3 Problems That Trip Up People Self-Managing Rental Property
Adam on Jan 20, 2022
No spoiler alert required: life is full of problems. If you are self-managing a rental property – whether it is a house or apartment – you know that you have more problems than most. Here are three common ones and how to eliminate them.
The best way to deal with all the added stress of managing your own rental home is to acknowledge, understand, and minimize the problems. With that in mind, what follows are what we determined are the three most repeatable problems you might face, with some suggestions for coping with them.
1. High expectations that aren't met
There are two sets of expectations included here: yours, and those of your tenants or residents.
Let’s start with you. It’s important to understand if you are the kind of person who sets unrealistic expectations for yourself, because the consequences of that can create problems of their own.
Indeed, as this article from Psychology Today points out, there are the “perils of perfectionism.” As the author writes, “The failure to embrace our humanity with its joys, sorrows, and imperfections leads to a rigid sense of self that shatters easily when we miss our goals.”
Being a landlord means that you will make mistakes on occasion. The key is learning from them. So don’t get trapped in cycles of self-punishment or you will actually make it more difficult to succeed next time. You might not have responded fast enough to the knock on the furnace, but it wasn’t because you are a bad person or don’t care about your house or your tenant.
And speaking of tenants, it’s important for your emotional well-being and success as a landlord to establish ground rules from the beginning. Let them know, first of all, that they are living in a house you love, and you are committed to keeping it in tip-top shape for your sake and theirs.
Explain that you will be super-responsive to true emergencies, or situations that require immediate attention. But at the same time, you will need to triage, and that they should appreciate that, too. Most people are reasonable and once you set the ground rules – and make it clear that you are not a professional landlord – problems should sort themselves out.
2. Getting hit with the unexpected
When things happen unexpectedly in life, they are far more stressful than things we anticipate and can plan for. This also applies to being a landlord.
For example, you may know that you need to replace your furnace - because your plumber told you that it’s time – so you can get estimates and plan for it, without crushing urgency.
However, if your rental property’s furnace decides to give up the ghost in the middle of the winter, and you have to respond immediately – without the luxury of investigating and researching – well, that’s a high-stress moment. In these situations, if you can't respond immediately, you risk the home being classed as uninhabitable and your tenants could withhold rent.
First, keep things in perspective. Don’t focus on “how disruptive the event is;” instead pause and assess – determine if the situation is as bad as it might seem at first. Then develop a game plan. And of course, work to manage your stress along the way; WebMD has some great advice here.
3. Being let down, often
It happens all the time, sadly, and dealing with it is never an easy emotional journey. But when you are a landlord, relying on multiple people – including your tenant, your contractors, and others in the rental ecosystem – it can happen a great deal.
Perhaps a tenant acted improperly by not respecting your home, but not living up to their side of the bargain. Or perhaps a contractor let you down by not being on time, or delivering shoddy work. It happens and we have to deal with it.
Again, we turn to the experts at Psychology Today. They have some solid advice to share, which includes “allow your feelings.” “Decide if you need to speak up” and “acknowledge your unmet needs.” The latter is deep – is it related to feelings unrelated to the issue at hand? – but worth consideration.
The stress-free alternative to self-managing your rental
These problems are unavoidable when you make the decision to manage your own property, yet completely eliminated if you rent your home with Belong. Belong is the modern property management company that takes on all the major – and minor – pain points of being a landlord. Specific to the challenges raised in this article, Belong establishes and maintains the highest of expectations from both our homeowners and residents, thanks to a unique combination of an end-to-end digital platform, and 24/7 Concierge services. This means that those "out of left field” problems and disappointments can be immediately addressed and solved, and that no one is ever, ever let down.
If you’re interested in learning more about Belong – and how we are transforming the property management business – check out belonghome.com/homeowners.
About the author
Editor in Chief
Adam is a futurist - co-author of "Dictionary of the Future" - brand strategist, public-company board member, former comedy-writer (but he hasn't stopped being vaguely amusing), and an investor in Belong.