You don't always plan to become a landlord.
Sometimes, life just throws you in that direction and you go with it.
That's what happened to me.
I bought my first property in my mid 20s.
A humble abode that seemed ok for the time.
I moved in, made it my own, and life was good.
But as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.”
I fell in love, decided to move out with my girlfriend (who, spoiler alert, is now my lovely wife), and we started renting a different place together (one that we both picked).
And instead of selling my first property (fearing it wouldn't be worth much more than I bought it), I thought, “Why not rent it out?” and so, quite unexpectedly, I became a landlord.
A few years later I ended up buying again, but this time a property together.
So, we had one investment and one place we lived in.
Eventually, we moved cities (deciding to rent there first) and became landlords in the second property as well.
Just like that, we were a couple of kids (well under 35 at least) with two investment properties under our belts.
Being a Landlord Isn't for the Faint of Heart
The thing is, being a landlord isn't as glamourous or easy as it seems.
It's not just sitting back and watching the rent money roll in.
Quite the opposite, actually.
It's worrying about whether your tenants will pay on time, or at all.
It's getting calls about a broken oven or a leaky showerhead that you need to fix, asap.
It's keeping track of maintenance costs, email chains with property managers, and constantly keeping your fingers crossed for steady growth.
And let's not even get started on the unpredictability.
At any moment, your tenants could decide to move out, leaving you with a vacant property and no rental income.
Or they could break something – something expensive – and guess who's footing the bill?
Oh, and all these costs you're shelling out?
Sure, they're tax-deductible, but that doesn't make your bank account any fuller.
There's also the long-term commitment to consider.
Just like any investment, you don't see the payoff immediately.
You're playing the long game, hoping that over time, the property value will increase and make the whole venture worthwhile.
There are silver linings.
Don't get me wrong. It's not all doom and gloom.
There are some ridiculously good moments, like when the property sells above reserve at auction, leaving you exhilarated and relieved.
But here's the most important lesson I learned: it's impossible to know if you will make money until you sell.
So, it's crucial to understand this going in, and not expect immediate or guaranteed returns.
And remember, while property investment can be a viable path to wealth creation, it's not the only path.
After selling my properties and investing in the stock market, I found I appreciated the simplicity and scalability it offered, compared to managing physical properties (and the people involved).
So, take the time to understand your risk tolerance, your financial goals, and the amount of effort you're willing to put into managing your investments.
Investment strategies should be as unique as the individuals pursuing them.
These factors will be key in determining the path that's right for you.
The Tenant's Side of the Coin
Now, let's not forget about the other half of the equation – the tenants.
After all, they're a critical part of your landlord journey.
They're the ones who pay the rent, helping you chip away at that mortgage, or build up some extra cash flow.
It's easy to view tenants as faceless entities who just occupy your property, but remember, they're people too.
They have needs, wants, and demands, just like you do.
They expect timely responses and solutions to their problems.
And as a landlord, it's your responsibility to provide these.
After all, happy tenants mean a steady stream of rental income and fewer vacant periods for your property.
And, just like landlords, tenants come in all shapes and sizes, each with their unique traits, quirks, and yes, even challenges.
Nothing about being a rental provider is every consistent.
We found that out every time a tenant would change.
Some would be quiet and on time while another might have a problem with anything that wasn't brand new.
Knowing how to deal with tenants is an art in itself and requires patience, understanding, and a fair bit of understanding.
Are You Cut Out to Be a Landlord?
The life of a landlord isn't an easy one, but that doesn't mean it isn't rewarding.
I just reckon it's different from what most people expect.
It involves taking on a range of responsibilities, being patient, and learning to deal with people and their myriad needs.
So, if you're considering stepping into the world of property investment and becoming a landlord, here's my final word of advice: Think long and hard about whether you're prepared for the challenges.
There's no shame in realizing that you're not cut out for it.
There are plenty of other investment opportunities out there that could be a better fit for you.
But if you think you've got what it takes to wear the landlord hat and navigate the ups and downs of the property investment journey, then by all means, give it a shot.
It could be a journey that brings you not just financial rewards, but also invaluable lessons in patience, negotiation, and people management.
And who knows?
You might just find that being a landlord suits you just fine.
Things to Consider Before Jumping In
You might be sitting there right now, scratching your head, pondering whether the landlord life is the one for you.
Before you dive head-first into this journey, here are some things you might want to think about:
- First, ask yourself – are you a people person? As a landlord, you'll have to deal with a wide variety of individuals, from tenants and property managers to repair contractors and neighborhood associations. Interpersonal skills are key in this role.
- Second, how well do you handle stress? Owning property isn't always smooth sailing. From unexpected repairs to difficult tenants, these moments can test your patience and resilience.
- Third, consider the financial aspects. Do you have enough savings for unexpected expenses? Are you prepared to go months without rental income if your property stays vacant? Property investment isn't just about raking in the cash; it's also about managing risk and uncertainty.
The Life of a Landlord Unwrapped
There you have it – an insight into the life of a landlord. It's certainly not a role for everyone, but for those who have the patience, people skills, and resilience, it can be a rewarding venture.
Becoming a landlord is more than just buying a property and collecting rent.
It's about creating a comfortable and safe environment for your tenants, juggling multiple responsibilities, and yes, dealing with the occasional headache.
But at the end of the day, when you see your investment growing, providing not only a steady income stream but also a sense of achievement, you might just find that it's all worth it.
Remember, every landlord's journey is unique.
Every property is different.
There's no right or wrong way to do it – only your way.
So, if that's you then be prepared for an exciting ride, and welcome to the landlord life.