Should I meet my tenants?

9 Replies

I own a rental property in a town 3,000+ miles from where I live.  I have never seen it in person and obviously have not met the tenants in person.  In a few weeks I will be in town visiting family.  Should I go introduce myself to the tenants?  

I have been mostly self-managing so I have talked to them several times to schedule maintenance and contractors and they are very nice.  

Here's my thought:

I don't want to meet them.  I think can make more rational decisions, ie. "stick to the lease agreement" type decisions, business decisions if I don't.  Meaning it would be much easier to evict a tenant for not paying rent if I didn't meet her adorable 5yr old boy (as an example)..

Curious to hear other's opinions on this!  

I think you're doing a disservice to your rental to not visit occasionally for inspections. If you do not, how do you truly know what kind of shape it is in? You can only trust your boots on the ground so much.

If you are self-managing, I can't imagine how you would *not* meet your tenants. If you fear that you would be sucked in by sentimentality, you should use a property manager. Someone should have some familiarity with who is in your property. 

I would visit. I'd also give whatever minimum amount of notice you have in your lease (or state/local rules allow). If they know you're across the country, they probably aren't worried about drop ins. Plant the seed that they never know when you might be around. 

don't bother meeting them 

and don't bother checking on the property 

you need a ground team for backup FOR SURE, but a great business can run without you so focus your effort on automating and building teams. Don't design it around you being involved 

If you have never seen it in person I would at least want to inspect it myself first hand, both inside and out

The key is treating it like a business..... you are inspecting your asset and its current condition. You are not there to make friends and build relationships. If you cant do that, then I would only do a drive by inspection etc

So you bought a rental property 3000 miles away, have never seen it and self manage? Wow....you got guts

I have a loosely defined "ground-team".  I am using an agent to help me coordinate maintenance/contractors and have found a reliable maintenance person whom I trust.  Also my parents live there and have been to the property.  I'm not totally in this alone from 3000 miles away!  That being said, I'm way more involved than I would be if I just hired a property management company.  

Definitely would like to hire a property management company for the long-run but I haven't found a good one yet.

@Amy Engelhard If your self managing I don’t know how you can check on the property without meeting the tenants . This is a very poor business practice . You must have no idea what is happening in that house ! Try that in a c or d class neighborhood too long and you’d find you own a burned out crack house with two foot of water in the basement

Here is how it is done. "Hi, I am …….. I am here to catch up on some maintenance items...."   I am just the maintenance man. I work for owner.", tell them you will direct any questions they have to the owner and will get back to them with the answers. "Oh, I am sorry. I thought you were given notice that I was coming by"...….. I will leave the rest to your imagination. 

That's how you spot that black lab out back. That's how you find out about cousin Jimbob who lost his job and is staying in the spare bedroom. 

This is how it is done. It's about financial survival. We invest to get ahead, not to clean up after dirt bags. If they stink. get them out!

Homes in the Hood