I am a land lord, but not really by choice. I bought a little house a year out of college at the height of the housing bubble (around 2007) at a steep price, then six months later, watched as its value plummeted to about a fourth of what I paid.
Now, 8 years later, the little old house in northwest Georgia sits at about 6/10th of the value I paid for it.
At the end of this month, I lose my golden tenants who I’ve had for most of the last two years and so the hunt begins for new ones. Oh joy…
You learn a lot of very valuable life lessons and sharpen quite a few business skills as a land lord. You learn to start recognizing interesting little social clues and personality traits that might tip you off as to whether a person is a potentially good or bad tenant.
You also learn to manage risk, or even more importantly, to become more comfortable with risk. You start weighing pros and cons, making judgement calls and even learning when to trust or not trust your gut.
But most of all, you learn to just be patient with both people and the process as a whole.
Being a land lord who actually CARES is tough. I work so very hard to show compassion, to do a great job for my tenants and feel like I’m really providing them with just as much value, if not more, in return for them basically paying for my house that I no longer care to live in but cannot sell.
And I never forget that if I can work this all out, I’ll own a house free in clear by the time I am in my mid-40s. A house I could live in if times got tough. A nice supplement to my retirement… or hell, my retirement home someday!
But alas, being a land lord is not for the faint of heart. I have been lied to, stood up, cleaned up messes that are not mine and dealt with crap neighbors (and the city code enforcement officers by extension). I am happy to have had the experience though.
I am starting to truly understand how to get down to business while retaining my compassion and humanity. And this is a mix that I feel is becoming rarer all the time in our society.
Please wish me luck, soon enough I’ll have to select that lucky person (or hopefully a small family) to sign a lease with, and start all over again on the rollercoaster or land lordin…