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Amid vacancies, South Bay landlords offering concessions, free rent

Silicon Valley landlords offer incentives to lure tenants
Silicon Valley landlords offer incentives to lure tenants 03:17

SAN JOSE – High rents have become a fact of life in the Bay Area. But as landlords try to deal with increasing vacancies, some are trying to sweeten the deal for apartment hunters with incentives, including free rent.

"There are a lot of incentives going on right now for people looking for a place to rent. Such as reduced security deposit, first month free, or the second month free," revealed Noah Cerezo, a real estate agent representing Esposo Properties, overseeing more than 300 rental units.

Cerezo highlighted the game-changing impact of "free" in today's rental landscape, particularly during the slower winter months when rental demands fluctuate across different neighborhoods.

"Generally, the winter months are slow, and real estate being hyper-specific, the rental demand is different from here in Santa Clara versus east side San Jose," Cerezo explained. "When it comes to filling in vacancies for property managing companies, it all depends on what the scenario is.  Is a home sitting vacant for a while? What are we going to do to incentivize more people to come visit these homes?"

Surveying a few listings, Cerezo spotted an apartment building in downtown San Jose with rents ranging from $2,700 to $3,000 a month.

"In this listing, they're offering a special offer and verbatim is saying, 'Live rent free for up to three weeks for this limited time offer,'" Cerezo noted, emphasizing how this trend is influencing newer units and forming a crucial part of the rental market's post-pandemic recovery phase.

"There are a lot of factors that come into play with that. Everyone knows about the low housing shortage and everyone knows about the high-interest rates," Cerezo added. "For sellers, it's hard to sell when they're stuck on prices that they were able to sell their homes for in 2021 when rates were low. And now, you barely have any buyers that can even qualify for a loan. So what happens to these buyers? Well, now they have to rent."

Cerezo added that while it's a good time to take advantage of incentives for those looking to move, but urged apartment hunters to pay attention to all the details surrounding the lease to avoid a potential increase the following year.

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