Young Scrappy Money Podcast Ep. 041: Reducing Your Rent and Other Rental Secrets with Justin Pogue

podcast Apr 05, 2020

When it comes to cutting expenses, people tend to focus on the day-to-day… yet believe it or not, there are ways to cut your biggest expense too: your rent! Join us as this week’s guest, Justin Pogue, shares his favorite rental secrets and ways to negotiate lower rent during your next move.


Resources from this episode:

  • Young & Scrappy, home to Michelle’s work as a financial advisor and financial coach.
  • Rental Secrets, Justin’s site, including videos with more detail on how to save money on rentals.
  • Justin’s book, also named Rental Secrets, guides you through negotiation tactics.
  • Jesse G, my editor. If you ever need audio/video editing work, give him all your love and money.

Full transcript: 

INTRO: Hello, and welcome to the Young Scrappy Money podcast. I’m your host, Michelle Waymire. Each week, I’ll be bringing you tips and tricks to help you take control of your finances, as well as interviews with people who made big financial changes in their own lives. So join us and we’ll help you get your financial shit together. 

MICHELLE: Hello everybody and welcome. Welcome to another episode of the Young Scrappy Money podcast. Today we’re talking real estate, with a twist. There’s been a couple of episodes on this podcast so far, where we’ve gotten into the world of real estate, but it’s almost always been from the buyer side: so, how do you buy a house, how do you start investing rental property, and all of that information is super cool, super neat. But the vast majority of people aren’t really in a place where they are looking to buy a home. There are plenty of folks for, whatever reason, renting is the right decision for them. Either they’re not ready to buy or they just don’t want to buy a home. They don’t want to deal with the hassle. Renting makes a lot more sense. So where’s the information for those people? 

Housing can be 50% of your budget. Really understanding it, breaking down the expenses, and figuring out ways to save money on it can be a huge benefit. I’m really excited because JUSTIN Pogue reached out to me about being on the podcast. He’s an author and real estate consultant, but he is also the founder of Rental Secrets. This company’s idea is that renters deserve to have the same level of education and renting that landlords or homebuyers have in buying and operating as residential real estate. JUSTIN, thank you so much for coming on. I’m excited to unpack the layers behind how people can save money on their biggest expense of rent.

JUSTIN:  Yeah, I’m glad to be here as well. And that education on the renter side is really lacking. One of the reasons I wrote the book is I walk into the bookstore, and the real estate section is full of books for owners, managers, and investors. But there’s really no resource available for renters as far as how do I rent, what should I be looking for or even what language are landlords speaking?

MICHELLE:  Yeah, and I think there’s this preconceived notion that when you’re renting something. you have no power over it. So I’ll ask you this: do people actually have the ability to influence what they pay for rent?

JUSTIN: People absolutely have the ability to influence what they pay for rent. A lot of people treat it like a retail setting where I walk into Walmart, I pick up something off of the shelf, it has a price on it, I go to the cashier, the cashier is going to charge me that price. I’m not going to sit there and haggle with the cashier over the price of whatever that particular item is. That’s how people treat renting. And that’s not really the situation at your end. People need to understand that the real estate industry is very fragmented. And what I mean by that is, there’s 43 million rental households. And even the largest property management company may manage a few hundred thousand of those. So every landlord has different needs, different motivations, and different issues going on in their life. And that’s part of where this power to negotiate comes from.

MICHELLE:  Tell me a little bit more about the book. I know you mentioned that you had this experience of walking into a bookstore and realizing that there wasn’t really anything in this area. Why did you decide to write this book and how did you come up with this title, “Rental Secrets?

JUSTIN: Well, let’s actually back up a step. So my background is in residential property management and development. I’ve been doing that since 2003. So I’ve been a landlord. I’m currently a landlord for some properties. I’m not too far from where you are in Atlanta. And one of the things that I’m coming to realize is one of the most important things a landlord can do is to find quality renters for their properties. And most people don’t really know what being a quality renter is. And it’s more than just paying a rent check. There’s a lot of other factors that go into being a quality resident. And as a landlord, having quality residents makes your life so much easier than having residents that are less than acceptable, because they tend to drive the really good residents away from your property.

