Posted about 1 year ago

Why I'm a Zagger, and should you be too?

zag - er ] :  one who zags, particularly when others zig, as in, "The group followed GPS but because Soleil was a zagger, she found a different way to get home."

I love BP.  And I love books.  And I love listening to experienced investors speak at meetups.  There's a seemingly infinite number of ways to get information, and we're all better off because of it.  

But are we?   

Yeah. BUT.

You've heard this: amidst all the info-noise, it's hard to figure out what's what.  To have time for it all.  To just hear yourself think.  

Sometimes it's just easier to follow the directions on the label/website/podcast--i.e. to zig. But the last time I zigged, I realized the hard way that what I really should have done was zag.  

Long story short: based on some advice I asked for and then received here on BP, and after 5 years as a DIY landlady, I hired a property manager.  This is someone I know and like and trust.  But it didn't work out.  

To be honest, I got fired by my property manager.  It.  Felt.  Terrible.  Like I was a failure as a member of a socially-dependent species.  I was pretty hard on myself for a good 2 days. 

To be fair, I did have legitimate concerns about the management and they probably could/should have done some things differently, AND I'm particular and incredibly detail-oriented and you can take the gal out of NY but you can't take the NY out of the gal so sometimes the way I communicate is a little too direct for West Coasties.

But that experience taught me something:  I should probably manage my own properties.  A couple people said it on that thread on BP: no one will take care of your property as well as you will.  

That doesn't make me a bad businessperson.  Yeah I'm working "in" the business versus "on" the business, but right now I'm not trying to send out mass mailers or score an off-market deal or flip houses etc.  I'm just a person with 5 rental units, and maybe I'll get more down the road but for now, I'm OK.  I don't have to buy "18 units in 12 months" or make "50k on a first flip."  I like to garden, manage my rentals, add PEX water lines, and pull Romex to new circuits in whatever house I happen to be working on at the time.  And?

I also like to design spaces.  ( ← If you know any architects, now you know why I was fired by my PM.  The same traits that make a good designer (and that make a good developer) can also make a difficult client of all but the most diligent of property managers.)

If all this makes me a zagger in a land of ziggers, so be it.  It's OK to zag.  Have you been secretly guilting yourself for zagging when everything seems to say "zig?"   Sometimes the best advice comes from yourself.