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Fast rising rents can break a couple’s carefully planned budget. Learn six strategies that can help lower your rent and keep more money in your pocket!
Getting a Deal on Your Rent
One of the biggest expenses for couples is housing, especially when it comes to renting in a high cost of living area.
According to Realtor.com's Monthly Rental Report, on average the cost of rent was 10.1% higher in 2021 than in 2020.
Living in the Triangle area of North Carolina, we’re seeing rents rise fast. We’ve heard from multiple friends how quickly their rents have jumped.
There have been plenty of news stories about it. Rents in Durham 20.1% and here in Raleigh going up 22.1%.
Since our theme this month is about saving you money, I’m glad to highlight my chat with Justin Pogue. He's an asset & property management professional and the author of Rental Secrets.
Justin shared with me some strategies that can help you get a better deal on your rent and save some serious cash.
In this episode we get into:
- Six strategies to lower your rent
- Biggest mistakes he sees renters make
- What to look to for when apartment hunting
Are you ready? Let’s get started!
You can listen to the podcast or watch the video right below.
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- 17 Money Saving Strategies We Used to Triple Our Savings Rate
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6 Strategies to Save Money on Rent
Justin Pogue: Yeah. And it's a really interesting topic because when I went to start writing this book, I went into the different bookstores and the real estate section and all the books. There were for owners, investors, and managers. Yeah. You had nothing written from the rental perspective.
It's interesting because the renters are the other half of that coin. So what people need to understand is that landlords have an inordinate number of problems that they're dealing with.
The idea behind my book is if you can help them with any of those problems, then they will actually pay you in the form of for rent.
Just like when you're hungry, you have a problem. You go into a restaurant, they feed you. Landlords work in much the same way.
Rental Tip #1: Time Your Search Right
So one interesting tip to save money on rent is the timing of when you're looking for an apartment real, most people are trying to get situated in the summer, spring timeframe, they're trying to get em before school starts and all of that kind of thing.
Landlords know this, so they charge more during those months because more people are looking. There's higher demand.
There are also times during the fall and winter when people move out for all kinds of different reasons, they find a job in a new city, whatever their situation is. They move out.
That leaves the landlord with a problem. I need to rent this place during that time of the year when not many people are looking.
And as a renter, you can take advantage of that and depending on which city you're in. The discount that you can get off of the rent can be as high as 7 percent.
Elle Martinez: Wow. I mean, that's significant savings because it feels like it's the opposite. A lot of couples tell me, hey, you know, I just got my rent renewal. You know, then release and it's going up again. So that's a great tip.
So let's say a couple does find themselves where the timing maybe isn't so great. Right? Notice the rent is going gonna go up again. Are there ways they can negotiate to minimize that financial burden?
Rental Tip #2: Embrace Negotiation
Justin Pogue: Well, let's just start with the concept of knowing that I can negotiate.
Not many people actually do. And then once you understand that concept, then it becomes a matter of how do I present my case?
Rental Tip #3: Learn How Use to Social Capital
Justin Pogue: Most people just go in and whine about how the rent's gone up, it's gone up every year. Why are you doing it? To me, everything's against me. Blah, blah, blah.
The person who's in that office, especially if you're doing with a larger apartment community, that person really doesn't have any control.
They're basically the equivalent of the cashier at Wal-Mart. They're not in charge of the actual dollar amount that you pay.
Now, they do report to someone who is and can make those deals and make and can negotiate.
Now, the idea is, how do I get this person to go to their boss and make that case for me? There's a couple of things that go into that.
Number one. Have you been an easy resident to work with? Have you built a social capital by cleaning up after your pet and your rent on time? Not complaining about minutia.
Over the course of the year that you've been there, you know, those kinds of make really and really provide an incentive for that leasing agent to work with you and want to go make your case to their boss.
Rental Tip #4: Research the Communities for Competitive Neighborhoods
Justin Pogue: Yeah, the out of that is actually looking out in the marketplace at communities that you may want to live in.
Now, those communities may be within a mile or two of the community you currently live in. Maybe further away because as we all know, in most metropolitan areas, the commute that people are willing to make over time has gotten longer, that the radius that they're willing to live in has gotten larger.
That there's more competition for the community that you're living in.
So your landlord's competition is any community where you would choose to live. You go out and gather data from those communities and see what they're actually charging and then bring that back to your.
Bring that back to your land. In this case, the leasing agent and tell them easily opportunities that I have out in the marketplace now. Are they going to come down to what the lowest with the lowest community out there is offering? Probably not. But if they come down from their renewal offer, they come down fifty dollars. A hundred dollars. That's real money that is built into every month of rent that you're paying.
Yes. What a lot of people talk about, oh, I'm going to save money. I'll just not buy that Starbucks latte every day. That's the advice that people get.
Well, what happens is every morning you have an internal battle with yourself about whether you got to buy that latte or not, one or two, in order to save the money, you have to win that battle every morning.
In this case, the savings that you've negotiated is built into your lease autopilot for the whole year. You don't have that internal battle every day.
So that that fifty dollars or one hundred dollars now turns into car payments. It turns into money you use for food. It turns into money that you can put towards your retirement account. It turns into money that you can set aside for [emergencies].
Those you may have seen this statistic: Forty-five percent of American families don't have or a hundred dollars to cover.
Elle Martinez: And that's kind of scary.
