How to Reduce Stress as a Landlord
Managing rental properties as a landlord can be a lucrative way to make money, but it can also be extremely stressful. If you’ve ever been in the position of needing to evict a tenant, or if you’ve ever had to juggle multiple property repairs simultaneously, you already know what this is like.
So what steps can you take to reduce stress as a landlord and live a happier life while continuing to generate the income you need?
The Stress of Becoming a Landlord
Being a landlord comes with many responsibilities, regardless of whether you’re treating this as a part-time or full-time gig. You’ll be responsible for finding tenants, keeping up with property repairs, responding to emergency requests, and handling issues like nonpayment of rent and property destruction. Even when everything is going well, you may feel a lingering sense of uncertainty. And sometimes, it feels like all the issues hit at once.
On top of that, not all of your tenants will be agreeable or amicable. You may have to deal with difficult interpersonal situations regularly.
Fortunately, there are some proactive ways you can manage these stressful circumstances.
How to Reduce Stress as a Landlord
These are some of the best strategies for reducing your stress as a landlord:
- Manage your expectations. First, try to manage your expectations. Sometimes, managing rental property is pitched as an easy way to generate free money. But in reality, this is a difficult and sometimes strenuous job. Things are going to go wrong. Tenants are going to move out. Properties are going to break. People are going to complain. Once you understand this, the little things that go wrong won’t seem so powerful.
- Hire a property manager. Consider hiring a property manager. Property management companies are capable of handling almost all the management activities associated with your properties, from finding tenants to fill vacancies to managing move-outs. It will cost you a portion of your gross revenue, but it’s well worth it if it means reducing your effort and stress.
- Screen your tenants carefully. It’s also a good idea to screen your tenants thoroughly. Essentially, this means making sure your tenants are qualified and capable of paying rent on time each month. Sometimes, artificially extending a vacancy in pursuit of a better tenant can make your life easier in the long run.
- Practice proactive maintenance. Don’t wait for something to break. Practice proactive maintenance so you can keep your property in the best possible condition for as long as possible. As a simple example, changing the air filter in your HVAC unit can help you avoid costly repairs down the line.
- Flesh out your property portfolio. If you find yourself stressed about money, consider fleshing out your property portfolio. If you have many different properties in different areas, you’ll be insulated from sudden changes in your income generation. If one of your properties has a vacancy, but you have five other properties generating consistent income, you won’t have to worry as much.
- Keep your records organized. Always keep your records as organized as possible, either with the help of software or with your own personal resources. Come tax time, you’ll have a much easier approach to reporting your income and expenses.
- Build a reliable network of contractors. You won’t stress about repairs as much if you have a standing, reliable network of contractors you can call upon for inexpensive and quick work. It takes time to build this network, especially if you’re new to the world of real estate, but once you have it, you’ll feel much better.
- Automate what you can. Use software to automate whatever you can. It can save you a ton of time and prevent you from forgetting regular responsibilities, like collecting rent from tenants. You can’t automate everything about being a landlord, but you can get surprisingly close.
- Keep your focus on the long term. For most people, managing properties is a long-term financial strategy, so keep your focus on the long term. If you plan on holding this property for 30 years, a single, $1,000 repair doesn’t mean much. But if you’re focused on daily issues or the exclusive context of a single week, it might seem overwhelming.
- Use personal stress management strategies. There are many ways to reduce stress in your life generally. Deep breathing, meditation, journaling, and physical exercise are just a few of them. Make time for yourself and utilize these techniques whenever you feel excessive stress.
Stress never goes away entirely. No matter who you are, what your position is, or how many stress management strategies you implement, stress is going to be a part of your life. All you can do is manage your stress so it remains at a healthy level.