Everyone starts out small when they become a landlord (and perhaps the person never intended to become a landlord in the first place), but after they’ve had the opportunity to fully grasp the idea of earning money from other people’s efforts without putting forth much work (if any) to reap the benefits, they will eventually want to expand. I know I sure did. I purchased 1 single family home in late 2007, followed by 4 more places in 2008 and now heading into 2010, I currently own 38 rental properties (2009 has been an explosive year of growth for me). This was the year I finally started thinking clearly and decided to hire a property manager. It’s hard to imagine this but, I do less now that I have a property manager with 38 rental properties than when I only had one property back in 2007 that I managed myself.
You don’t need to concern yourself with all of the knowledge of ordinary handiwork around the property, like fixing toilets or changing locks. Knowing how to perform these routine tasks can save you some money upfront when you are just starting out but try not to let your ignorance of these routine tasks stop you from jumping into the business. Eventually you want to work your way up to a spot in this industry where you no longer have to worry about repairing the properties yourself. That is what your property manager’s job responsibility will be. He will hire out the contractors needed to do repairs for you if he cannot repair the issue himself. In fact, I would even suggest to you that you try to find properties that cashflow well enough where you don’t even need to waste your own time in the first place when something tears up. Your number one focus in this business should be to find properties that cashflow well and to see to their occupancy after you’ve purchased them.
So do I think it’s hard to become or actually be a landlord?
Definitely not. Other than speaking a couple of times each month with my property manager over the phone about different subjects pertaining to the industry, I must say this is probably one of the easiest jobs to be in. Now I might be singing a different tune if I was the “Do It All Myself” type of landlord. I shudder to think about managing these properties by myself and working full-time. I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have had much time for anything else. I wouldn’t have been able to purchase this many properties if it wasn’t for my property manager in the first place. At best, I probably could have managed 10-15 properties and worked full time like I’m doing now. But once my growth exceeded what I was capable of managing myself I would have been forced to stop buying new properties, and thus would actually be limited on my overall success.
I am almost at another crossroad where I must hire on a helper for my property manager since he is getting spread a little thin and I believe with any new additional house purchases that is just what I will do, but so far he has been managing just fine and I have recieved little complaints suggesting otherwise. Of course, some professional property management companies have a large staff and can meet you at whatever size your business is currently at or where it will be in the future. I am a strong believer in having a third party assist you in your landlording business and I believe if you try to do it all yourself, you will eventually find there are not enough hours in the day.