Being a landlord seems to be the go-to for many real estate investors new to the game. However, I can’t stress enough that from my personal experience, this has been the worst decision that I ever made as a real estate investing newbie. This is simply because now that I have been able to witness it firsthand, I can finally understand exactly how much work, effort, and sweat goes into managing your own property. Therefore, trust me when I say that I am totally convinced that this so-called “passive source of income” is far more active than it seems.
Time is Scarcer Than Gold
Managing a property all by yourself without the help of a property management company will occupy so much of your time, and the thing is, the amount of time that you put into chasing after rent, screening for potential tenants, and fixing the broken sink, you could easily have used to either educate yourself, perform research, or invest in new properties. So while you might be able to save money managing the property firsthand, you will be losing time, which is your most precious asset. Sadly, time is often placed on a lower pedestal to wealth. However, it is important to keep in mind that while you can always generate income, you can never make more time.
Living Life Like a Medical Resident
If you want to take on life as a landlord, you will have to brace yourself for some tough times ahead. You have surely heard stories about terrible tenants who completely destroy your home or run off without paying, getting evicted and so forth, but the truth of the matter is, even good tenants can be a real handful!
If you are the landlord, if the sink decides to play up during dinner time, who will the tenants call? You. If you are the landlord, if the electricity suddenly goes out in the middle of the night, who is in charge of fixing it? You. Every little problem with the property is always the landlord’s responsibility. So essentially, being a landlord means that you will always be on call — day in and day out. There is no holiday or designated “break time” for you, as you never know when a problem will suddenly occur.
Still don’t want a property manager/management company to handle all the ups and downs for you? Well, be prepared to embrace being the first one who gets a phone call, even if it means interrupting your much-needed beauty sleep at two o’clock in the morning.
The Nice Guy Syndrome
The truth of the matter is, being a landlord requires guts. You have to be strong, persistent, and (almost) mentally unbreakable. However, the vast majority of us probably relate more to the everyday “nice guy” — as in, you’ll far prefer being an understanding landlord than one who enforces rules with a mighty fist if they ever come head to head with a difficult situation.
For example, imagine having a tenant whose lived in your rental for the past three months who suddenly loses their job — and their mother just passed away. They ask you to let them stay and promise to pay you back once they find a new job. However, four weeks pass, and they haven’t found a job yet. Tell me, what do you do? Sure, it might feel good to play the nice guy, and you might not have the heart to insist that they move out, but being a landlord involves making tough choices — even ones that you don’t like.
Remember, this is a business so you have to treat it that way. If you don’t have the heart to play the “bad cop,” then let the property manager/management company handle it. It will take a huge load off your mind (literally).
All in all, being a landlord isn’t a bad thing per se, but it isn’t something that you should leap into without some prior education. It is mentally tough, time consuming, and requires a whole lot of DIY. So if that doesn’t sound like something you’re into, then don’t jump on the landlord bandwagon, and instead, try looking into some other options that are available out there!
[Editor’s Note: We are republishing this article to help out our newer readers.]
Investors: Do you believe in self-managing your properties or hiring it out? Why?
Let me know with a comment!