When most people think of landlords, they typically have one of two visions. The first is of a successful businessman who owns hundreds of properties in the city and manages them all from a corner office suite in a downtown high-rise. The second is of a little old lady who lives by herself and rents out the bottom floor of her house to college students.
But if this is your idea of who landlords are, you’re sorely mistaken. Landlords come in all shapes and sizes – and many of the most successful ones are just like you. They’re married with young children and are simply looking for smart ways to invest their money and enjoy a healthy return.
Despite this fact, it’s easy to feel as if your role as a parent disqualifies you from being a landlord. Or, if nothing else, you’re too busy and distracted to be successful managing investment properties. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Landlording is actually the perfect job for a parent. It allows for freedom, flexibility, and control. You don’t have to spend 40 or 50 hours in an office working for a boss who tells you when you can come and go. Instead, you have the freedom to set your schedule, grow your income, and teach your children valuable life lessons they can apply both in their personal and professional lives.
5 Landlording Tips for Parents
Landlording with children is challenging – so you’ll need a plan. You may need to tweak these suggestions according to the stage of life your children are in, but here are some tips that will hopefully allow you to be more successful.
1. Explain What You Do
How many times have you tried to start a conversation with a child and asked them what their parents do for a living, only to have them look at you confused? It’s discouraging to see this sort of disconnect between parent and child.
Children don’t need to understand every intricate detail of what their parents do, but your kids should have a basic idea. Not only is this practical, but it’s also helpful. It allows them to understand the “why” behind your work. In other words, it puts your job into perspective so they view it as something that adds value to the family, not just something that’s competing for their attention.
Explain your job as providing a place to live for people who need safe, comfortable homes in the community. In the early years, this is the best approach. As they get older, you can begin to discuss the financial aspect of it.
2. Wake Up Before Your Kids
Parents often complain they don’t have any time to get stuff done when they’re home with the kids all day. While this can feel true at times, it’s a bit of an exaggeration. You might not like the way your schedule works out, but there are little chunks of time where you can tackle the items on your to-do list.
The best rule of thumb is to wake up an hour before your kids do. You’ll get more done during this hour of solitude than you will in three or four hours with your kids. And even if it isn’t highly productive in a work sense, it’ll allow you to frame your mind for the day. Try it for a month and see how it works. You’ll like the results.
3. Unplug in the Evenings
The problem with being a landlord is that you’re always on call. But in order to establish a little work-life balance, make it a point to unplug during the evenings. Turn off your phone, log out of your email account, and make evenings at home about family time. Once the kids go to bed, you can reconnect and catch up on anything you might have missed during your temporary time off the grid.
4. Involve Them in Age-Appropriate Tasks
As your kids move out of the toddler phase and begin to understand some things, you should start to involve them in age-appropriate tasks as they relate to your real estate duties. Examples include:
- Have your 5-year-old drive around town with you as you look for potential investment properties. Explain what you’re looking for and ask them to help.
- Get your 9-year-old to come with you to the home improvement store to select paint colors or choose hardware for a kitchen renovation you’re completing in one of your rentals.
- Ask your 15-year-old to help you organize real estate documents and handle some of the monthly accounting for different properties.
These are just a few basic examples. As you can see, there are age-appropriate tasks for every child. By involving them in your job, you’re doing two things. First, you’re making them feel important and getting them excited about what you do. Second, you’re teaching them valuable skills.
5. Prepare Them for a Future in the Business
You never want to pressure kids into following in your footsteps. They should be able to make their own decisions as far as what career or profession they want to pursue. However, you will find that many kids want to follow their parents.
If you find that you have a child who is really interested in real estate investing and landlording, start to give them some responsibilities as they age. They’ll mess up here and there, but giving a child the freedom to make mistakes under your protection and guidance is the best gift you can provide.
Houston Property Management
Don’t let this article fool you into thinking that landlording with kids is easy – that’s not the intention. Instead, it should show you that it’s possible to be both a responsible parent and successful landlord at the same time. You’ll need some help, though.
At Green Residential, we serve Houston-area landlords by offering proactive and dynamic property management services that are reliable, cost-effective, and comprehensive. If you’re interested in learning more, we’d love to speak with you today!