BiggerPockets Podcast 062: Managing Tenants For Maximum Profit & Minimal Stress with Phil Dwyer

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Managing tenants can be a real pain.

Trust me.

However, on this episode of the BiggerPockets Podcast we sit down with a full time property manager to talk about the business of managing tenants – and discover ways to make it easier and more profitable for YOU.

Today Phil Dwyer from the Las Vegas area shares with us his story of becoming a real estate appraiser and transitioning to a successful property manager. In addition, we also discuss the best strategies for finding and managing the best property managers.

If you have any rental properties – or ever plan to – this is a “don’t miss” episode!

Read the Transcript

Click here to read the transcript.

Listen to The Show on iTunes

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

In This Show, We Cover:BiggerPockets Podcast _ Real Estate Investing and Wealth Building 9.42.11 AM

  • Dealing with FHA buyers
  • Where to buy – appreciating areas vs. declining areas
  • Finding a great property manager
  • Why Phil chose Vegas to build his business
  • Getting started by working a job in real estate
  •  The most difficult part of investment property management?
  • How to know if you are getting ripped off from your management company.
  • The #1 best way to know how your tenant will act for you
  • What Would You Do” questions for Phil
  • Red flags for tenants
  • Dealing with pets in a rental
  • Single family vs. Multifamily Investments
  • What property management software Phil uses
  • And so much more!

 Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in the Show

Connect with Phillip

About Author

Thanks for checking out the BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing & Wealth Building Podcast. Hosts Joshua Dorkin & Brandon Turner strive to bring top-notch educational content and interviews to our listeners -- without the non-stop pitch prevalent around the industry. With over 180,000 listeners per show, the BiggerPockets Podcast has become the biggest real estate podcast in the world. But don’t take our word for it. We’re the top-rated and reviewed real estate show on iTunes — check it out, read the reviews on iTunes, and get busy listening and learning!


  1. Don’t call the current landlord call the one prior to current, that landlord will tell you the truth. Some tenants might get favorable screening from current landlord to get rid of them.

    I hired a PM and have all maintenance requests sent to me so I can do the work or hire it done or have them do it.

    No second chances with evictions they screwed them they will me too.
    Great show…as always

  2. Another great Podcast guys. Phil, thanks for sharing your property management expertise with us. Having rules, sticking with them, makes things a lot easier. You don’t have to evaluate each and every situation – just follow the process. Brandon, totally relate to the late tenant and the problems that occur when you bend your rules. When you got your text from your wife that the tenant just paid, felt like deja vu! And yes! next time post your 3-day notice according to your process. Listen to the stories but follow your process anyway. Great job all!

  3. Great show, Thanks!
    I agree you should have standards and apply them strictly. What do you think about offering a non-paying tenant cash (maybe a month’s rent?) to be out by the end of the month? I know, I know, they owe *you* money, but the advantage is this: the tenant has strong incentive to be gone by the end of the month, you incur no further expenses or hassle trying to collect, and with any luck, this arrangement makes it less likely they will pour cement down your toilet. On the other hand, and it may depend on the local laws, but I doubt you could count these advantages if the tenant takes you the full eviction route. Bottom line: you may lose more money going with eviction than offering an incentive to the tenants. What’s your experience here?

    • Hugh,

      I haven’t tried this personally, but I have friends that have went this route in the Detroit market. The offer was contingent upon the house being completely clean.
      You can never have too many tools in the tool belt. This looks like one more creative way to minimize risk and cost. Though, it should be weighted against the other options.

      Thanks for listening to the show and for sharing this idea!

  4. If tenants ask for leniency I just say I would love to help you out but I am regulated by a lot of laws and have to apply the same standards to every tenant or I could get in trouble. Tenant usually understands after that.

  5. Darren Sager on

    Great Podcast guys! I think its very smart in what Phil’s done in gaining the experience ahead of time which will help him become a very successful real estate investor. Hope you take the plunge soon!

  6. Brett Synicky on

    Hi Phil. Great show guys! Phil you said something during the show that caught my attention and I was hoping you could explain a bit more. You mentioned that prices in the Vegas area have increased but rents haven’t and that concerns you. Can you explain why you think that is? As an owner in Vegas I have seen my rents go down over the past couple years as well but the value go way up! What’s up with that?!

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Brett,

      Thanks for listening to the show! The answer to your questions involves supply and demand. On the sales side, active inventory on MLS has been in a shortage situation for well over a year and a half, but demand remained strong leading to price increases. At one point there was less than a 1-month supply. Inventory has increased since then to just under a 3-month supply which is still considered a shortage. This doesn’t include new construction inventory or sales which could change the numbers some. Lot’s of new construction is going on, so locals are watching to see how this plays out.
      Meanwhile, on the rental side of things, many of the homes that were purchased over the past 4 years have been converted to rental property. For a while after the market crash, we had lots of people leaving the city to find construction employment elsewhere. Rental rates declined. 2013 saw some increases in rental rates, as people began to move back to town and employment improved. Rate changes seem to have flatlined for now, but I haven’t checked the trends for a few months.
      There are certainly many other factors that play into all of this on both a micro and macro level, but that’s the basics.