Justin Pogue: It is because we all know emergencies cost more than four hundred dollars. So part of the value of the savings is that it can help you deal with the other factors that are going on in your life, because it's not so much the money that you make at the top end. It's the money that you keep.
At the end of the month that really has an impact on your quality of life. And that's what we're talking about here.
Elle Martinez: Yeah, absolutely. And I love that, because in the community, I talk about going for the big wins.
It's funny that you mentioned the lattes. I have nothing against you putting to putting money toward something that you really enjoy brings you joy.
But if you're talking about saving a significant amount of money, you're going to have to look like for the big ones. And housing is a huge expense for many families.
Like you mentioned, it keeps growing. But that's one conversation. And for a year, you're saving that money and hopefully, you're automating it to whatever you need to – whether it's paying down bills, saving or investing.
Justin Pogue: But it gets better because every renewal, it is typically based on as a percentage of what your previous rent was.
So if the base amount is lower, then the baby is in, each subsequent increase is smaller. So it kind of becomes the gift that keeps on giving.
Elle Martinez: Yeah. Yeah, that's good to know how they calculate that.
Rental Tip #5: Work on the Property
Justin Pogue: Now there's another strategy that's really good, especially for couples, especially for couples with young children who want one spouse may want to stay at home.
That strategy is to actually work for the landlord. There's a requirement that a property of a certain size in California in units, but in probably a certain size, must have an employee who lives onsite, really not going to be the owner.
Yeah, so and who would the owner trust with that? Someone who has created the rapport with them, built that social capital with them, who is trustworthy, who lives onsite, knows the community, already knows the residents who are there.
Now, in exchange, this person typically receives either greatly reduced or possibly free.
Elle Martinez: Right. Wow.
Justin Pogue: And that sounds great. And it is. But it gets even better because let's say, for example, your rent is two thousand dollars a month. It's twenty four thousand dollars a year.
But it's important. Recognize, that's after-tax money, money that you have already paid taxes on it.
So when you look at it in terms of gross earnings, probably closer to 30 or more, which is a great side gig, there's a great income for us. I get it.
But there are other benefits, too. So people come to look at apartments. This is this person typically be showing them gives you an opportunity to network with people who are moving to the area, make connections, form relationships.
If you're if you have young children, also gives you a chance to earn resources for the family and go home with your child helping to raise them. So it's very flexible.
It can be a very flexible option, though, that is not for everyone and of course, your job and what your situation is, but it's one potential solution that a lot of people don't think about.
Elle Martinez: Yeah, I like that because there are some couples with kids. They know for sure that one of them needs to stay home.
But if they can drastically cut expenses or, you know, find these opportunities to save money for the family in other ways, that's a huge win. So I'm glad you brought that up.
So I know you shared some great tips about what to do. What about the other side of the coin? You've probably seen people make the biggest mistakes, some of them almost shooting themselves in the foot. So for couples that are renting. What are the biggest mistakes they made when it's time to renew their lease or try to get a deal with their apartment?
Justin Pogue: So your relationship with your landlord starts at the very beginning before we even get to the lease renewal part. Jack, earlier I kind of mentioned things, things that like, for example, cleaning up after your pet, not not huge.
What you want to build social capital with more than the community that you're living in before you need it. And we did the renewal part comes around. You're having that discussion. Build that up before. So you clean up after your pet. You make the community a great place to live. And then the landlord wants to retain you.
As a resident, yeah, where that's where it starts, other mistakes that people make is assuming that they can't negotiate. They assume that just like I walk in the Wal-Mart, I pick something up off the shelf. The price is whatever it is. I go to the cashier and I pay it. A lot of people assume that that's the situation.
And it really is it because as a landlord, when you look at the different apartment communities, there is massive competition, fierce competition for people who have good credit, for people who have decent jobs, for people who know how to get along and play well with others.
If you have one or two bad apples in your community, it can drive everyone else out. And then whereas the value of your investment in the community. So landlords fight tooth and nail to retain those rent, make their community a great place to live.
Those are a couple of mistakes that people make. And it's just tweaking the thinking just a little bit, tweaking it just a little bit about how they approach renting other.
Rental Tip #6: Weigh Your Community Amenities
Justin Pogue: The other mistake that people make is, they go to these communities and there's all of these amenities.
If there's pools or volleyball courses, tennis and plastic. All of this stuff is available at my fingertips. Well, blah, blah.
So they're going off of the emotion that those things that seeing those things grates for them. And those things are great and wonderful if you're actually going to use them.
So what ends up happening is each of those amenities costs money to put in. It costs money to maintain. And the landlord has built those costs into the rents that they're charging. So those communities, all those millions are going to have higher rents.
It's really important to think about what amenities do I really, truly need, whereas the volleyball court may not be one of those that I really, truly need in-unit washer and dryer.
Maybe one of those amenities that I really need.
So really understand what you need versus what you want. And then you can choose a community that more is more appropriate for what where you are and what you're actually going to be using.
Elle Martinez: Great advice. I know a lot of couples definitely are going to be listening and taking notes, but if they want to learn more, if they want to grab your book, what's the best way they can do that?
Justin Pogue: So they can definitely check out RentalSecrets.net.
They can also learn more about my background by checking my LinkedIn page. I also have a YouTube channel where I do kind of discuss some of the other things that are going on with the book and give them more, more flavor and background on that.
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The music today was provided by various artists over at Audiio.
This episode was originally released in January 2020. Show notes have been updated in February 2022.