We are reasonably successful and most importantly we are getting to our goal! We have done this by keeping our vacancy rates low and buying the “right” types of homes based on our building blocks. We have a VERY specific business plan and we have done well. While this business can be stressful, I thought I had it all. I manage 11 rentals for us, for family, and friends. I bought 2 more houses, had a deployed husband and worked full time. That is not even mentioning that fact that I had family and other obligations.
So well, that I will be honest, I became full of myself. I thought this was “easy”. Yes landlording was stressful, but compared to the rest of life’s requirements, heck my FULL time job, it was easy. I will be honest, when I read the stories about the property managers “mistakes” I was the first one to jump on the bandwagon at least in my head, if not in public.
Then I ate humble pie and BOY have I eaten it!
Humble Pie Slice One
I volunteered to help my BEST friend at our current location with her house. It was no big deal. I had just finished placing 4 other rentals so what was one more? Yeah!! The humble pie just got started. This house wasn’t one of my normal ones. It was larger, had a higher rate and the schools weren’t the same. We overpriced the house, it sat empty and there will be a vacancy. The issue is that pricing is SO hard based on who is looking and the right time and place. Yes in theory it could have worked out great but…. it didn’t. For someone who called herself a professional, I stumbled and fell.
Humble Pie Slice Two
I also got so overwhelmed with everything else I was doing that I have dropped the ball on finding a handyman for another house. Yes, it is not a critical repair so no big deal , but the tenant has waited weeks for their request. Not a big deal but for someone who prides herself on being punctual, it was a fail!
Humble Pie Slice Three
I had talked with a client about my husband coming home from a 10 month deployment and my brother graduating from his Masters program around the time of their scheduled move in. Did I go ahead and arrange the move in all ahead of time like I usually do? Nope. The day before the move in I was still trying to nail down a time. There was a small mix up and for the FIRST time ever I had a tenant tell me that I was hard to get a hold of and non responsive.
STAB IN THE CHEST! – For Someone who prides herself on her customer service/manager ability!
Humble Pie Slice Four
On my first cross country trip back to show houses I booked the tickets for the wrong weekend. I didn’t even realize it till I drove 4 hours to the airport and the counter lady told me! I then had to reschedule everything with the interested tenants AND with the move in move out! Boy was it a doozy!!!
Here’s the thing!
In all of those situations a tenant who didn’t know me would think I was a total, horrible, airhead property manager. No one would know that I had two break leases, or that it was the second weekend in a row I did a red eye across country because my 92 year old grandmother wasn’t doing well and I needed to make Easter last minute. No one knows EVERYTHING going on in the background. Humble pie 3 didn’t notice the fact that I stayed up all night to get her qualified because of time zone reasons. They only notice the one time in THEIR case that I stumbled.
So Please Be CAREFUL before you judge a landlord or property manager
It is is more important to share those who you like rather than dislike. While the dislike is important, then you need to tell the exact story!! I have had to lower rent, had vacancies and things have come up. What I didn’t realize before this was I just compensated and figured it out. When I wasn’t working with a 3rd party it wasn’t noticeable.
So before you criticize a property manager please walk a mile in their shoes. While I still agree there are some bad apples, there are so MANY more great ones! We ALL make mistakes. Certainly don’t let one mistake be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and you walk away from landlording! At the same time don’t let one BAD experience be the reason why you openly tarnish a property managers reputation unless it was a deliberate mistake. Trust me, while all of those, are MY party fouls I can give you even more where it was a bad place bad time!! That not only did I not catch it but seriously, no one would have been able to prevent it.
Yes being a landlord/property manager can be an AMAZING financial experience. At the same time there are RISKS!!! So before you pass judgement think was that the property manager’s fault or was it just life?! No one would have blamed the recession on ONE stock market adviser. Make sure you aren’t doing the same.
What is your experience hiring property managers?
How do you do three day pay or quit when you manage your own places long distance?
Elizabeth Bennett Colegrove says
I haven’t had to do that yet. If that times ever comes I will pay our lawyer to do it if I have too! So far strong letters, and holding peoples feet to the fire fro mday one has helped mitigate that issue.