  7. Abel Vazquez on

    Great show I really enjoyed listening to it. I liked the tip from Phillip when he said to leave your card with the neighbors to in case they see something unusual I would of not throught of that its a simple idea that can help in many ways. Anyways great show again and thank you guys for the great information.


  8. Just listening to the podcast and this is kind of a “duh!” comment but Brandon’s “follow your rules” tip is a really good one, no matter what you’re dealing with. We inherited a tenant who didn’t pay her rent on time the very first month we owned the building. We are totally new to this game and my inclination would have been to give her a little grace. My husband put his foot down and filed a 3 day notice, after telling the tenant that this would be the consequence of non-payment. When we posted the notice, her reaction was “woah – I didn’t think you would do that!” and she payed before eviction. She has since paid every month, before the 1st (we’ll see what happens this month). SO glad we stuck to the rules!!

  9. I like the idea of asking (legal) questions over the phone to weed out some people who would not meet my criteria for income vs rent. I generally use Craigslist to post my rentals plus putting a sign in the yard with flyers. What do you think about including in the ad and/or the flyer the requirement that “household income exceeds 3 times rent”?

    • Katie Rogers

      Originally the income guideline was phrased differently. It was supposed to guide landlords in setting a reasonable rent, as in when you decide the rent on a one bedroom (assuming one tenant), you should consider the salary of a typical tenant (data available on city-data and elsewhere) in your locality. A one bedroom should cost about one week’s salary but no more than 1/3 of a typical tenant salary in order to avoid vacancies. Over the last ten years or so, the guideline has been turned upside and readdressed to tenants rather than to landlords as originally.

  10. i have a question for phil.

    i am buying a DISTRESSED property (in Livonia) and the taxes are very high – ~3k. Assessed/Taxable value is 50k. should i get an appraisal before rehab starts or after?

    • Hi George,
      I’m not sure how the property assessment dispute process works in Livonia. However, I’m guessing that it’s your intention to dispute. That said, it would likely make more sense to do so prior to completing any renovations.

  11. Sharon Tzib on

    Hey Phil! Sorry it took me so long to listen to this. Great podcast!

    Brandon, I know a lot of owners who are fearful to turn over the reins to a PM, esp. in the repair department. They also feel that it is a PM’s duty to get the best quality vendor for repairs/maintenance at the lowest price possible (I’m talking SFRs)? My experience is high quality and low cost rarely go hand in hand. As a very large operation with over 500 rentals, I would imagine Phil can negotiate discounts for his clients based on volume. But what’s a small PM firm to do?

    Maybe I’m crazy, but as a long-distance landlord, I’ve always prioritized finding a PM who can find a high-quality tenant that pays on time, will stay awhile, and not constantly call with nitpicky repairs in the first place. If they do have a legit repair, then if they can get it repaired “correctly” and “skillfully” at a discount, great, but the quality of the work matters much more to me than the price, since in my experience, you get what you pay for.

    I will say that I give my PM a certain dollar amount that above which it requires my approval, so this tends to keep issues in check and allows for an opportunity to go out to bid if need be. Maybe that would work for you Brandon until you know you can trust your PM (altho Josh’s idea about setting a trap was classic!). In the end, I think because you live close to your rentals, you’re probably always gonna feel like you can do it better/cheaper, and it sounds like maybe you can 🙂


    • Sharon,
      I appreciate you listening. Like you I think quality should be the emphasis. I’m concerned about the bottom line for my clients too.

      You’re definitely correct about people that think they can get it done cheaper. Often times I’ve found that people don’t factor in the cost of their own time or they’re basing price on unlicensed workers.

  12. Katie Rogers

    I do not necessarily agree with giving previously evicted tenants a second chance. My concern is over asking if an eviction has ever been filed. I am concerned about the knee-jerk assumption that if a landlord filed an eviction notice, the tenant deserved it. Maybe it was like a retaliatory filing similar to a retaliatory firing.

    I once had a problem paying my rent. However, I found out I was going to have a problem about a week before my rent was due (long story involving my employer delaying paychecks for a couple weeks). I had been with this landlord for two years when this problem occurred. I immediately went to the landlord and explained my problem. I also promised to pay for two months when I got paid (which meant that although one month was paid two weeks late, the second month was paid two weeks early). She accepted my suggestion. After that glitch, I stayed in that unit two more years, leaving only for a new job in another community.

    My point is that I will listen to tenant “stories,” and make a judgement based on the tenant’s history with me, the tenant’s demeanor and attitude, and whether the story rings true. I do this because I appreciate when landlords treated me as a person rather than a wallet.

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