While it is human behavior to negotiate, it is equally human behavior to stress over the negotiation process and even have a hard time knowing how to handle the stress too!
As a red head, I am chief worrier and stressor. In Tenant Negotiations Made Simple we discussed how and when to negotiate with a tenant. Now comes the equally fun part of how to handle the “stress” of the negotiations. As landlords we are human and worry that standing our ground will have negative consequences with most of them stemming from an empty house- whether the consequences are the financial strain or the emotional strain of having to deal with it.
As a landlord my biggest stressor during lease negotiations is balancing my feelings. I know I powerfully stress the fact that this is a BUSINESS and not a charity. At the same time we are still human and have feelings. Therefore as we have carried on in this journey I have learned to evaluate every tenant or applicant request by asking myself these questions:
- What are the effects of this decision on my house?
- Will it diminish my ability to enforce my lease?
- Does this add or reduce “value” as a landlord?
- What does my “gut” think?
I have learned to always step back and think about each request. The one thing I have learned is to trust my gut while not taking it personally. For me as a landlord this was a huge pet peeve in the beginning. I used to take it personally. So learning to drop this “feeling” and evaluate things with a level head has been imperative. While it still bothers me it no longer effects my relationship as much as it used to in the beginning. In the beginning I would feel “lied to ” and felt taken advantage of.
As I became more experienced I learned that this was just part of the business. I learned that, like consumers, tenants are trying to get the best “bang” for the buck. Instead of getting upset I created a process so I can deal with requests effectively.
Tenant Negotiations: How to Handle the Stress
- Internally create a clear concise list of qualification expectations. I wouldn’t necessarily tell applicants the potential list. This would be for me internally so I knew what I wanted and wouldn’t get caught up in the “emotions” of the moment. Then I would just stick to my guns. You have to be willing to have applicants walk away. The applicant or tenant only has you between a rock and a hard place if you allow them to!
- Run the request through my Question List (above). I would then step back and evaluate the request through my “neutral” questions.
- Provide my answer- Once I came up with my answer, I would provide a response and move on. The key is not to second guess yourself. I continue to show the house and look for a good tenant. This allows me to never be in a precarious situation that I feel that I “have” to yield to applicant’s/tenant’s requests.
- Continue showing the house and accepting applicants- I do this to reduce the dependence on the one single applicant and to give me a bit of leverage. The deal isn’t closed until the applicant has completed ALL of the steps: submit the application, I have approved it, and the lease is signed with a security deposit. Therefore, I tell everyone that my homes are leased on a first come first served basis until the previously listed steps and documents are all returned. Usually my houses are in very sought after areas and are priced right. Therefore I have a lot of interest. When applicants are reminded of the fact that there are other interested parties then negotiations and requests for changes to the terms of the lease usually stops. If they don’t then I give them my expectation and answer move on!
While this might sound a little “harsh” it is very important that you as a landlord stick to your “guns”. The most unhappy landlord tenant relationships are ones where either party feels taken advantage of or pushed into a corner. Therefore performing the above steps have done a great deal to assisting me in being successful in setting boundaries and expectations.1