When you first got involved in real estate investing, you probably did so a bit naively – most of us do. We say we know what we’re getting into, but we aren’t aware of what it takes on a day-in and day-out basis until we’re thrown into the fire for the first time.
One thing that you probably weren’t aware of was just how much time it takes to manage a rental property. Sure, the return on your money might be enormously positive, but the drain on your time is equally as powerful.
In order to enjoy the financial benefits of owning rental properties for years to come, you must find a way to better manage your time and enjoy greater work-life balance.
8 Tips for Reducing Your Time Commitment
Burnout is alarmingly common among landlords. Most people start with optimism and excitement, but it’s easy for this energy to dissipate as problems emerge, schedules fill up, and tasks become repetitive.
If you want to lower your risk of burnout and maximize your cash flow, you need to find ways to curb your time commitment so that you can spend more of your week doing the things you love.
Your time is your most precious and limited resource. So in light of this, let’s explore some of the practical ways you can reduce your time commitment and spend more time relaxing with your friends and family.
1. Create Specific Rental Listings
You might think you’re doing yourself a favor by creating rental listings that are purposefully vague, but you’re doing yourself a disservice. Sure, you’re creating touchpoints with more leads, but you’re also wasting time with people who ultimately won’t be interested or able to rent your property.
Be as specific in the listing as possible. This means including every relevant detail about price, rooms, square footage, location, rules (such as pet policies), and length of the lease agreement. Thus, when a lead does contact you, you’ll know they’re fairly serious.
2. Prequalify Renters Over the Phone
Another big time-waster is showing your property to unqualified applicants. Just because someone wants to see your property, doesn’t mean you should show it to them.
You’ll save yourself a lot of time by pre-qualifying potential renters on the phone. Ask them a handful of questions about income, timeframe, and specific needs. (Keep these questions consistent for every caller to avoid any allegations of discrimination.) If they fit your criteria and are still interested, then you can set up an appointment.
3. Answer Your Phone and Confront the Problem
When one of your tenants calls, don’t let it ring and go to voicemail (unless you have to). This only increases the amount of energy you use to solve the issue they’re calling with. By the time you check the voicemail and play phone tag, it could be hours or days until the problem is dealt with.
4. Invest in Quality Appliances
In a low-to-middle income rental house, you’ll be tempted to install very basic appliances – but perhaps you should think twice. Basic appliances do require a lower upfront investment than nicer models, but they also tend to have more maintenance issues. This drives up the cost of ownership and requires more of your time.
By initially investing in quality appliances, you save the time that it takes to schedule and oversee maintenance issues. You’ll also keep your tenants happier, which reduces turnover and encourages stability.
5. Automate Rent Collection and Processing
For most landlords, the first week of the month is a busy one. It’s spent collecting and processing rent checks. And if you’re unlucky, you’ll also have to chase down one or two late payments. But what if there were a way to streamline these processes?
The best thing you can do is automate rent collection and processing through some sort of online payment portal. By requiring your tenants to sign up for automatic drafts, you lessen the likelihood of late payment and make processing a much smoother procedure.
6. Stop Trying to be Perfect
In search of greater work-life balance, you have to give up on the pursuit of perfectionism. Early on in your career you may think it’s possible, but surely you’ve learned that it’s nothing but an elusive dream.
When you yield to the notion that you can be perfect, you learn to embrace the reality of certain situations and step back when there’s no sense in pushing forward. It’ll feel freeing in more ways than one.
7. Conduct a Pre-Move Inspection
At the end of a lease agreement, nothing is more time-consuming than going back and forth with a tenant about their security deposit (particularly if you’ve decided to keep some/all of it to address damage.) To save time, you can conduct a pre-move construction.
“Offer to walk through the property with the tenant about a month before the actual move-out and point out what specifically has to happen for the tenant to get the full security deposit back,” LandlordTalking.com suggests. “Don’t threaten to take deductions from the security deposit, or this walk-through will have the opposite affect.”
8. Hire a Property Management Company
If you’re trying to handle everything on your own, you’re eventually going to reach the end of your rope. The smartest thing a landlord can do is hire a professional property management company to do the heavy lifting.
A property management company can handle as few or many of your responsibilities as you’d like. From tenant acquisition tasks like listing optimization and screening to the ongoing issues you deal with on a month to month basis, a good property manager will save you time, money, and sanity.
Let Green Residential Help You
Until you’ve had a property manager on your side – taking care of everything from rent collection to maintenance coordination – you don’t realize how much time you’re wasting on mundane tasks and responsibilities. When you work with Green Residential, we take these items off your to-do list and give you the opportunity to enjoy more free time. Contact us today for a free property analysis!