 MICHELLE:  Can you give me an example of what makes a good resident versus maybe something you’ve seen that causes that headache?

 JUSTIN: There’s a number of different examples. One is, you know, do you actually quiet down when quiet hours start or are you playing loud music or drums or whatever until 3am and disturbing everybody else? In the neighborhood or in the community. Another example is: do you actually clean up after your pet when you take your dog out for a walk? Do you do like some people will, and leave your pet at home during the day? And that doesn’t necessarily work for the pet because the pet may be barking all day and disturbing the community around them. Do you actually park in your parking space and not in the parking space of other residents? There’s just a number of other factors that go into being a good resident other than just paying your rent.

 MICHELLE:  Yeah, okay. As a landlord, I think it’s admittedly a little bit counter-intuitive that you would write a book called Rental Secrets because you would think landlords would really want people to not ever negotiate rent prices.

 JUSTIN: Here’s the thing. There’s a level of frustration and hopelessness that’s been building among the renter population. It tends to manifest itself in terms of rent control legislation. California just passed a rent control law. And rent control legislation has been passed at different city levels in different states across the country. And if landlords don’t want a kind of draconian one-size-fits-all solution coming down from a government level, then they really need to work on the relationship with the renters that they have. And create an environment that works for everyone involved because from the landlord standpoint, the value of your property comes from three places. One is construction cost, how much it costs to build. Another method of valuation is sales comps, what do comparable buildings around your building sell for? But the third method is kind of the income method as how much profit does your property generate, and that comes directly from renters. 

So if you are in a situation where you have a lot of turnover that you’re experiencing, renters are moving in and out a lot. The costs of that turnover is going to drive down your profit and make your building less valuable. If you’re in a situation where you have tenants that aren’t following the rules, and are disturbing other residents, they’re driving good tenants out, your property is not going to be as valuable as it otherwise would be. So there really is a landlord interest in making sure that the relationship they have with their tenants is the best it can be.

 MICHELLE:  Okay, that makes a lot more sense, I think, when you put it that way. It seems counterintuitive at first, but I guess you’re totally right. I mean, landlords have every incentive to try and make a favorable experience happen for the types of folks who are going to be really good tenants.

 JUSTIN: Yeah, and absolutely the other factor is – it’s not just “can I charge top dollar?” That’s not really where you get the profit from, profit comes from revenue continuity. So you’re not turning over tenants every year and going in and losing rent for that period where the apartment is vacant, paying to have the apartment cleaned and fixed up for the next person, possibly even paying marketing fees to companies like Zillow or Apartment List because they found you the next renter, or fees to a realtor who may have been involved in that process. So there’s a lot of costs involved in turnover, and that cost comes directly out of the landlord’s profit.

 MICHELLE:  I think getting into some of these rental secrets, now that people are curious about the fact that maybe they do have more ability to influence the rental process than anticipated. Where does the power to influence your rent come from?

 JUSTIN: Part of that power comes from understanding what I call the “landlord’s predicament.” Okay. And what I mean by that is when a property is vacant, a landlord doesn’t receive any money for it. But it gets worse. That money that they didn’t receive for that month that it was vacant, they can never get that back. It’s gone forever. I can’t rent you an apartment from last month. What that creates is a bias towards action on the landlord’s part, to rent an apartment or a house as soon as they can. Because the money that they’re losing due to vacancy, they can never get back. As I said, it’s gone forever. So where you start claiming your power is in that very first conversation with a leasing associate. Now your typical conversation will go something like this:

 “Hi, I’m here looking for a two bedroom apartment.”  

