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Real estate agent says now is a good time to rent in SWFL

Apartments across Southwest Florida are trying to help new renters make ends meet even before they move in. They are offering incentives, which is something real estate agents say is a sign of the times.

Portofino Cove apartments in Fort Myers is among many local complexes in the region waiving application fees for first responders and teachers.

That’s on top of other deals you can get, as apartments compete for a small number of potential tenants.

Real estate agents are calling it a renter’s market right now.

“If people aren’t going to buy, that actually bodes well for the rental market,” said Denny Grimes with Keller Williams Realty.

Many aren’t making big decisions or buys, so many apartment complexes are offering deals at the door.

“When you look at the pipeline of apartment complexes, everyone was building them,” Grimes said. “There becomes a glut, so that becomes a renter’s dream. You can strike your own deal.”

Grimes suggests taking advantage of Southwest Florida apartment deals.

Deals we found: Complexes offering two months free on a two-bedroom, year lease; another providing free gift cards for essential Lee Health employees; and many offering reduced or waived application fees.

“It’s really more of a logistics issue,” Grimes said.

That includes how you see you future home.

“We’re actually teaching sellers how to walk through with their little flip phone or whatever, so all the health issues can be mitigated, Grimes said.

The deals also work for renters with no plans to move

“Also, if you have another landlord and they’re giving you another lease soon and they might want to kick it up, now might be a good time to renegotiate that lease,” Grimes said. “Maybe you’re going to extend it.”

But, if you are simply struggling to pay rent right now, Grimes encourages communication. It’s also good to ask around about your potential new landlord. With all the deals, there are lots of rental scams too. A search on the internet is a good first step.

“Your income is a little bit in question,” Grimes said. “Talk to your landlord. They may help you out. They may give you some breaks right now on the rent, maybe to extend it a few more months. Don’t be afraid to ask.”

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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