Negotiations Cheat Sheet

 
Over the last couple of years we have rented accommodation from a month to a couple of days, the majority of which has been arranged online and mainly on the websites listed in the ‘Flights and Accommodations’ document.
 
These rentals have been in Florida, France, Thailand, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico.
This cheat sheet is a collection of emails of the negotiation process, which in the past has save us many hundreds of pounds over the rental period.
 

Example 1 – Nicaragua


http://www.vrbo.com/201053
Eco-Luxury, 3000 sq. ft, open concept home fully oriented to the extraordinary ocean view below. Rental property has three large suites, a great room and spectacular infinity pool. Located five minutes north of San Juan Del Sur in a quiet setting halfway between SJDS and the best beaches.
 
Due to the limited ‘western style’ properties, we emailed all the Nicaraguan options in VRBO. We always clearly state our dates and ask for the total cost. Most of the website enquiry forms have boxes for this information so you can’t forget.
 
When you get a reply, you will find that 9 times out of 10 the price they quote is cheaper than that on the website.
 

Email 1 – Home Owner Reply
Hi Chris
 
In that there are only 2 of you we will not charge a utility fee and the full cost would be the weekly rate of $1300 (no tax is added). A 4X4 is not typically required, however you would be there in the tail end of the rainy season and it might be helpful. The roads in the region are not good! The ATVs that we have are also a great option for getting to the beaches and in and out of town.
 
Regards,
Home Owner

After the initial enquiry through VRBO, this was the first reply and saved us $200 from the rate online.
 

Email 2 – My Reply
Hi Home Owner,
Thanks for your quick response again, can you also confirm that there is wireless internet? And how far is it to the nearest town (is that SJDS)?
 
So for this 2 week period (from the 18th November) it would be $2600. As we will be only using 1 of the bedrooms and there is only 2 of us would you accept $2000? We would be able to pay in the best way that suits you.
 
Thanks,
Chris

It is good to clarify more details about the property and location. As the price quoted was still too high for us we tried to negotiate the price down further.
 

Email 3 – Home Owner Reply
Hi Chris,
 
How about, $2200 – this is a time frame in which we begin to get a lot of interest. The house has wireless internet – pretty good connection. San Juan del Sur is 5 minutes away if you use the shortcut across the beach with a 4×4 or one of our ATV’s, 10 minutes if you stay on the main road. The ATV is additional to rent (usually $30 daily) but we could also work out a reduced price of $ 200 for the 14 days.
 
Let me know if you have any further questions.
 
Thanks,
Home Owner

Through asking we managed to get another $200 off the price

Email 4 – My Reply
Hi Home Owner
 
Thanks for that information.
 
I am now in a bit of a dilemma, there is a another villa that is similar to yours which we can stay in for $1500 for the 2 weeks. My wife and I prefer yours but are just trying to justify the extra in the price. Is there any further movement you can make on the $2400 inc ATV? If we can get closer to the $2000 mark we would be very happy.
 
I appreciate you could wait and get a booking for full amount, however we are willing to pay the deposit today so our booking would be guaranteed.
 
Chris

Wanted to clarify the total cost including the ATV (our transport while we were there), and to compare the price they had quoted to a similar place near by

Email 5 – Home Owner Reply
Hi Chris,
 
I would split the difference with you of $2200. The place is truly wonderful.
 
Thanks,
Home Owner

This was a saving of $420 and essentially got our transport while we were there for free.
 

Summary

 
For this 2 week rental period we saved $940 off the advertised rates, the owner also covered the 15% government tax after confusion over the rental dates.
 

Example 2 – Thailand


http://www.villalombokphuket.com/
Villa Lombok is a beautiful spacious 2-bedroom villa complete with private infinity-edge swimming pool, large sun terrace and well-kept garden. It combines the perfect blend of 5-Star luxury and unrivalled privacy, set within the most tranquil of tropical locations.
 
We emailed several different options, most through local rental websites and a couple of others (like this one) that has its own website.
 

Email 1 – Home Owner Reply
Hi Chris,
 Thank you for your response. What time would be convenient to view the villa? I apologise on my previous email, the villa rate is 1,000 GBP per month.
 
Best regards,
Home Owner

After the initial enquiry, the price quoted was the same as on the website. We arranged to view the property and double checked the speed of the Internet.

Email 2 – My Reply
Hi Home Owner
 
We have seen a few other villas but our preference is the Villa Lombok. However from what we have seen, the other choices are of similar quality but more affordable. What would be the best price for us to remain in the villa until the next set of guests arrive later October/ early November?
 
Regards
Chris Alford

We were surprised that the price did not decrease, especially as it was in the low season. We let them know it was above our budget and asked if there was any movement in the price.
The owner then phoned us to confirm the dates we were looking for.

Email 3 – Home Owner Reply
Dear Chris,
 
I have discussed with the owner and we are happy to give you a special discount for the Vila. The total rate from 21st September – 4th November is £1300 exclude the electricity. Please note the electricity charges will be based upon your usage.
 
Please let me know if you would like to proceed so Fergus will send an invoice to you accordingly.
 
Best regards,
Home Owner

Through extending our stay by an extra 2 weeks we were offered a discount of £200

Email 4 – My Reply
Hi Home Owner
 
Thanks, if we can have the villa for £1200 for those dates we can transfer the money to your bank account tomorrow.
 
Hope it isn’t raining in Bangkok as it is here!
 
Regards
Chris

As the price was getting closer to what we could afford, we tried for a further discount. We had worked out that the money we would save would cover our car hire.
 

Email 5 – Home Owner Reply
Hi Chris,
 
I agree to the price of £1200 for your booking as per details below:

Overall we saved £300 off the 6 week rental.
 

Summary

 
The biggest reason we were able to negotiate with this owner was that it was in low season and it had been sat empty for around a month. The owner was based in the UK so it was easy to pay in pounds so we did not have to worry about any currency fees.
 

Negotiation Tips

 
1. Always negotiate the price, remember the owner would like someone paying rent on their property rather than it sitting empty.
2. Do your research on how much other rentals cost in that area. Always compare them to what you are interested in.
3. If there is no possible negotiation on the rental price, try to negotiate on any extras such as electricity/ transfers/ transports etc
4. There is more chance to negotiate if you are going off season or staying for a long period.
5. If you have any website skills, offer to do upgrade their website for a big discount.

 
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