rental properties state one price online and another in person

4 Replies

Hey BPers

I am relocating to Houston from NY and trying to find a apartment for myself everywhere I see reasonably priced apartments online but when I go to the location the managers give me a totally different price, what gives? I know they are trying to make the most money but cmon a place listed for 750 per month I go and talk to the lease person she tells me 950. Whats your suggestion on this problem?

what did they say when you pointed it out to them with the proof ?

If you really like the place, tell the manager you would be happy to complete an application to rent at the price listed in the newspaper.  Even without advertisements, you can always offer to pay a lower rent or offer terms.  As a landlord, I generally do not negotiate on my rents or security deposits but I admire a potential tenant who wants to negotiate terms and the worst thing that can happen is that the landlord says no.

Bait and switch. Its really that simple. It goes against all moral and ethical standards but its been known to happen. If their licensed you could point out that your understanding is (look up the state of Texas real estate advertising laws for licensees) and since the ad online lists the units (confirm their availability vis a vie a phone call first before visiting the complex) for rent at X you simply cant understand why a) the units are being offered to you at a higher price b) when you called they were still available (this morning, and hour ago etc) and c) you thought that was against real estate laws.

It can't hurt you to play the same hard ball game their using to get higher rents so you can get a lower rent.

It sounds like you may be looking at Class A Multifamily apartments. They change their rates daily as an incentive to get people to sign a lease at the time they inquire about the property (some will hold a price for 24 hours, but not much longer). There is nothing illegal about this practice. The industry is so competitive that they have software that culls the area rental comps everyday and from that info, they determine their "price" for the day. I know all this because I have a family member who works as a leasing consultant at one of these places. I agree though that it is a major turn off, and a $200 spread is ridiculous. Usually it's anywhere from $15-50.

Your best bet is to find a rental on HAR. While those prices can be reduced and/or increased, they tend to stay stable for much longer periods - sometimes the duration of the listing until it is rented. If you need any help, just let me know.

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