A Practical Guide to Reducing Stress as a Landlord
On the outside looking in, it appears as if landlords have it made. People on the other side of the relationship assume that landlords are ultra-wealthy country club members who work an hour each morning and then spend the rest of the day golfing. But as you know, the reality is much different. In fact, being a landlord can be time-consuming and stressful.
5 Ways to Slash Stress
When you invest in rental properties, you’re not just in the real estate business. You’re in the “people” business. And as we all know, people can be tough to deal with. Left unaddressed, chronic friction leads to chronic stress, which produces burnout and significantly damages your cash flow and the overall rate of return.
The good news is that there are plenty of stress-free real estate investors and landlords out there. They simply have systems in place that address sources of friction. Here are a few tips you can use to do the same:
1. Identify Your Biggest Stressors
The first step to eliminating stress as a landlord is to identify what’s causing you the most stress in the first place.
Grab a pen and paper and begin listing off every aspect of your business that’s stressing you out. Then assign a number to each line item using a scale of one (kind of stressful) to five (extremely stressful). Go ahead and cross off anything that gets a one or a two. Any item with a three, four, or five gets your focus. Eliminating or reducing the stress associated with these factors will usually make the biggest impact on your physical and emotional health.
For most landlords, big stressors include late rent payments, major property repairs, and tenant turnover. Yours may be different, but consider where each of these factors ranks on your stress “spectrum.”
2. Be More Selective
You can significantly improve your entire real estate portfolio by being more selective. This includes being more selective with the properties you buy and the tenants you allow to live in your properties.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a metric ton of cure when it comes to tenant screening,” investor G. Brian Davis writes. “It doesn’t even have to cost you money—have the applicant pay the costs of background checks. But it costs something many landlords are even loather to part with: their own sweat and work.”
It’s much better to have a property sit vacant for another four or five days than to put the wrong tenant into your property and deal with months of negative ramifications. Be patient and diplomatic in how you select your tenants.
3. Hire a Property Manager
Though it will cost a little bit of money, hiring a property manager is the best thing you can do (in terms of reducing stress). A professional property management company basically acts as insulation between you and the tenant. They’re your liaison – collecting rent, fielding phone calls, handling repairs, etc. So instead of anxiously wondering if your phone will ring on a Friday night, you can relax and enjoy time with the family.
4. Set Hours and Boundaries
If you don’t have a property manager on your team, it’s a good idea to set hours and boundaries with your tenants. While you’ll need to be available around the clock for serious emergencies, you can create a work schedule to prevent unnecessary phone calls and contact on nights and weekends. Just make sure you’re clear with your expectations on the front end. (Most tenants will respect this.)
5. Live Healthily
There’s no replacement for healthy living. When you’re eating terribly, not exercising, and getting minimal sleep, every little stressor has the potential to become a major source of anxiety. Start eating fresher, drinking more water, doing some daily cardio, and getting at least seven hours of sleep each night. You’ll notice a significant difference in how you feel.
6. Kiss Stress Goodbye
Some stress is natural and normal. (If you don’t feel any stress, it’s an indicator that you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.) But if you’re tired of constantly feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, you need to do something about it.