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A helpful guide to renters looking to decrease their rent through being flexible and knowing how to better negotiate with landlords.

Synopsis

Rental Secrets is your guide to leveraging your power in the property rental process, in any rental market.

Searching for a new place to live is a daunting task. Most people believe landlords and property managers have all the power. After all, they own the new roof you need.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you have more power than you think. Unfortunately, that power isn't used. Why? It isn’t used because people don’t know they have it. Where does this power come from? While landlords and property managers appear to have all the cards, there are realities of the property rental business they must contend with. These realities create stress and pressure. By learning inside secrets of the rental industry you'll develop the power to relieve this stress and pressure to save hundreds of dollars renting your next home.

Where do you find these secrets? Rental Secrets.

This power is available to everyone, in all walks of life. No special abilities are needed. And it works in large and small cities. In urban and rural environments. In all markets whether they are expensive or not. And you can start using it today.

So let’s get started…

As someone who has spent my adult life renting various properties, whether by myself or with others, this is definitely a book with a high degree of personal relevance, and one that many people will be able to relate to as well. The author is aiming this book as widely as possible at an audience of people who are renting property and who want to be able to do so for lower cost. This is especially relevant for those who live in an area like my own where rent has increased year over year in the neighborhood of 15%, where even studio apartments are out of the reach of many single people with rents well over $1000/month, and where attempts at rent control are likely to shrink the supply of rental properties in many areas. Clearly, there is a great deal of need for a book like this one, and the author does a great job at providing broad and general advice that allows the reader a great deal of flexibility of options in choosing which methods to adopt in order to leverage the power of the renter in being able to provide a property owner with consistent rental income.


This short book is a bit more than 100 pages. It is divided into ten chapters that provide a different area where a renter has power that can be used to help decrease cost as well as the pressure and hassle of dealing with finding suitable rental apartments. First, the author looks at the power of negotiation, showing ways that someone can negotiate if they work with a property owner directly who has fewer units and who can make a deal (1). After this the author looks at the power of competition according to the renter, which may be broader competition than the comparables examined by the landlord (2). The author then discusses the power of proximity that people can have when dealing with absentee owners who may need a representative on-site, which can further reduce rents (3). The power of timing (4) allows renters to benefit from seeking apartments out of season, especially in winter months. The author urges readers to take advantage of the power of flexibility (5) by not prematurely foreclosing vacancy options because of desired amenities. The author's next chapter looks at the power of household composition (6) and the way that aggregating rent payers one gets along with can reduce rents greatly, as well as the power of relationship forged by paying rent on time or being willing to serve as a property manager in a rental property (7). The author then closes with chapters on the power of focus (8) that can limit additional costs for unnecessary amenities, the power of questions in being able to ask the right questions to increase options (9) and the power of accounting in being a long-term resident who can avoid expenses at the end of a lease by taking advantage of landlords' lack of attention on repainting and replacing carpet in a timely fashion (10).


By and large, as someone who is fairly experienced as a renter, these tips are very useful and some of them are ones that I have used without being fully aware of the leverage that results from them. Some of these methods are definitely ones I will use in the future, should it be necessary, with a greater degree of intention about it. The various powerful techniques in this book are generally provided from the point of view that a landlord is looking for reliable tenants who pay on time and who can provide a consistent income, with the awareness that it is in the owner's best interests to be willing to pay at least a little bit in terms of deals to ensure the highest degree of continuity in that rental income. Reducing rent costs through being able to negotiate and being flexible in one's options. Being savvy in choosing people who have room to negotiate themselves, or who are under the pressure to make a deal immediately in order to ensure streams of rental income, also reduces the amount of income one needs to verify and increases the ways that one can use the money saved, especially if one is able to avoid expensive pet deposits and additional pet rent.

Reviewed by

I read a wide variety of books, usually reviewing three a day, from diverse sources, including indie presses and self-publishing, and I enjoy talking about unfamiliar authors and introducing them to my blog audience.

Synopsis

Rental Secrets is your guide to leveraging your power in the property rental process, in any rental market.

