Stress from property management causing nightmares

31 Replies

I started managing my own properties (with a handyman's help) because the management companies I first hired were terrible. Plus I could use the extra money. The problem is now I sleep poorly. I often wake up with dreams of confrontations with my tenants. Is there anyway to get over this stress somehow? I really don't mind the work, and I don't feel stressed, but it's clearly affecting my subconscious/my sleep. Any suggestions?

@Matt

Sorry your having "nightmares" about your tenants! I would suggest interviewing and finding a Great PM or purchase PM software, this will allow your tenants to submit any work orders directly online without calling you direct. This way you can just forward the request to your handyman and avoid any confrontations.

Also next time you rent one of your units you can pretend your the PM and blame everything on the owner. Ha

Good luck!

If it is eating you up you might consider going to a property management company. Another possibility is go to your local cancer hospital or children's hospital and volunteer some time. It is sometimes easy to think we have it bad when the truth is our lives are wonderful and amazing, we just won't let ourselves see it.

what are some of the issues you are dealing with. I am sure you can gain valuable insight here by posting a statement a tenant makes and how to handle that. I have had apartments for 35 years, I think I heard most of the lines out there .

Regardless of whether you hire a property management company or not, the key is is systems and policies. First, never tell your tenants you are the owner, just the manager. That way you can blame the "owner." And if you have set policies, there's nothing to argue over because you just appeal to the policy, I.e. rent is due on the 5th and I start an eviction on the 15th. I cant change it, its the policy. Or only payment plan, or no guests over 10 days etc. Thats the best way to set up and frame it in discussions with tenants when there is a point of contention.

Account Closed

@Matt Liu

Property management Whisperer ...Welcome to land lording. Its the reason almost half the foreclosure in the US are from Land lords that failed.

Not everyone is cut out for it.. Property management unless on a grand scale is a low income tough as nails job.. So be kind to your PM when you get around to hiring one.

Hey Matt,

Now you know why I never do PM work. Lot's of drama and low pay. It's amazing the abuse PM's put up with for the low pay they get. I am on the commercial side and still do not do PM work. It's more professional as you are dealing with businesses during mainly weekday hours so that part is a plus and the management fees are larger. I stick to transacting commercial deals for clients and my own investments. I do not have any agent just me the head broker. I looked at my life years ago and said to myself " How can I get what I want in income but at the same time not have a lot of drama to go with it?" I charted that out and set course for the promised land.

I did have a PM on a 20 unit I had and did some things myself. Learned a ton on that one and it can be constant stress if you do not have the size and scale to offload things onto other people you can trust to be competent and not take your investment under.

When I had the 20 unit I found there was always something to do. You have to make time for yourself and turn it off to de-stress. If you do not do things for yourself it will take more and more away from you until you have nothing left of yourself but a shell.

My next investment will be commercial or a large multifamily where I buy rents at 50% market range or lower so turnover is non-existent and cap is very strong going in. The scale will be big enough where a handyman is full time and so is the PM company and they will also have emergency personnel to handle things so that I do not have to step in.

This post has been removed.

Hey Matt,

I think everyone shared great advice with you here, but I don't think you should automatically assume that the nightmares mean you're not cut out for it at all.

What is your honest self assessment of your weakest area in land lording? Whenever I've had the nightmare property management experiences, it was due to some overlooked area in my screening process and pre-rental property preparation.

What types of properties are you managing, low, mid, high income? Although I don't know what exactly you're dealing with, I'm going to recommend a book to you that can help anybody out. Check out The Section 8 Bible on Amazon. It will show you how to "eliminate" most of the problematic items in any rent house, and will help you sleep better at night.

I own Section 8, and I find it to be the easiest property class to manage not because I was born tough or savvy. Although I only stand 5'6" and still look like a teenager at 31, I've bumped my nose, failed fast, and gone through the real estate school of hard knocks like any successful investor.

Don't give up when you've come this far though. There is a way, but as Robert Kiyosaki says, you're not going to solve the problem with the same mind that created it in the first place. You did well to reach out to your peers here.

Mike Gennaro

I'll admit that the quality of my sleep went way down when we started investing. I would often be up ALL night long. It did settle down, thank God!

My issue was my brain racing with ideas. Settled down with experience.

This post has been removed.

This post has been removed.

This post has been removed.

@Dawn Anastasi

Its a sad comment that you could not tell your tenant your the owner.. I think this goes to how precarious Low end rentals are.. With my A class rentals I have my tenants over for BBQ's how many of you mid west folks would invite your tenants over to your personal residence ??? I submit very few.

Low end rentals are just plain tough , I have owned hundreds of them so no one can sugar coat it for me, Like its the owners fault that things are not going right you must not be reading BP and learning all there is to know.

Now if I am off base here and you have your tenants over for dinner or BBQ I stand corrected

I would hire a property manager, of which I have six. I used to run a property management company so I know how to do it. But it comes down to this, if I were to be "gone" tomorrow, would I want my wife/children to have to deal with tenants? Shoot NO! If I die in my sleep tonight, everything goes on just the same, my family's income does not drop and they don't have to do anything except deposit checks from PMs.

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :
Its a sad comment that you could not tell your tenant your the owner.. I think this goes to how precarious Low end rentals are.. With my A class rentals I have my tenants over for BBQ's how many of you mid west folks would invite your tenants over to your personal residence ??? I submit very few.

