How do you handle the stress?

60 Replies

The latest one for me is my rehab contractor disappearing for 5 days.  He finally returned my calls today and said a family member out of state had tree fall on their roof.  He went to help fix it.

But I find I stress out about all sorts of things--evictions, tenant repair issues, going over budget, borrowing money, and on and on.

What stresses you and how do you deal with it?  Fortunately, for me, my wife wants to hear about it and talks some sense into me.

Have a penalty clause in your contract that deducts from their fee for every day they don't meet the deadline.

But to answer your question, double shots of bourbon. Just kidding, that's only occasional. Exercise is the best medicine.

Hi Larry,

I decided WHAT KIND of life I wanted and started working to create it.

In other words I used to just think about making the most money. Over time you learn how you want to live.

My definition is not anything that's a headache and more passive. So I can buy commercial properties with management and not deal with issues constantly with national credit tenants. Downside is high cost to capital to get started.

The rehab contractor is a poor excuse. A solid contractor would tell you that info UPFRONT instead of having to chase them and pull it out of them. A bigger red flag is it seems they deem your business unimportant to not share that information with you. A simple 30 second phone call on day 1 or before is all it would take to let you know. A tree on the roof can be taken off in a matter of hours with the proper tools. There are companies for weather claims that come out right then to land the business.

I am not buying what you have said their excuse is.

For stress relief I take martial arts and also 4 mile walks with the wife by the park and lake.    

I'm with @Joel Owens  I would be looking for a new contractor. As far as stress goes money is normally the thing that I worry about. However me worrying does absolutely nothing to help it. I used to restore motorcycles to help with the stress now I play tennis. Wife didn't like the bikes and after 2 motorcycle wrecks I could no longer claim that they were "safe". 

Ryan Dossey, Real Estate Agent in IN (#RB15001099)

It seems to me that most stress boils down the fear of the unknown. And every experience is a lesson in "This too shall pass".

I decided to take a contractor to small claims court the other day. Not because I think I will get my money (even though he admits he owes me the money) but because I wanted  my first court experience to remove the fear of the unknown.

It's all good my friend.

Larry T,

When I lived and renovated houses in the Denver Metro area, my crew would get the Ski Flu when we had a good snow fall in the mountains.  Sometimes its a price of doing business in an area like that.  I knew 3-4 times a year that my crew would disappear for a day or two.  Of course, I would always ask potential employees if they skied or snowboarded.

Mark

I can relate with become stressed easily.  It seems like every deal we do comes with some catch.  I run, exercise, take a walk with my 2 year old daughter who cracks me up.  Basically just get your mind off RE for a few hours and do something you like!

"Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it never gets you anywhere."

-Erma Bombeck (smart lady)

What people need to know about STRESS is to set realistic expectations.

There is no such thing as no stress. You heard it here folks.

If you do not have money you worry about getting it. If you have lots of it you worry about the government taxing you and taking it all for redistribution " robin hood theory ".

If you have the money and the tax situation taken care of you worry about friends, family, your own mortality etc. Many people that have no money believe once they get it all the stress in their lives will go away and they will no longer have problems. It's just simply not true. Having money can help you to do more things in your life that you want which helps to make you happier. I have seen money destroy people also that cannot handle money well as it changes them in a bad way.

The point I am making is stress never goes away just mutates into something else based on where you are in your lifespan and success level.

NOW you can choose to deal with that stress in a positive way or a destructive way. That is something you have a choice over in your life.

A positive way is exercising, having healthy hobbies etc.

Destructive is addictive type problems like over eating, drinking, smoking, social disorders, doing drugs, compulsive gambling, infidelity etc. Taking pills in this country is a huge problem as people are masking the pain and not getting to the root of the issue because they do not want to face it.

A good rule of thumb I follow is 2 principals.

1.Pick you battles with your spouse or sig. other. If it's a small issue you are not that passionate about and you will not remember it 1 day or 1 week from now let it go. It might be more important to them and you giving in might help in the future when you have an important issue you want to stand your ground on. Pick a time and a place to talk about issues with money, life, etc. Then after the time is up drop it and save for the next time. If you constantly talk about problems you will have a problem relationship.

2. Think of HALT ( Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired). If you are feeling one or more of these then it is NOT the right time to be discussing and working through issues. All that will happen is a blow up with noise and nothing will be accomplished. It could actually make things worse as things are said that are hard to take back. I think about this when my wife wants to talk about things. If my business is busy or I am covered up etc. I will say let's discuss it later when we can dedicate the proper time to come up with a solution.

@Mark Creason  

  In Oregon its the Hunting Flu  first Deer then Elk.. half the state shuts down.

One of my GC's was gone last week another is gone this week... And both will be gone end of Oct or Elk... Elk is only a 5 day season here so as stated things just shut down... Just have to go with the flow.. On the flip side our subs work in the rain year around.

@Larry T.  

There is nothing passive about being the RE business if it is not one thing its another.. No matter the asset class.. some are easier ( like Joel says NNN national tenants ) .

