborhood
  5. weigh your unit’s benefit/features vs comparable rentals in the immediate area and adjust your asking price by -20% to +20% depending on how competitive your unit is
  6. if you’re renting from May to September, there’s higher demand so you can bump it up 10%
  7. spending $500 or more to advertise? Add 10% to rent because you’re getting better quality tenant prospects
  8. stay ahead of cost of living increases, add 5% to ensure you’re winning not losing
  9. in demand neighborhood? Add 10% because of the desirability of your neighborhood going forward into the next 5 years

Pricing Your Rental Well

You can see that pricing is a process of maximizing ROI vs risk and the intersection of supply vs demand driven price levels.

Use the spreadsheet approach so you know what your rental is worth against competing units. Then do some quick testing in your advertising to gauge interest and willingness.

In low vacancy markets, you can afford to be a little more aggressive. With the US rental housing market tight, and mortgage qualification difficulty rising along with high employment and rising wages, you may get a good price.

Additional Rent Pricing Resources

Rentometer: Rentometer provides a comparison of apartments similar to yours and their portfolio Analysis tool is perfect for analyzing a large list of properties/addresses.

Zilpy Rent: Zilpy Rent helps you find the right rental rate by using advanced data mining algorithms that assess property SQFT, crime rate, school ratings and demographics, using similar neighborhood comparable properties.

Eliot for Airbnb: Eliot’s rent estimate uses billions of vacation rental pricing points to predict short-term rental revenue, trends and price surge events.

Here’s to seeing you get your price and acquire a high quality tenant whom you can keep happy. Pricing is just one variable in property management. Take care of all the other areas, and you’ll get your price.

Don’t forget to see our posts on the rental housing market, apartment pricesCalifornia housing market, and the best property management apps.

As part of a professional, time efficient approach to rental property management, check out ManageCasa. You can test drive it right now.

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