 They’ll say, “Great. We have two bedroom apartments available. When are you interested in moving in?”  We’ll say, “the first of next month,” and then they’ll start asking you a series of questions: 

Would you like to be on the first or second floor? And you may say, okay, the second floor sounds good. Would you like to be next to the pool or the courtyard? Courtyard sounds relaxing? Would you like to be near the laundry room? Sure, that’ll make not doing laundry easier; then their response will be, “great, I have one apartment available. I have several appointments set up this afternoon. When can you get here?” 

 So now in your mind, there’s only one apartment available. I need to get there as soon as possible and there’s no way I can negotiate because they only have one. But what’s really going on is asked as they are asking you those questions. They’re crossing apartments that might be available off the list because what they’re trying to do is narrow it down to what specifically you want, but you have to understand that narrowing down as you’re answering Those questions, if those are things that you truly actually need, like a two-bedroom versus a one-bedroom, you may actually need. But you may not necessarily need to be next to the laundry room, you may just need a laundry cart with wheels. But if the answers that you’re giving to those questions are really things are not really things that you need, they’re just things that sound nice, then you’ve actually created this fear of missing out in your own head. And that scarcity doesn’t really exist in the real world. 

 You’ve already set yourself at a disadvantage in terms of negotiating because of what you have in your head. And that’s where a lot of conversations start. So, the first piece of advice is take control of that conversation. Ask how many vacancies they have, specifically, and specifically how long those apartments have been vacant. Those are questions that will indicate to the leasing agent that you may be interested in the apartments that, for one reason or another, maybe somewhat less desirable than others, and it keeps your options open, and it allows you the mental flexibility to actually negotiate when you get down to an apartment that you’re actually interested in.

 MICHELLE: Holy crap. That’s cool. I did not even think of that. Because you’re totally right, whenever I’ve looked at housing in the past and looked at apartments, it’s always been like, oh, there’s so many people interested in this unit, you better get down here and look at it quick before it gets snapped up by somebody else. And I think you’re totally right. I mean, the professionals who you talk to in that situation are trained sales professionals. It iis their job to manufacture a sense of scarcity around what they have to offer and why you’re the right person for it. And I think those questions reframing that are so neat, I would never have thought of that.

 JUSTIN: And it’s not even that the leasing associate is lying. They do have one apartment that’s on the second floor on the courtyard side of the building that’s next to the laundry room. And they probably do have appointments later in the afternoon. It’s not so much the facts of the situation. It’s how the facts of the situation are presented to you and how you’re perceiving them in your mind. That’s the part that we need. We need to flip it around a little bit.

MICHELLE:  Yeah, so if your needs are flexible, this is probably a strategy that you can employ a little bit more than if you genuinely have actual, you know, considerations that have to be taken into account.

 JUSTIN: Yeah, yeah. And some of the apartments that people may go and look at, they may be vacant and they may be considered “undesirable,” undesirable does not mean unlivable. Undesirable does not mean that the apartment is in poor condition. Undesirable can be as simple as the view from the bedroom is not as nice as some of the other apartments’ views. I remember one specific apartment I had in a community that I was managing in Mountain View, California. The bedroom window, had these bars over it, there was this thing that was mandated by the fire department because of where the apartment was situated on the property that’s attracted from the view. So what would happen is people would take a tour of the apartment, they get to the bedroom door, they’d see that view, and they turn right around and walk out. So this apartment sat vacant for two months in Mountain View, California, which is where Google is headquartered, like the epicenter of apartment demand. For that reason, you say, well, why is that a big deal, you know, but the reason why it’s a big deal is because if they turn around at the door to the bedroom, they don’t go in the room, which means they don’t see the double closets and they don’t see the newly remodeled bathroom. And if you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

 So when these people got back to their kitchen table, they’re citing what apartment they want. Well, we clearly don’t want the apartment that’s missing the bathroom and the double closets so that one gets thrown out immediately. So the solution was to actually stage the bedroom and put curtains over that window. Now, of course, when people go on tour, they’re going to open those curtains and they’re gonna see the view. But in order to open the curtains, they actually have to be in the room. And when they turn around, now they see the double closets and they see the second bathroom. And then that apartment was leased within a week and a half after we did that.

