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Published On: Mon, Jul 27th, 2020

6 Things Landlords Can Do to Lower Stress

When most people think about stressful occupations, there are certain professions that come to mind. They might think of emergency room doctors, police officers, military generals, or even a restaurant general manager who is tasked with serving hundreds of customers per night. But they probably don’t consider landlords.

If we’re being honest, landlords often get a bad rap. You’re seen as the “bad guy.” The person who collects money. But what people don’t realize is that your job is actually quite stressful. You spend your days chasing down checks, dealing with disputes, addressing expensive repairs, navigating legal complexities and tax challenges, etc.

But let’s stop assuming that stress has to come with the territory. There are plenty of highly successful landlords who experience relatively low levels of stress. And it’s all because they know how to deal with it properly. 

photo/ Jan Vašek

Want to be more like these landlords? Here are a few suggestions:

 

  • Get to the Root of the Stress

 

The first key is to uncover and acknowledge what’s causing you stress. For most landlords, it’s a combination of the following:

 

  • Bad tenants. If you have bad tenants, you’re probably left worrying about whether you’ll get your rent check on time and if they’re taking care of your property.

 

 

  • Disorganization. There’s a ton of paperwork involved with being a landlord. This includes financing documents, closing documents, tax documents, insurance forms, lease agreements, and various forms of correspondence. A lack of organization can make you feel unprepared.

 

 

  • Fear of the unknown. Things might be good right now, but you’re constantly worrying about what happens if you don’t get paid, if the market crashes, how you’ll find your next tenant, etc.

 

Once you wrap your brain around precisely what’s stressing you out, you’re able to attack it and move on. 

 

  • Streamline Rent Collection

 

Is there anything worse than a tenant who consistently pays late? The excuses are enough to make you want to grab the tenant by their shoulders and shake them. But, alas, you can’t do that. The better option is to streamline rent collection so there’s less room for excuses to run rampant. 

There are a variety of ways to make rent collection more efficient, but direct deposits into your account make the most sense. If you can convince your tenant to allow this, you absolutely should.

 

  • Outsource Maintenance

 

It doesn’t matter how handy you are, trying to do all of your own maintenance on your properties isn’t worth it. Depending on how many properties you have, there will always be something wrong – a leaky faucet, a running toilet, a broken window, a faulty AC unit, etc. Outsource the work to a trusted handyman and save the energy. 

 

  • Develop a Meticulous Tenant Screening Process

 

Just as a bad tenant can ruin your life, a good tenant can make your life simple. The trick is to implement a rigorous tenant screening process that helps you weed out the bad apples from the good ones. Just make sure you’re using legal methods to screen tenants. There are different state and federal laws regarding what information you can and can’t use.

 

  • Hire a Property Management Company

 

The good news is that you don’t have to do all of this on your own. The simplest solution to all of these problems is to hire a property management service. Not only will they handle rent collection, maintenance, and tenant screening on your behalf, but some will even offer assurances related to tenancy and income. Austin-based Green Residential, for example, guarantees tenant placement, rental income, and 100 percent satisfaction. (That’s not a common offer, but it goes to show there are some good companies out there. Do your due diligence!)

 

  • Keep a Fully-Stocked Emergency Fund

 

Regardless of whether you hire a property manager or decide to continue on your own, it’s a smart idea to keep a fully-stocked emergency fund on hand for each one of your properties. This emergency fund should include at least three to six months of expenses in a cash savings account. This ensures you’re always protected should any major expenses or unforeseen circumstances arise.

Don’t Normalize Chronic Stress

We live in a culture where chronic stress is normalized. In fact, if you aren’t stressed out, people look at you a little funny and wonder if you’re lazy or out of touch with reality. But there’s nothing normal about chronic stress.

As a landlord, your success and longevity in this industry are highly predicated on your ability to block out the noise and focus on the things that truly matter. Hopefully this article has provided a stable foundation to build upon.

Author: Anne Johansson

photo/ mohamed Hassan

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