Managing property and serving as a landlord can be a great way to make money. Depending on where you live, you should be able to collect more in rent than you’re paying in monthly expenses – and some weeks, you might not have to do anything at all.
That said, being a landlord is also a stressful and time-consuming job. You’ll be responsible for making sure your property remains occupied and that it remains in good repair. You’ll have to settle conflicts and deal with emergencies. You’ll also have to scramble to get a new tenant when this one leaves. As Lotus Properties, a trusted Los Angeles Property Management company, puts it: “Being a landlord is not for the faint of heart. It takes dedication, patience and expertise to manage a property successfully.”
So how do you deal with the stress of being a landlord?
Hire a Property Management Company
One of your best options for stress reduction is hiring a property management company. A property manager will take over most of your responsibilities. They’ll be in charge of marketing the property, collecting tenant applications and screening tenants, doing maintenance, handling repairs, and even guiding you through the eviction process if one ever becomes necessary.
The only real downside is that you’ll owe the company a percentage of your gross monthly rent. For most landlords, this small compromise of profitability is well worth the cost.
Invest in a Good Insurance Policy
You can also sleep better at night if you have a good insurance policy covering you. A robust insurance policy will cover your property (in case something happens to it) and cover you in case someone is injured on your property. Knowing you’ll have financial protection if something bad happens can almost instantly lower your stress levels.
Prioritize Tenant Screening
Most of the stressful parts of being a landlord come from having a bad (or questionable) tenant. Your tenant may not pay rent on time (or at all). They may be noisy and be a nuisance to your other tenants. They may damage or outright destroy your property.
That’s why part of your stress management is contingent on your tenant screening process. With a more thorough tenant screening process in place, you can guarantee that your property will have more responsible, more caring people living in it. That won’t eliminate the possibility of tenant problems in the future, but it will minimize it.
Build a Reliable Network
Professional networking is valuable in any career, but it’s especially important when you’re managing properties. Over time, you should build a team of experts who can help you in many different areas of property management and maintenance. For example, it pays to have a roofing expert, a plumber, and an electrician in your rolodex of contacts. It takes time to build the right team and get to know people, but when you do, you’ll have confidence that you have a team who can handle any issue that arises at your property.
While you’re at it, keep the property in the best condition you can. Conduct regular inspections and home maintenance consistently to prevent the need for major repairs later.
Automate Whatever You Can
It’s a good idea to automate whatever you can. Try to set automatic notifications for your main responsibilities and give your tenants the option to deposit rent automatically from their bank accounts. The less manual work you have to do, and the more streamlined these processes are, the less stressed you’re going to be.
Maintain a Robust Emergency Fund
You might have an emergency fund for your personal use, but do you have one set aside for your property? If you’re blindsided with an unexpected repair or major damage to your property, how are you going to handle it? If you have several thousand dollars set aside for this purpose, you won’t have to worry about it too much.
As a landlord, there’s always the possibility that one of your tenants will try to sue you or claim that you’ve managed the property poorly. Additionally, you’ll have the burden of reporting your earnings accurately come tax season. That’s why it’s so important to document everything you can. The more thoroughly you document your work, the more confident you can be that you’re doing everything right.
Manage Your Stress in a Healthy Way
Finally, take the time to manage the stress that does accumulate in a healthy way. Make sure you get enough sleep at night and eat healthy meals, for starters. You can also reduce your accumulated stress with physical exercise, meditation, and ample time to enjoy your favorite hobbies.
Even with all the right strategies in place, being a landlord is tough. It’s on you to devise a stress prevention and stress management system that allows you to stay calm, clear-headed, and healthy as you continue to manage your property portfolio.