 MICHELLE: Yeah. I like that you give the example of Mountain View because you’re totally right. Being in Atlanta now where, admittedly, the real estate market is really hot, even the rental market is really hot, especially if you’re looking for houses. I find, at least, this was our experience that finding a rental house was really really challenging. Finding a mental approach, it might kind of be different, but I think it’s kind of easy to listen to what you’re saying and say, well, this doesn’t apply to me. Right? Because maybe it’s the geography or maybe the location or the housing market. I mean, would you say that these types of negotiation questions are consistent across the board?

 JUSTIN: These types of issues that both landlords and tenants faced are consistent regardless of geography. Yes, the dollar amounts will change. But regardless of where a landlord is, geographically, a vacant apartment is still not receiving any money and I still can’t get that money back. So that need to rent, that need to get rid of vacant apartments, still exists whether they’re in California, Atlanta, Georgia, Miami, Florida, or Dallas, Texas. That is true across the board and the needs that renters have, as far as finding a quality place to live, fitting the price of rent into their budget is also universal, regardless of where you’re at. So the book is written specifically in that way, to not be geographically specific. Yeah, so it can benefit everyone, and really give people some food for thought because this concept of negotiating the place where you rent is not very well-known.

 MICHELLE: I think from my standpoint, as somebody who is very introverted, and I like people, but the idea of going in and doing a negotiation, without knowing anything about it, I’m already turned off by the idea – like the word “negotiation” is scary. So I’m wondering if you can give some tips for how people can maximize this power of negotiation.

JUSTIN: Absolutely. So one thing is understanding who you’re talking to. You may be talking to a leasing agent who works for a corporation, you may be talking to an individual landlord who is self-managing their property. When you’re talking to an individual manager self-managing the property, you’re talking to somebody already who is empowered to make deals. So you can present your case to them. When you’re talking to somebody who works for a corporation, they’re likely not empowered to make deals. In that situation, you have to present your case in a way to them that they can then take it to their manager, and they will make the case for you. Okay, so that’s the first thing. 

The second thing is to actually gather market data. And what I mean by that is, you may have chosen a particular place to live because it’s a half-hour west of your job, let’s say. But there are a number of other communities that are half-hour east of your job that you might consider to be comparable in terms of quality of finishes and character neighborhood and those kinds of things. Well, your apartment community is not looking at those when they’re looking at what they consider to be comparable communities. So that is market data that’s important. Bring that with you when you come to talk to this leasing associate and say, “look, I really like your community, but I have other options that are available to me and this is what they are…”

  Are they necessarily going to come down in price to what those other communities are? Probably not, but they might move in that direction. And if they move in that direction, 20 bucks, 50 bucks, 100 bucks, that’s money that stays in your pocket that doesn’t go into theirs. That gives you some money, financial flexibility to do something else. And then lastly, when you’re talking to these folks, you’re going to be in charge of that conversation. You’re going to be presenting your case. Don’t let them drive the conversation, you drive the conversation: this is what I’m looking for. This is why I’m looking for it, and this is the case that I’m making. And then they will take in that information and give you some kind of response. But that’s how you maximize that power, it’s not just you going in and whining, you’re actually presenting market information options that you have on the table. And they’re verifiable options and you can get this information off of Craigslist or any apartment search site. And that’s how you start to really gather this power of negotiation and using to your advantage.

MICHELLE:  Do you find that specific aspects are easier to negotiate than others? For example, are you trying to negotiate maybe the security deposit or the ongoing monthly rental? What are people negotiating?

