I appreciate that you have a business to run and you have to make the best decisions for that business, and we also need to make the best decisions for our family. [This isn’t going to be a win/lose situation. How can we both make the best decisions for ourselves and still walk away feeling like we’ve “won”?]  We decided to do some research and viewed some other apartments yesterday.  $X is the going rate we’re seeing in the market [is he sweating knowing that we moved quickly and already booked showings with agents? That was my goal.] We looked at this first property and it is renting for $X and another comparable property is also renting for $X. [Specifics always help] While we would hate to leave, we aren’t prepared to pay over market for our housing. [my ask is that I’ve laid out what market it and we’re not budging past that.]

Then, silence. If you’ve taken my negotiation course, you know how important silence is in a negotiation and if I’m honest, I think this silence just saved us thousands each year.

He took a few seconds and replied back, “Thank you for your honesty. Yes, it is a business and I need to make sure I’m doing what’s right for it. But I would hate to see you leave. How about we meet in the middle on the increase?”

This is the part I’m most proud of. Jordan and I both sat in silence and just stared at him. Yes, it was a little uncomfortable for a second, but that was OK. He proposed something that we weren’t ready to consider, but instead of shutting him down, we sat in silence and waited for him to continue.

And continue, he did.

“Well thinking about it as a business owner, it would cost a lot to replace you. And I don’t think the extra cost of replacing you is worth raising the rent. So we won’t raise the rent this year. Would you be OK with that? Keeping the same rent going forward?”

Oh yes, that would be just fine.[/et_pb_text]

The review

While I could end the story there, and you probably would like me to, there’s one area that I had for improvement. Yes, of course, I asked Jordan for an evaluation.

After we shook on the no rent increase he stayed for another 5-10 minutes. And rather than changing the topic to something neutral like the weather (English people love to talk about the weather), I started talking about rent again. WTF, Erica.

Luckily, this changed nothing. But my lesson learned is this: ask for what you want, make the deal, and move on. If all else fails, the weather is a decent segue.

Negotiating your salary is the same as negotiating anything else in life. Taking the lessons I’ve learned and mastered from workplace negotiation, I was able to bring it into my personal life and save a bundle.

Erica Gellerman Bio The Worth Project

Erica Gellerman is a CPA, MBA, personal finance writer, and founder of The Worth Project: personal finance and family travel. website. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Money, Business Insider, The Everygirl, The Everymom, and Lifehacker. When she's not writing about personal finance you can find Erica exploring Europe from her temporary home base in London.

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