4 Tips to Manage Bidding Wars by Prospective Renters

Utilize these strategies next time a unit ends up with multiple offers.

When Erin Wheelock recently listed a two-bedroom, three-bath condominium in New York City’s Flatiron District, she knew it would be snapped up quickly. What she didn’t expect, however, was that she’d receive six bids the first weekend after the unit hit the market—and that it would end up renting for $13,300, nearly 11 percent over the asking rent of $12,000 per month. The winning bidder also agreed to pay her brokerage commission.

That’s right—Wheelock was involved in a bidding war on a condominium listed for rent, not for sale. And she’s not the only one.

According to Jonathan Miller, president & CEO of New York real estate appraisal and consulting firm Miller Samuel, the market share of bidding wars surged to 19.8 percent of all Manhattan rentals in March 2022, up from 18.5 percent a year earlier. That means that nearly 20 percent of rental properties in March were leased for more than the landlord was originally asking.

“It’s a challenging market,” said Wheelock, a licensed associate real estate broker with Keller Williams New York City. “There’s high demand and low supply.”

Wheelock said that people migrating to New York are competing with existing renters looking to move to lower-priced units because their so-called “COVID deals,” which she describes as “insane rent cuts and free rent during COVID,” are expiring. She said that bidding wars for available properties are common, no matter what the asking rent.

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