 JUSTIN: Really interesting question because a lot of apartment communities will offer some special or deal, because you have to remember that all of these apartment communities, they’re competing against each other. For you, the quality renter, the people who have stable jobs, who pay their rent on time, the people who care about their credit score, the people who know how to work well with others and get along well with others, who clean up after their pets, they set it up for success. You know, those are the people that they’re competing for. Many companies will offer deals like reduced deposit or decreased rent or even a certain number of weeks free, to try and get your attention, so you’ll come and see their particular community. 

 Okay. Now, from the renter standpoint, the idea is, which of those deals is best for me in my situation. So sometimes free rent is better, because you get that advantage up front, sometimes taking that free rent and stretching it out over the term of the lease is better because now the rent will be lower, and the amount of money I need to earn every month in order to qualify will be lower because of that. So it’s really looking at these different deals that are being offered and determining what’s best for you, and then ask if the deal can be applied in a different way. From the apartment community standpoint the dollars are the same. It’s more important that whatever deal you accept fits your situation, and not so much theirs.

 MICHELLE:  Yeah, I think that’s an interesting way of looking at it because, again, from a negotiation standpoint, not having a lot of people experienced with this, my thought would be like, Oh, you can really only negotiate the rent number. But you’re totally right. I mean, the front end and how the numbers play together and the trade-off between do I want to have the extra boost now, of not having to pay rent, versus do I want the ongoing assistance to kind of keep costs low? Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

 JUSTIN: Yeah. Another thing – I mean, honestly, everything’s negotiable. Rent security deposit. An extra parking space, that might be something that’s negotiable, depending on the situation with that particular property. Because parking is starting to become an Olympic competitive sport in many cities. Oh my god.

 MICHELLE:  So true.

 JUSTIN: So a lot of these things are negotiable. And there’s another specific instance where, for example, you go into an apartment apartment community, the apartment that you want to lease may not be ready yet, because it may be new construction. It may be they’re doing remodeling on the apartment, so you leave a deposit and there’s a positive: there is a deposit agreement, the deposit agreement spells out how much money is left and the date when the apartment will be ready. Now, in a lot of cases, especially new construction cases, the date when the apartment will be ready will come and go and the apartment won’t be ready. It’ll be because of some delay, either a permanent delay or construction materials or weather or whatever it is that drove that. From your perspective, it doesn’t really matter what drove it. The fact is, we had an agreement and the apartment was not ready on time. And because of that, I am now inconvenienced. 

 Use that inconvenience as a negotiation tool that can get you opportunities for more free rent, it can get you opportunities for a lower deposit. And the reason why it’s such a great negotiation tool is because, especially for new communities, they need people to move in as soon as possible so the apartment community actually looks like a community and not a ghost town because they haven’t rented all their apartments yet. They’re still trying to rent the rest of them. So they need people to be there, to have the lights on in the apartments in the evenings. They need people to park there so it looks like someplace that people are living. The more of those people who have deposits upfront that they can get to stay, the better off they’re going to be. Because that deposit money does not belong to them. It still belongs to you.

 MICHELLE: Yeah, that’s a great point. 

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MICHELLE: What are your thoughts on – I’ve seen this issue a couple of times anecdotally where maybe the issue is not that the apartment itself isn’t ready, like a new construction situation. But maybe that the apartment doesn’t feel move-in ready to a new renter, like maybe repairs didn’t happen, or maybe it’s not in very good shape. Do you see that more as an opportunity for negotiation? Or is that just the sign of a bad landlord? Does that make sense?

 JUSTIN: It’s actually both. When you’re renting, when you’re going in and renting an apartment, they gave you some conception of what the apartment would look.. You saw a model apartment, or they showed you another apartment that they had reserved for someone else, but use it as an example of what your apartment would look like. Okay? If your apartment does not look like that – well, actually, let me back up. When they show you those models, take pictures. And it’s actually a good practice to take pictures when you’re touring apartments, anyway. But in this particular instance, those pictures that you took now verify what they told you. And you can specifically point out the differences between that and what you have received. 