Low end rentals are just plain tough , I have owned hundreds of them so no one can sugar coat it for me, Like its the owners fault that things are not going right you must not be reading BP and learning all there is to know.

Now if I am off base here and you have your tenants over for dinner or BBQ I stand corrected

I have not had my tenants over for dinner or a BBQ as I'm not their friend, I'm their landlord. I feel I need to draw a line between being "friendly" and being "friends". But yes, some of my tenants have been to my house.

@Dawn Anastasi

cool glad your an equal opportunity land lord.

I give all my tenants a Turkey on thanksgiving and a ham on Christmas and have them all over for a blow out.. You should see it.. Nothing like our tenant base coming to free food and drinks :)

@Dawn Anastasi

I just remember my time times in Milwaukee.. Being from the WEst coast were we have no ethic division or anything else ethnic at the time I went Cupertino High School you may have heard of Cupertino ( now home of Apple and a bunch of rich engineers and average home price of well over 1 million) but anyways we had NO ethnic diversification 2k student population we had 2 African Americans. A few Hispanics maybe 10 Chinese,, a few Japanese ( my best friend was Japanese) then I would go to your fair town and I learned about segregation on steroids. Now this is probably before you were born.. My grandma worked downtown at the version of Nordstrom in the day. And of course she did not drive.. And my Grandpa would not let her take the bus ( which she usually did) they lived in Wauwatosa... My cousins lived in Brookfield and one lived on Pewaukee lake...

My point is they were german, and you had the Polish neighborhood the Italian the Black the etc etc and as a nieve kid from Cupertino I did not even know what a Jew was ...

So my point and I am sure your wondering Is when TK operators pitch mid west properties to CA investors Most CA investors have no clue as to what its like there and how the neighborhoods are segregatged between ethinic and racial lines. We just do not have that here ...

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :
So my point and I am sure your wondering Is when TK operators pitch mid west properties to CA investors Most CA investors have no clue as to what its like there and how the neighborhoods are segregatged between ethinic and racial lines. We just do not have that here ...

I don't know if you think I am a turn-key provider, but I'd like to set the record straight that I am not. I have had someone from out of state invest with me, but he has come to the city and been inside the properties he's invested in so he's seen them with his own eyes (one had tenants at the time and he saw how nice they kept the place).

I have also had investors from AZ and VA see my properties and I am showing someone from Canada my properties and properties in the area this weekend. I am the real deal -- I would not recommend anyone buy a property that I would not put my own money into. In fact I have recently recommended a property to someone else that I'm half kicking myself for not buying myself and half thankful that this person got it.

Now, if someone from out of state didn't want to invest here because they didn't want someone of color or of a different religion living in the properties, I would have issue with that and would not want to work with them, no matter how much money they offered me.

@Dawn Anastasi

No I am sure your not TK provider because I have never heard of you or your company and since I have funded a good many turn key guys in my day I usually have pretty good pulse on that. And Milwaukee to my knowledge is not a turn key market per se.. Not like Chicago, Memphis , Indy, Atlanta , Charlotte, Orlando, Jackson, KC, St Luis, Detroit, Etc etc.. Of which I have loaned in each of those cities and some I have done hundreds of loans.. I was the largest Hard money lender in MS for many years.

But when you have posted some of your deals I am thinking Milwaukee is ripe and wide open for a turn key play..

I mean the city has a great story,,, Beer, brats.. Harley Davidson,, the Summer fare on the lake.. great colleges Marquette etc etc. And of course Cheese.. My grandfather had a cottage upon lake Poygen ( Winniconne) I spent my summers there in the 60s again probably before your time.

Corkage there was to bring a six pack in so you did not have to pay restaurant rates for a can of beer LOL

Keep up the good work

Not sure how to help unless you have any specific fears. If it makes you feel better try the tactic of only being the property manager and reporting to the owner (aka you). Some say its lying, but it's a common psychological tactic used in many facets of life. I don't see it as lying nor do I care. Saying I'm the property manager just makes life easier.

I manage all my rentals and had the same problem. My most current strategy is using a middle man like my dad who is 75. Also I find that having an assistant also helps. My first assistant was part time but she found a full time job so Im looking for another one.

Right now, I have 17 rentals have not met 16 of my tenants (two of my boys rent the other one and they are the BEST tenants I have.) Of my 17 rental properties, I have only physically seen 3 of them. I didn't invest in Real Estate to create a JOB for me, such as property manager or handyman. I didn't invest in Real Estate so I could be a tour guide and drive family/friends by the properties I own and brag about it. I didn't invest in Real Estate for it to be a hobby of mine and to make new friends to invite over for a BBQ. I invested in Real Estate for one thing, and one thing only, TO MAKE MONEY. I pay a guy $70.00 a month to mow, edge and landscape my rental. If I drove out there to do it, I would spend 2 hours a week or about 9 hours a month. Is my time worth $7.77 an hour? That is below minimum wage here in CA. The rental is about 25 miles from me, and my truck gets 13 MPG. So I would spend about $15.38 in gas for each trip. So I would SAVE $15.54 and spend $15.38 to do it. Does that make any sense?

If you own one or two rentals, maybe you need to manage them to understand what you want from a PM, but as some point, your time is better spent on other things, such as vacations (Russia last year, Alaska the year before for us), helping the less fortunate, and other endeavors.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here