From the outside looking in, many people assume that the life of a landlord is one of leisure. But in reality, landlording involves a lot more than walking to the mailbox and collecting a steady stream of rent checks. In many cases, it’s a job that comes with high levels of stress.
As a landlord, your success will ultimately depend on your ability to mitigate underlying sources of stress, streamline complex processes, and leverage resources at scale. And if you’re unsure of where to begin, we’d love to help point you in the right direction.
4 Ways to Reduce Stress as a Landlord
Most landlords experience high levels of stress in a few concentrated areas. Keeping this in mind, here are a few helpful tips you can use to lower stress and enjoy greater peace of mind.
- Carefully Screen Tenants
A nightmare tenant is a source of unlimited stress. Thus, you should do everything in your power to avoid bad tenants and only work with good tenants who show a propensity for paying on time. The secret is thorough tenant screening.
A good tenant screening process involves a background check, employment/income verification, credit check, and at least two referrals from previous landlords. Anything less than this could leave you vulnerable to onboarding unsuitable tenants.
- Hire a Property Management Company
Truth be told, you can avoid dozens of unnecessary stress factors by partnering with a professional property management company that’s local to your market.
Every property management company is different, but they typically have some sort of comprehensive service package that can make you as hands-off as you’d like to be. For example, Green Residential in Katy, Texas offers the following as part of their property management services: tenant screening, on-staff CPA, property marketing, rental collection, professional quality photography, repair and maintenance, eviction services, and 24-hour repair and support line.
- Stay Local
In search of hot markets and high ROI, many real estate investors will conduct regional, national, and even international searches. And while it may technically be possible to find “good deals” by casting a wider net, it also opens you up to some significant challenges. Most of all, it amplifies the stress level of property management.
According to real estate investor Engelo Rumora, there are three reasons you should never invest in out of town real estate:
- The likelihood of finding the right local professionals is next to none. You need a real estate agent, property manager, contractor, real estate attorney, etc. And if you lack connections in this market, you’ll have a difficult time getting the right people on your team.
- When things go wrong, you aren’t physically present to fix them. And if you do need to show up and fix something, it can take hours to get there. That’s problematic on many fronts. Most of all, it leaves you open to abuse. As Rumora puts it, “What tends to happen is when the cat leaves, the mice come out to play. The problem in this situation is the cat is never around, so the mice are always playing.”
- Finally, you aren’t going to get the best deal when investing out of state. You’ll be slower to find good deals and, once you do, you’re going to get nickel-and-dimed with miscellaneous costs (simply because you aren’t there to handle the details).
That’s a long-winded way of telling you to only invest in local real estate. If nothing else, avoiding these headaches will add years back to your life.
- Stay Organized
Nothing creates undue stress quite like a lack of organization. As a landlord, it’s up to you to develop a system that allows you to find precisely what you’re looking for within minutes of searching. And in 2021, saving files on a cloud drive is the best option.
If you don’t already have a cloud drive, you can start with something free, easy, and simple. Google Drive is a great option. You can create individual folders for different properties and keep everything stored there. And no matter what device you try to access a file from, it’ll always be there.
Enjoy the Best of Both Worlds
You don’t have to choose between being a landlord and living a stress-free life. With the right plan, it’s possible to do both. Start by heeding the advice mentioned above. Pay attention to which steps move the needle the most and focus on them. The goal is to be as efficient with your time and energy as possible.