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Practical Negotiation Tips For Career Enhancement

In today's episode, we delve into the pivotal role of negotiation within the multifamily industry, particularly focusing on managing lease renewal negotiations with residents. You'll discover why mastering the art of negotiation isn't just about clinching deals but also about enhancing your professional trajectory and the community you serve. From sharing our personal experiences to revealing strategies for lease renewal negotiations that ensure a win-win for all parties involved, this short conversation is packed with insights and laughter that you won't want to miss.

Listen to the episode below and subscribe to The Resident Experience Podcast for more episodes.

Insights on How to Negotiate Effectively in Multifamily

Introduction (0:00 - 01:45)
Yolanda Muchnick and Charles Buggs set the stage for a deep dive into the essential art of negotiation in the multifamily industry, emphasizing its unique importance and the skills it demands.

The Essence of Negotiation (01:46 - 04:42)
Charles shares his early realization of negotiation's power in property management, highlighting its necessity during lease renewals. Through anecdotes, Yolanda and Charles discuss how negotiation skills are crucial for addressing residents' concerns and adjustments in lease terms. They touch on the humorous yet challenging aspects of negotiation, shedding light on the delicate balance property managers must maintain between making residents feel valued and adhering to fair housing laws.

Real-Life Negotiation Tales (04:43 - 06:35)
Yolanda recounts a personal experience of negotiating her rent increase, comparing it with a friend's outcome to illustrate how negotiations can vary widely. Charles emphasizes the importance of equitable negotiation outcomes, pointing out the need to navigate within the confines of regulatory standards and fairness in the multifamily industry. This chapter reveals the human element in negotiation, underscoring the significance of empathy and understanding in achieving mutually beneficial agreements.

Conclusion (06:36 - 08:00)
Wrapping up, Charles offers final wisdom on the essence of successful negotiation—ensuring a win for all parties involved. Yolanda reminds listeners of the broader impact of negotiation on building community relationships, inviting audience engagement with their own negotiation strategies. The episode closes on a high note, looking forward to sharing more insights and stories with the multifamily professional community.

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Episode Transcript

Yolanda Muchnik:
Welcome back, multifamily pros for our new listeners. I’m Yolanda Muchnik, and with me is my co-host, Charles Buggs. And today we’re digging into the art of negotiation, that we are.

Charles Buggs:
Thank you for the introduction. I’m so happy to be here. It’s super fascinating how negotiation can really affect our career paths, and it’s something that’s a special skill set, I think, in property management beyond a lot of other industries that you have to have very good negotiation skills, very good listening skills, and I think we’re going to really help you out with some great stories and hopefully some laughs, too.

Yolanda Muchnik:
That’s right. And having strong negotiation skills is absolutely essential in this industry, whether you’re hammering out new deals with vendors, property owners, or even your own colleagues. So let’s kick things off. And Charles Buggs, when did you first realize just how powerful negotiation can be as a tool?

Charles Buggs:
Thank you, Yolonda. I think when looking back at my career on site and property management, I found that negotiation was extremely important relatively early on. One of the main things, and I think back and kind of laugh about, is thinking about how we would have negotiations during that time of renewal. It was always funny. We chuckle about it now because I’m out of it. But it was frustrating sometimes because a renewal will come up.

You know, it’s your renewal. You know, your contract is what, 1212 months? About, say, seven to nine months into it, we send you a letter saying, hey, this is what the new thing is going to be. New terms. You can sign it or let us know you’re going to move. You have to give us 30 days. That whole thing. When we sent these out, you know, Lancey and air were emailing them, putting them on doors, walking around, handing them out.

We would kind of get this list back of everything that’s ever went wrong with the apartment. Like, thorough, like, you know, I’ve never had hot water. Like, things that were like, oh, my God, like, how are you living here? What are we, slumulers? Right? Like that whole conversation. Right. And so that covers that whole negotiation time, we have to be kind of armed and prepared to answer those questions and speak to what’s been added to the community to that value that justifies that increase in cost.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Yeah. And you’re probably not going to be surprised to hear this, but I’ve definitely been one of those residents myself. And I remember a time like, you know, several years ago where I was renting an apartment, and they had proactively, there was a law that was coming to place. They had proactively tried to raise my rent by like 15% or something. And I just came at them with an anchor, you know, like I’ve lived in, you know, all the, you know, these others named these other cities that are, like, notorious for higher living in this city. In that city, my rent has never gone up more than 3%. And that is my, that is my expectation.

And ultimately, you know, they were cool with me paying a 3% increase. And I felt like, ah, yes, I did the best. But it’s funny, until like, the next week when I found out my friend who, like, lived like two floors down from me, like, got like zero increase in her rent, and then I felt like, you know, oh, man, absolutely.

Charles Buggs:
So that is so funny. And I think it’s, it’s an important and important and important thing to mention because again, with the uniqueness of that multifamily industry, this is one of those times where we’re going to have negotiations that we hope aren’t public, but we have to accept the fact that some of those conversations are going to be talked about. That thing. We’re like, hey, look, don’t, don’t say anything. Those aren’t options that are typically at a properties manager.

Sorry, at a property manager’s disposal, because typically you’re kind of guided by this thing called fair housing laws. Right. You can’t give one to something and not to someone else. You can’t have for favoritism, you can’t discriminate or any of the things that you hear when you hear fair. So it adds an air of a little bit of tightrope walking because you want to make people feel special. You want to make someone feel like you care about them. But you also have to mind the fact that the industry has its regulatory processes and you have to own also color within those lines.

So a very good point about you guys talking, which don’t do that.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Absolutely. Like the residents talk. I mean, that’s why I went in with my, like, 3% strategy to begin with. That’s because somebody told me that they had negotiated theirs down. So. Totally something to be aware of, for sure.

Charles Buggs:
Yeah, I was just going to mention I mean, as, as a negotiation goes, one big negotiation we have is who deals with that resident being you. When we see you marching towards our office after the letters went out and you got your notebook and you’re ready to go and you have all your points, you know, that’s a peer to peer like. Your turn. So, speaking of negotiations, something to consider?

Yolanda Muchnik:
Absolutely. And before we wrap up, Charles Buggs, any final words of wisdom for our multifamily professionals looking to sharpen their negotiation skills?

Charles Buggs:
Absolutely. I think the fundamental thing about negotiation, especially when it comes down to the housing industry, is to really remember the fact that winning isn’t always about getting what you want. It’s about making sure everyone wins. Right? Winning for all parties, you’re getting the renewal. The customer feels comfortable about where they live. That’s where their family sleeps at night. And I think it’s important to not negate from either side the importance of coming to a resolution that makes sense for everybody.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Well said. And to our listeners, we hope today’s very quick conversation gave you some chuckles and shed some light on new angles of negotiation that you can apply in your multifamily management roles. Remember, it’s more than just making deals. It’s about building relationships and communities.

Charles Buggs:
That’s right. And we’d love, love to hear your negotiation strategy. So if you have any that are good, please share them with us.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Yes, and thank you so much for joining us today. Keep negotiating and keep growing, but don’t leave just yet. Let’s get into the good news.