Gauging proper real estate rental rates

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Question: I live in a decent neighborhood but my apartment building is not well maintained and the owner just doesn't seem to care. So I am looking to move to a nicer apartment in the same area. I do realize that the cost of this will be a higher monthly rent; but the asking rent for pretty much any apartment, in any city, has gotten quite out of hand. I keep trying to get advice on what is a reasonable amount to ask for a one-bedroom one-bath, and two-bed one-bath, in my neighborhood. The only answer I can get is whatever market value is. Here's the dilemma: I know and completely understand market value on land and various properties for sale (I studied real estate), but not asking rent on apartments. And, with the current state of the economy, would I be out of line asking a landlord to knock off $100-200 off of the outrageous asking rent? Or, should I just let it go and stay put where I am now? Property Manager Griswold replies: Ultimately the choice will be yours but you need to kn...