We’re sure you’ve heard of concessions being offered to lure in renters in the slower winter season. It’s truly the season to strike and score that perfect NYC apartment at a discounted rate!

And it’s not just in the winter, Triplemint’s Director of Agent Development, Brian McFadden states that 2018 could be a great year for renters. “I don’t think concessions are going away in the NYC rental market in 2018. We will continue to see a renter’s market with high vacancy rates, even in the summer, due to excess inventory and inflated rents. Landlords will have to start lowering rents as concessions alone won’t suffice.”

So what are rental concessions and how can you get the most bang for your buck? Check out our guide below to learn what NYC concessions entail and how to lock in one of these discounted apartments.

What is a Concession?

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Investorwords.com offers two definitions for this beloved phrase:

  1. A rebate, allowance, or reduction in price or other terms of an agreement.
  2. Cash, or the equivalent, that the landlord pays or allows in the form of rental abatement, additional tenant finish allowance, moving expenses, or other costs expended in order to persuade a tenant to sign a lease.

In short, a concession is a reduced rent price or comes in the form of a gift that has a certain value. The most common concessions right now are no-fee apartments, one month of free rent, two months of free rent, or amenities like a free gym membership. Note that no fee doesn’t necessarily mean no broker, sometimes landlords pay the broker’s fee on their tenants’ behalf and will advertise it as no-fee.

Where Can I Find These Concessions?

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We’re in the middle of the winter slow season and experts project that there are even more concessions about to pop up. Ask your real estate agent about special deals that are currently available. In general, new developments tend to offer concessions as a welcome gift.

Go to Streeteasy and actively search for no-fee apartments. Here’s how to do it; select rentals, tick the box on the right that says ‘no-fee only.’

If you’re eyeing serious deals like one month or several months of free rent, try this option; select advanced search, scroll down to the description field, and write “free rent” or “one month free.” Voilà, so many apartments to browse!

Limits to These Concessions

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As with everything, concessions do have a limit. While landlords are more inclined to give out incentives to lure in renters during the winter slow season, the rental market in New York is still competitive and living here means digging deep in your pocket. Here are limits that you might face when shopping for apartments featuring concessions:

No actual free months: Instead of giving away one or two months of rent for free, some landlords prefer to amortize the concession over the course of a year-long lease. That means you’ll find listings that say a particular price and beneath it’ll say; “Gross rent is $2,900. Concession rate applies.” It’s the same as shopping for clothes at 30 percent off and deducting that price in your head when it’s already been chopped off the original price. While this means less excitement, it also means less rent.

The myth of the no-fee: No-fee apartments aren’t necessarily apartments that don’t require a broker. Landlords who pay the broker’s fee on behalf of their tenants might try to get the money back by raising the overall rent.

Anne Richmond, Triplemint’s Member Experience Manager, says; “While it’s true that 30 percent of apartments in all of New York City are no-fee options, that doesn’t mean that 30 percent of inventory in your favorite neighborhood in Manhattan is available at no fee.”

Some neighborhoods naturally have more no-fee options, simply due to supply and demand. Furthermore, “no-fee options can mostly be found in luxury buildings or new developments,” explains Anne, which tend to have higher rents in the first place.

Be smart about your home search and research concessions extensively. Fortunately, you’re not alone. Your real estate agent can help you navigate the diverse landscape of concessions and negotiate on your behalf, scoring you a good deal in a slower-paced market.

Final Verdict

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Use the slower winter season to shop for your dream home, and sometimes it’s a matter of lowering your expectations. No fee, several months of free rent, or free gym memberships might only exist for apartments which are out of your price range or not in your preferred neighborhood.

There are good deals out there, you just need to be a little flexible with your search. Instead of getting lost in the dark, consult an expert. Tell your real estate agent your specific needs and they’ll ensure you find the best NYC home for you.