Landlords belong to the original work from home members club –– especially those who live in a shared multi-unit property or within a small community alongside their tenants. It’s the type of real estate investment that should be a leisurely endeavor, right? However, any experienced landlord will tell you it’s often exactly the opposite.
Working from home can be relaxing for some, yet for landlords, the experience is often much more like never leaving work. Instead, property owners must work twice as hard to successfully achieve work-life balance.
Whether you’re a new landlord who’s still learning the ropes or a seasoned real estate investor who has been in the game for years, these four proven work-life balance strategies can transform how you approach how you manage it all.
Prepare for productivity
Working from home can be a challenge because a home environment is loaded with distractions. Household responsibilities can easily pull you away from your desk. Homes are designed for fluid living, while lighting and layout are intended for personal endeavors, not necessarily working at a desk.
If you plan to manage your properties from home, design your home office space for productivity. Create an ergonomic, streamlined environment with minimal distractions, one where you can welcome tenants and focus on the operational tasks at hand.
Set clear expectations
Where there’s no clarity, there’s conflict. Creating clear expectations–– for yourself and others––is a key leadership trait, and this is particularly true for landlords.
Owning and managing properties is a far cry from a 9-to-5 job. Unless you hire a property management company to handle the daily issues that spring up, things break at all hours, tenants call with complaints about noisy neighbors, and problems can be particularly acute if you share a multi-unit property with your tenants when they come knocking on your door in the middle of the night.
To maintain some semblance of work-life balance, set clear expectations concerning your availability, and provide tenants with alternatives outside of office hours. That can include including an emergency line tenants can call during off-hours, or hiring a property management group to handle maintenance and provide 24/7 support. A property manager on the front lines will limit your back-of-house operations and make everything much more manageable with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
Get to know, and trust, your tenants
Seasoned property managers know there are plenty of unpredictable emergencies that can fall into a landlord’s lap. For instance, some tenants are easier to work with than others. That’s why it’s critical to screen tenants carefully and work to cultivate positive relationships.
Respectful tenants who take good care of your property still have emergencies, but they’ll take up a lot less of your time with frivolous complaints. This alone will enable you to get back to business and tackle your daily life with fewer headaches.
Create comfortable distance
Real estate experts recommend that landlords avoid sharing multi-unit properties with their tenants, or living too close. When you create the physical distance, you also develop cognitive distance between you and your tenants.
While it’s not always ideal or convenient, you can still work from home a majority of the time and set occasional on-site office hours. Landlords who reside on an offsite property are more likely to regain control of their personal time by avoiding the likelihood that tenants will come calling at all hours.
Become a successful landlord
Being a landlord and property ownership, in general, will always be associated with some levels of stress and require a substantial time commitment. However, it doesn’t have to take over your entire life. With the right partners, systems, and processes in place, you can make your role as a landlord more pleasant and hassle-free.
Set clear boundaries that foster the type of work-life balance you need when you work from home. Outside of the office, you deserve to kick back and relax. It’s good for your mental health and your productivity.
Craig Lebrau is the CMO of Media Insider, a Wyoming-based PR company that aims to disrupt the way companies communicate their brand in the digital era.
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