Will You Be a Successful Landlord?

Where will you be in five years with your rental properties?  Will you be enjoying a lifestyle that suits your personality and interests?  Or will you wake up each morning dreading an argument with a complaining tenant, or having to knock on a door and ask for rent that’s a week late?


We’re not talking here about whether you should be a landlord or not.  It’s more a planning issue, so that you can select properties and invest appropriately in order to accomplish your investment goals in a way that suits your personality and abilities.  An objective assessment of your attitudes and capabilities at the beginning of the real estate investment process is important.


·         Do you like working with people?

·         When complaints are made, can you handle anger or volatility?

·         Have you been stable in other long term endeavors?

·         Can you enforce rules and stand up for your rights?

·         Do you get along better with certain people types or income strata?

·         Can you handle surprises or uncertainty?


It isn’t necessary that you have all these qualities or abilities.  It is necessary that you understand where you excel and where you may need help.  Whether it is you, your spouse, or an employed manager, there are activities that simply cannot be avoided in managing rental properties.


·         Interviewing and selecting of tenants – including turning them down if they aren’t up to your requirements

·         Enforcing your rental and behavior rules

·         Collecting rents when they aren’t on time

·         Fielding complaints from tenants – whether they are valid or not

·         Responding to emergency repair issues – perhaps late at night

·         Doing all of this and more over a period of years


Many of us just seem to gravitate to a certain income strata.  You may do well with higher income tenants renting in more exclusive areas.  Or, on the flip side, you may get highly annoyed by a rich college student making demands on your time.  It could be that blue collar workers with families are just your cup of tea.  It doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is that, if you do lean in one direction or the other, you recognize that fact and invest in areas and properties that will bring you the tenants you’ll enjoy serving.


If some or all of the more people-interactive tasks are not your thing, it doesn’t mean you can’t own rental properties.  You may just need to make purchases that will return on your investment, even if you must hire help on a part or full time basis.  Or you may be able to let your spouse handle some of the tasks.


Learn what you like and do well, and find other solutions for the other requirements. 

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