 So that now becomes, those items of difference become negotiation points: you did not deliver what you told me I was going to get. So now we need to talk about adjusting for these differences. That adjustment can be find me another apartment, it can be the rent for this apartment should be lower than what we discussed because this is not at the same quality, as far as what we know, this is not the same quality as what I expected to receive. 

 And it also does provide some flags as far as who the landlord is, do they actually follow through on their commitments? What kind of people do they have on their maintenance staff? Are they responsive to my needs? And you actually have a good case for not even taking that apartment and getting your deposit back. Because it’s clearly not what was promised.

 MICHELLE:  Yeah, that’s a good point. I think a lot of people are afraid to do that because they worry that the landlord has power over them but you, as a person in that contractual agreement, you also have power, especially if you have those photos to back it up so that it doesn’t just feel like a claim pulled out of nowhere. I think that’s a great, great way to bridge that divide.

 JUSTIN: It also brings up another point. When you’re touring apartments, and I’ve seen this happen so many times, people are moving out of the area, they block out a day, they fly in, they do this whirlwind tour of 10 apartments, and then they make a decision. Well, the problem with that is, if you’re turning 10 apartments in one day, you’re not able to take the time to ask the questions you need to ask. You’re not taking the time to talk to residents who actually already live there to see what kind of experience they’re having. And you’re also not taking the time to see the neighborhood around the communities that you’re looking at. So really, the advice there is take more time to tour these communities and really make sure that this community fits what you need and want. And that also creates the possibility that you may be in this community longer term, which also has a number of other benefits for you as well.

 MICHELLE:  Yeah. So I like that you mentioned time because it made me think of something else: is the timing of when people are looking to rent ever an issue? Like I know, in the buying and selling real estate market, there’s sort of this spring-summer range where there’s a lot more turnover, but how does that flow into renting an apartment?

 JUSTIN: Timing is huge and critical. When you think about what’s happening on a national level in different parts of the year, so spring, summer, four-and-a-half million kids are graduating from college. They’re hopefully on their way to their new jobs, wherever those are. They’re looking for apartments to get situated in before their new job starts. In addition to them, there are a bunch of people who are moving, possibly changing cities, possibly not, who are trying to get their kids situated before the school year starts in August or early September. So that summer period is when a huge amount of leasing activity happens. To give you a more specific example, the last job I was in as a property manager, the company I was working for expected me to complete 80% of the leases for the year during that summer period.

 MICHELLE:  Wow. That’s a lot.

JUSTIN: Yeah, that’s huge. Huge. And because that’s when everybody’s looking and that timing happens every year like clockwork, in terms of flipping this around and figuring out how this can help you save money: late fall into winter. There are much fewer people looking. But there’s still apartments that become available because people lose jobs. People get jobs in other cities, people have, you know, parents or relatives who become ill and they need to move to help them. All these situations are still happening. And so there are vacancies that occur during that late fall-winter period. Well, as we discussed earlier, if the apartment’s vacant, I can’t get my money back. I just lose that money until I get somebody else in there. So if you’re looking in late fall and winter, you can appear to be in an oasis in the desert for a landlord who’s trying to fill a vacancy, because they don’t want to wait until summer rolls around again.

MICHELLE: Hmm, that’s awesome. So if you do have control over the moving process, you’ll probably have the best negotiation power in late fall and even into the winter. 

 JUSTIN: Yeah. And it’s actually a good tip for those young people who are just graduating college, if your parents are gonna help you with your apartment and the cost of your apartment, you may want to convince them that if you can sleep on the couch for a little while longer, just a few more months, we can get that rent price down. It’s helping you to kind of look at it that way. But yeah, that timing happens every year like clockwork, people say you can’t time the market, but in this case, you really do know what millions of people are going to be doing at a specific time and you can plan accordingly based on what you want and your needs are.

 MICHELLE: Let’s say somebody is in a situation where they are looking to rent or move soon. What is the best source of information when you’re renting a property?