But what most BP ers are doing which is the buy and hold rental game and or flipping one quickly finds out there is a lot more to it.. and its hard work and a lot of it.

Also with REhab contractors on the lower end stuff if you trying to get the cheapest prices your going to deal with these issues... In our new home construction the subs do one job. The subs get paid once a month  their draw needs to by to my accounting dept on the 1st get paid on the 10th.. if they are one day late they get paid next month.. Try to get the average rehab contractor on that pay schedule ... Also we NEVER pay for anything in advance.. but in the rehab of rental game its pretty common to have to front money to the the rehabber to get started .. these guys just don't have a lot of capital to work with and are really week to week or month to month at best.

Thanks everybody.

@Joel Owens  It's true that you have stress no matter what.  And @Mark Del Grosso  you are right about the unknown.

I also stress about the known.  I've done enough rehabs and rentals.  I just get stressed easily.  Some of it is from having too many things to do.  I work full time, have a wonderful wife and two great kids that I want to spend time with, I serve at my church in a couple of different capacities, and I'm growing my RE business.  I'm learning to offload more and more of it.  Exercise does help, too.  But I just find I have a fairly low threshold for feeling stressed.  It's a real part of the business.  Sometimes I love it and am super excited, and other times I'm overwhelmed.

First, I gather and identify all known risks.  Brainstorm with others, it helps.  Then, decide how to deal with them.  Be proactive, not reactive.  Example:

Risk#1: My equity holding business partner dies. 

Mitigation Effort: Schedule time to setup a Trust and review LLC Operating Agreement

Risk#2: ANY DOG bite on one of my properties will result in a law suit. 

Mitigation Effort: Do NOT rent to the 9 aggressive dog breeds.  Charge more for Pets to offset potential losses.  Consider umbrella insurance policy.

Risk#3: Unsure what will happen in the event of a fire.

Mitigation Effort: Schedule consultation with insurance company.  Schedule reoccurring annual reviews.

I keep a spreadsheet and add to it whenever I have trouble sleeping.  It has four columns;

  • Description of Risk,
  • Probability (High, Medium, Low) ,
  • Impact (High, Medium, Low), and
  • Action to Prevent/Mitigate Risk.
Originally posted by @Mark Del Grosso:

I decided to take a contractor to small claims court the other day. Not because I think I will get my money (even though he admits he owes me the money) but because I wanted  my first court experience to remove the fear of the unknown.

It's all good my friend.

This is genius and I do something similar. When I fear something I haven't done before, like an eviction in a new jurisdiction, my initial reaction is stress and worry. I then turn it around and tell myself it's a great learning opportunity and even if I lose money I'm paying for an education. This helps me face things I'm worried about and to realize that in a few months, this thing I was worried about will be a funny story to tell friends. 

Originally posted by @Troy S.:
Originally posted by @Mark Del Grosso:

I decided to take a contractor to small claims court the other day. Not because I think I will get my money (even though he admits he owes me the money) but because I wanted  my first court experience to remove the fear of the unknown.

It's all good my friend.

This is genius and I do something similar. When I fear something I haven't done before, like an eviction in a new jurisdiction, my initial reaction is stress and worry. I then turn it around and tell myself it's a great learning opportunity and even if I lose money I'm paying for an education. This helps me face things I'm worried about and to realize that in a few months, this thing I was worried about will be a funny story to tell friends. 

 I think most of my horror stories at the time have become my funniest stories. Almost like a badge of honor. 

Thanks for the compliment @ Troy S.

"But I just find I have a fairly low threshold for feeling stressed. It's a real part of the business. Sometimes I love it and am super excited, and other times I'm overwhelmed."

As someone who started studying psychology as a hobby 5 years ago I can tell you it does help to understand why you get stressed.  As you stated from your experience and by the replies here that this is a normal part of this business.  

The advice I would offer is that if you have been successful over the past years than you should be less stressed.  You've proven you have the skills and abilities to accomplish the tasks in a professional and timely manner.  Developing efficient, solid systems, that allow you to manage the tasks and account for evictions, vacancies, repairs, budgeting for renovations is some of the first things we need to master.

Stress, how can we be stressed, have you looked at what is happening in other places in the world?  These people have problems, if I some accountable occurrence happen to me if I can't solve it then I can call someone who will.  

What I am saying is that it's your perspective on things that needs to change.  Example:

On a sunny, mild day, with a 10 mph wind, someone may say it's a great day, it's sunny warm, with a nice breeze.  Then someone else says it's to sunny and the wind keeps messing up their hair.  You choose psychology how to look at these situations.

P.S.  If this has been going on for years then you may need to reduce your commitments or workload as you can and will burn out sometime in the future.  

Craft beers, good cigars and of course my awesome wife. 

Jeepers, if I went looking for a new contractor every time one of mine went off for 5 days without any heads up, I'd be spending all my time looking for a new contractor.

At this point, I just cost in an extra 30 days of laziness.  Every once in a blue moon, a contractor will surprise me. But thats typically what works for me.

