Becoming a landlord is an excellent way to earn extra income, but it comes with a lot of responsibilities as well. New landlords don’t always quite realize how much work goes into owning and maintaining a rental property. You will find yourself doing things that you never thought possible and acquiring extensive knowledge on some of the strangest of subjects. Here is a short list of the tasks Empire’s property managers have been called on to handle.
1. Amateur Animal Wrangler/ Emergency Animal Control
In this first category, we place rogue squirrels that have fallen down chimneys. A member of our staff had to undergo constant ribbing for months concerning his efforts to remove a squirrel from the woodstove. He bore the title “the squirrel whisperer” for quite a while. Another misadventure involved some illegal occupants that just happened to be a family of raccoons and our extensive battle to “evict them” from under the house.
2. Emergency Consultant
There is nothing more aggravating then receiving an emergency call at some ungodly hour of the night. The tenant proceeds to explain that all of the lights are out, and they can’t figure out what is wrong. Step one in these cases, have them go outside and check to see if the other houses have power. Most of the time they haven’t even looked yet. If the neighborhood has power, you get to walk the tenant through flipping breakers and checking the GFIs. Hopefully, that solves the problem. If not, you ask for their address and send someone out to check on things. On one occasion, we reached this point, requested his address, and discovered that we didn’t even manage his property. Not only had this tenant not gone outside to make sure it wasn’t just a local power outage, but he called the wrong management company entirely.
3. Amateur Real Estate Photographer
There are rules when it comes to taking listing pictures of a rental. There are common sense ones; don’t take one of just the toilet and don’t focus on blemishes. But there are also other rules that aren’t quite as well known. Never show more than one corner, remember to turn on all the lights, keep the camera at eye-level, and never take too many pictures of one room.
4. Conflict Mediator
Landlords and Property Managers both need to be prepared to fill this role. Most tenants get along well with each other, but there are the occasional misunderstandings. Noise complaints, out of control pets, arguing roommates. It happens. We have to be ready to act as a mediator between the two parties. But if you picked your tenants right coming in, it should stay fairly civil and easy to handle.
The four categories listed above are those that Empire property managers have personally experienced; there are several others that apply only to landlords. For the DIY landlord, there’s maintenance. They get to enjoy the wonderful scenario of becoming “Mr. Fix-It” whenever anything breaks. If the water heater goes out, the air conditioning quits, or a pipe blows, you can expect a frantic phone call.
Being a landlord is a bumpy ride full of unexpected turns. Hang on and do your best to enjoy it.