Searching for a new place to live is a daunting task. Most people believe landlords and property managers have all the power. After all, they own the new roof you need.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you have more power than you think. Unfortunately, that power isn't used. Why? It isn’t used because people don’t know they have it. Where does this power come from? While landlords and property managers appear to have all the cards, there are realities of the property rental business they must contend with. These realities create stress and pressure. By learning inside secrets of the rental industry you'll develop the power to relieve this stress and pressure to save hundreds of dollars renting your next home.

Where do you find these secrets? Rental Secrets.

This power is available to everyone, in all walks of life. No special abilities are needed. And it works in large and small cities. In urban and rural environments. In all markets whether they are expensive or not. And you can start using it today.

So let’s get started…

The Power of Negotiation

You may have heard the statistic that 90% of millionaires became wealthy by investing in real estate. These investors come in all shapes and sizes. As a prospective resident looking for lower rent, there is a specific type of investor you are looking for. The investor you want is one who owns fewer than 100 apartments and works as their own property manager. 


When working with self-managing landlords, you are working with someone empowered to make deals. Larger investors hire property management companies in an effort to avoid dealing with individual residents. While some property management companies have leeway to negotiate, most do not. Therefore, any negotiation would require them to go get approval from the property owner. But, the property owner specifically hired the property management company to handle their properties. No management company calls the property owner unless they really have to.


In addition, smaller investors are more motivated to negotiate. Larger investors can even out the fluctuations in their cash flow situation because their income is averaged out over hundreds, if not thousands of apartments. Consider an investor who owns one single family house. The property is either rented or it isn’t. There is no middle ground between rented and 100% vacancy. Rented means there is income, vacancy means no income. If you offer to rent for $25 to $50 below their asking price per month, you just saved $300 - $600 per year. This can and does happen, especially if the property has been vacant for any length of time. Most landlords have mortgages and the monthly payments on those mortgages don’t stop just because the property is vacant.


Property managers work with all types of residents from all walks of life and varied employment backgrounds. Their responsibilities include not only leasing to new residents, but also renewing the leases of those who are already residents. But, working on a renewal for a resident who works as a real estate journalist for the local business newspaper definitely adds a new twist.  In this situation, the initial renewal offer included an increase of $100 per month based on the manager’s analysis of the market in the apartment community’s neighborhood.


This resident gathered data from properties outside the neighborhood and presented a number of viable, comparable alternatives. Not only were these alternatives less expensive than the renewal offer he’d received, they were cheaper than his current rent. Since the resident had substitutes that were readily available it made the possibility of losing the resident much more real. Armed with market data, and a stellar rent payment history, he created a strong bargaining position for himself. In the end, the resident and property manager settled on a smaller increase at $50 per month. The manager secured an increase and kept a current resident, avoiding vacancy and other apartment turnover costs. The resident avoided the cost and hassle of moving while saving $600 a year.   For those keeping score, that’s one to three extra car payments depending on what you drive.


If you are not a real estate journalist, you may be wondering how to find this information and why this would have credibility with your landlord. Perform an internet search for rental properties in your city. Numerous websites will appear that can help you locate suitable alternative properties, including Craigslist. While those websites will show pricing information it is best to confirm by calling the leasing associate for each property. The phone number should be available on your website of choice. Once armed with that information, your credibility is actually enhanced three ways. First, you are a resident who is currently deciding whether to renew or not. More specifically, you are deciding whether to maintain the continuity of the landlord’s cash flow.  Second, the pricing information you’ve discovered is real, verifiable, and relevant to your renewal decision. Third, the fact that you bothered to get the information shows just how serious you are.


There are a couple of factors that can enhance your power to negotiate. First, focus on smaller investors who self-manage to be sure they can negotiate, or work with property managers who have at least some leeway to negotiate. Second, you don’t need to be a real estate journalist - just look for pricing information from other communities to support your negotiation position. Working with those who can negotiate and having actual market information at your side makes the power of negotiation the most effective. 

About the author

Justin Pogue is a real estate consultant based in San Jose, CA. Since 2003, he has managed apartments & rental homes across the United States. Justin has an Economics degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from The Darden School at the University of Virginia. view profile

Published on March 03, 2019

10000 words

Genre: Business & economics

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