Bottom line is that you typically have a trade off. Either hire a large company that can get the work done fast because they can throw a pretty good size crew at it. And then expect to pay a hefty price for the job. 

Or hire a 2 or 3 man crew and pay a better rate but expect to have an additional month or so of holding costs because they just don't move fast.

I've chosen to go with option #2. Mostly because I have my brother in law do most of my rehabs and I'd rather wait on him then try to hire unknowns. He fronts a lot of the job so I don't have to worry about anyone running off with my money. And he does decent work.

I've tried a handful of other contractors that all seem to have a gigantic wart somehow. Either they're fast and expensive. They're slow and cheap. They're fast, reasonably priced but the work is poor. They're slow, expensive and provide work (my favorite), etc., etc, etc.

As for how do you handle stress. What you mean to say is how long does it take before all this other stuff doesn't bother as you much.  It never goes away. But I've found that as I've grown my business and gained more experience, the craziness of the business bothers me less and less.

At some point, I think I just accepted the simple fact that its the cost of doing business and while it may blow that some tenant thinks they can be 3 weeks late on rent or some contractor won't show or some crazy village thinks they have the right to ask me to rebuild an entire house instead of just replacing the doorknob, it all comes down to those things are simply the cost of doing business.

Evictions don't bother me anywhere near as much as they used to. Funny thing is I don't seem to have anywhere near as many now that I don't care if I have one. Although a cook county eviction always worries me. :-)

I think the thing that eases the stress levels of this is simply time. You see the results at the end of every year and where they come out and you realize that, even with the exceptions, you're still going to come out way ahead. So don't worry about it and just write it off as the cost and doing business.   You'll be surprised how little stress anything has any more.

For me, the only real stress I have these days is in worrying that the deal flow I've been getting over the last 12 mos will eventually end. :-)

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,

Nothing is more of a equalizer than spending time on the mat, fending off grown men (& women). Trying to choke you out and put you to sleep. For those twenty , thirty or forty minutes you spend sparing at the academy nothing less matters. My family and close friends have notice the difference since I have start to train. I'm Way more passive and relaxed.

@Larry T.    You need a positive outlet. everyone needs a positive outlet to channel all of the negative energy and release it. I am in agreement with @Derek Carroll and @Paul Ortiz  

I personally play basketball... but I also lift weights, run, swim, and yoga. Others may enjoy reading, or even scrap booking. Whatever you are into... you need SOMETHING to take your mind away even for a few moments. When people try to keep stress in, it usually comes out in "nasty" forms. Lashing out at others... mental break downs... alcohol binge... or whatever vice(s) one may want. The stress will come out one way or another. It is best to be proactive, and find a positive hobby to release it. I also find that the running and working out gives me more energy in my day. Give it a shot...

Jon Huber, Real Estate Agent in New Jersey (#NRS0565737)

@Jon Huber  I do run and work out. Wanna race?  :)   Maybe I should try scrap booking.  

Seriously, exercise is a great suggestion.  This is a stressful business.  And it is different for everybody.  For some, dealing with sellers is stressful, for others, rehabs are the most stress.  I personally hated dealing with low end rentals and quickly got out of it. 

I was wondering if people had any real estate specific stress alleviation insights.  @Mark Del Grosso  had a good point about being stressed about new situations, which happens all the time in RE.  Others might pick a niche that is right for them.  @Jeff B.  Had a good point about not overworking and having systems in place.  I think that is my biggest problem right now. 

@Larry T. , I don't know if this helps or not.  Sometimes we stress a lot over things because they are the most stressful thing in our life so that sets our anxiety meter.  The reality is unless you are destitute and your child is dying and you cannot afford medicine it really is not an important issue you are stressing about.  In my current line of work I sometimes have to do jury trials on bad folks, like child molestors.  What if I mess up and a child molestor gets away with it?  In a recent case I got a phone call from a distraught woman and so I tried to get the information from her on what charges her son had.  When I finally understood it was her son who was the victim in a fatal car crash I just got a report on I felt horrible.  She was crying so hard she was difficult to understand.  I was having a bad day then, and suddenly realized everything I had stressed over was childish compared to her problems.  I, my wife, children, and grandchildren are all healthy, and doing well.  My position in life is so much better than what I grew up in sometimes I feel guilty.  Why let someone being 3 weeks late with rent, or even 3 months late stress you out?  You will survive, you won't go broke, you can afford to hire someone to fix your problem, and playing with your child or grandchild is more precious  than anything on earth.  Put it in perspective.  It isn't that big of a deal.  It's like the time I swallowed a nickel, my mom panicked, but my dad said no worry this will pass, and it did, I think.

Great stress relievers no matter what industry / industries of business you partake in: Sex, shooting at the range, dancing, exercise, laughter (and drinking) with love ones. There's no particular order but variety is always good. 

Kudos,

Mary

I think you have to know your risk tolerance level BEFORE you get into investing and then make sure you build your business to minimize the stress. 
Lots of people start investing and get out because they can't handle it

(901) 264-8674

Don't forget who works for whom. And repeat to yourself often, "This too will pass." 

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