 JUSTIN: The leasing associate or the landlord is where you start gathering information. But I also recommend that when you’re looking at properties, especially apartment communities, talk to the other residents who currently live there. These are people who’ve already signed on the dotted line, whether you move in or not really doesn’t affect their life. So it gives you an opportunity to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly about that particular community from a relatively unbiased source. Because the leasing agent they’re there I mean, they’re pretty biased, they want you to move in. I mean, their leasing commission’s assigned to that; that’s their job. That’s what they get paid to do. So there is a certain bias that they have. 

 But the people who are currently living there, they don’t have that bias. So definitely talk to them and ask them questions. Does it really get quiet? And when quiet hours start? When something needs to be repaired do they actually come and fix it? Because rent is more than just about the roof that you’re paying for. It’s the services that come with that. And one of those services is maintenance, do they actually fix things? 

 Other sources of information I recommend are that people come back to the apartment community at night, or better yet come back to the apartment community at night on the weekend. So that way, you can see what’s going on when the leasing people aren’t there. You can see that you can kind of get a real insider peek into how the community functions. When you know, unsupervised, so to speak.

 MICHELLE: Oh, that’s a great point. I would not have thought of that either. But for sure, I’ve been in situations where I’ve seen something during the day. And it’s sort of, you know, nice and quiet and peaceful. And, again, as an introvert who likes to go to bed early, what other people do is generally not my business. But when it comes to getting my good sleep, you’re totally right. I would want to know how loud it’s going to be for just for my own peace of mind.

JUSTIN: Yeah, it also has implications for parking. So while you’re taking the tour, parking will inevitably come up. And the conversation may be well, yes, you do get one parking spot, you get one parking space with the apartment, but there’s ample parking on the street. Well, you’ll find out if there’s ample parking on the street when you come at night or at night on the weekend. And you’ll really see if that’s true or not. And you’ll see what ample parking means. It may mean yeah, if you park five blocks away, there’s ample parking. But that may not be what your definition of ample parking is.

MICHELLE:  Yeah, where are your hiking boots? You have been such a valuable wealth of information so far. Before I ask how people can find you online are there any other thoughts or takeaway things I might have forgotten to ask? Or parting words of wisdom for renter- to-be?

 JUSTIN: You as a renter are really the landlord’s partner, in terms of them getting the most out of their investment. That’s more than just the rent check. How you behave, how you get along with other residents, and your ability to help their cash flow be continuous is really important. So you absolutely have more power in this relationship than you think you do. And you absolutely should be negotiating and asking questions, not only when you first rent the apartment, but also when any lease renewal conversations come about.

 MICHELLE:  Yeah, that’s awesome. How can people find you online and learn about your book, “Rental Secrets?”

 JUSTIN: You can find me at my website, which is rental secrets dot net. There are some videos there where I actually walk through the value of each chapter of the book. I also archive all my different podcast appearances there, under the media section as well. So that’s definitely a wealth of knowledge and information for people. You can purchase the ebook there, and of course it’s available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, all the usual suspects. You can also look me up on LinkedIn, as well as Twitter and Facebook.

 MICHELLE:  Awesome. And listeners, don’t forget I always make sure to put information contained within each episode on my website. If you go to young and scrappy dot com slash blog, you can find all of our podcast episodes there, along with full transcripts and links to all of the good stuff that Justin talked about. Thank you again so much for coming on. I am a homeowner but I already feel empowered to go rent something. Super great information, listeners. Thank you for listening. 

 OUTRO: Don’t forget to like us, give us the stars on iTunes and generally follow us as well. That way we can have awesome folks like Justin continue to come on. I wish everybody an abundant day. 

 END CREDITS: I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Young Scrappy Money podcast. If you want to read about my work as a financial advisor and financial coach, you can do so at That’s Thanks again for listening.

Made with love by Jesse in Atlanta. [SMOOCHING SOUND]

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