How to Manage and Reduce Stress When You’re a Landlord
Many people venture into real estate investing as a way to escape the 9-to-5 rat race and enjoy a more flexible and rewarding lifestyle. Though this business can certainly provide such benefits, a certain level of stress can also come out of owning rental properties.
If you aren’t prepared for it, you could be overwhelmed.
Try These Stress-Management Tactics
Stress is a simple biological response to a perceived threat. Some stress can be a good thing, but you don’t want it to evolve into a chronic state. When stress becomes constant, it will wreak havoc on your physical and mental health.
When you’re a landlord, you can use certain tactics to allay stress and enjoy all the advantages that got you into real estate in the first place. Let’s explore a few.
1. Do a Better Job With Tenant Screening
Nothing will make your life easier than having good tenants … and almost nothing will make your life worse than having nightmare renters. In the rush to get your property occupied, you’ll have to avoid the temptation to say “yes” to the very first application that comes across your desk.
Instead, be rigorous with your tenant screening process and wait until you find a solid fit. A good tenant is someone who will pay on time and take care of your property.
The best way to find someone who will do both of these is to speak to their past landlords and their current employer. This should give you a strong idea of who they really are.
2. Hire a Property Manager
If you aren’t careful, owning a rental property can become time consuming and full of daily tasks. Between plunging toilets, painting walls, balancing your books, and collecting rent, you might not get much left in which to relax and spend time with family.
But there’s one sure-fire way to streamline these tasks and reclaim your time. The answer is to hire a property manager.
A property manager is an individual or company that shoulders the responsibility for the day-to-day tasks of managing your rental. From tenant screening and property marketing to collecting rent and scheduling maintenance requests, they can do it all.
This will free you up to focus on the big picture aspects of your business, especially acquiring more properties.
3. Know Who to call
Issues are going to crop up from time to time. The key is to prevent small ones from becoming major problems. One way to do this is by having appropriate phone numbers in your phone’s contact list.
If you have a property management company, they will always be your first call. However, if you’re operating on your own, you’ll need reliable contacts, including a real estate agent, real estate attorney, general contractor, handyman, licensed plumber, licensed electrician, professional landscaper, and a mortgage banker.
4. Set Boundaries
You have to set boundaries between yourself and your business when you’re a landlord. You can’t be “on” all the time and expect to live a normal life.
The best practice is to hire a property management company, then set the hours you expect to work. For example, you might be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Outside of those hours, you needn’t do anything related to the business. Barring any serious emergency, you should instruct tenants, property managers, and other business partners to contact you only during these hours.
5. Keep an Emergency Fund
Much like you do in your personal life, you need an emergency fund for each individual property you own. A good rule of thumb is to have enough cash on hand to pay all of your expenses for three months if you don’t generate any income. This reduces stress: You’ll enjoy peace of mind because everything should be fine with that cushion, even in a worst-case scenario.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Finally, make sure you take care of yourself. Eat healthy, stay hydrated, exercise daily, and get plenty of sleep. It’s amazing what a little TLC can do for your mind and body.
Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Start Living
Don’t let the stress of being a landlord overwhelm you to the point where you resist getting out of bed in the morning. With a few simple tweaks to your habits, processes, and mindset, you can change your outlook and enjoy a stress-free landlording experience that puts you in total control.
Give these tactics a try and figure out which ones work best for you!