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DIY Landlord: A Mindset Guide To Managing Your Rental

Rental Marketing AdvertisingWe have many property management clients that were managing their rentals themselves and something went wrong, and now they have hired us to come in, clean up the mess, find good renters, and deliver to them a problem free rental home. There is a lot that goes into this process.

Problem Free Rental Homes?

First, there is no such thing as a problem free rental home. You will always have some issue. Murphy’s Law would have it that something is going to break as soon as a new tenant moves in no matter how well you maintained your house before, no matter how new everything is, no matter how long you lived there and had no problems with whatever broke.

The First Month Of Your First Rental

These are all responses from actual owners who rented a home for the first time and then has something go wrong. A water heater, furnace, window, garbage disposal, dishwasher, fridge, stove, leak, faucet, door, lock, roof leak, gutter, tree, a fence, are all real examples of problems we have seen in the first month or two of someone renting out their home – and I am sure there are more I have not remembered here.

This does not happen with every home, but it does happen. I would even venture to say it happens more often than not.

Management Help For When You’ve Had Enough

In response to this I am putting together this blog and video series to help people to manage their homes themselves so that when they find it’s too much, or they do not want to do it anymore, or they are moving out of town, we at least get the home in better shape and without the serious disasters that cost a lot of time and resources for me, my employees, and most importantly my clients (property owners) and my customers (tenants).

Promoting Success & Avoiding Rental Pitfalls

We are going to go through the whole rental process starting from the very beginning and go all the way to the end and cover, on a large scale, everything that could happen. I am not going to go thorough how to fix disposals, light switches, etc., but rather the process that should be followed to successfully rent a home and avoid major pitfalls.

The Property Management Mindset

The first topic I am going to discuss is the overall mindset of a landlord. How and what you should be thinking about and with. I would say this is one of the most critical and valuable points and presentations I will make on this subject of property management.

  • How do you shift your mindset from homeowner to landlord?
  • What are your real duties as a landlord?
  • What behaviors scare off tenants?

The Beauty Of Homeownership

What is a home? Merriam-Webster defines a home as: “one’s place of residence” Many people find a home to be something personal and very close to the heart. For most, it will be the biggest purchase they ever make, and they will spend a great deal of time there, watch their kids grow up there, and they will put massive amounts of time, energy, money, and pride into personalizing the home.

This is the beauty of a home. It’s a central hub for the family unit. It’s an expression of self. It’s a safe place where one resides.

You Rent Out The House, Not The Home

This is where most homeowners are stuck when they begin the process of renting out their HOME. This is a mistake. Once you have made the decision to rent the HOME (which is a very smart and financially sound decision for your future) you absolutely must reframe your mindset.

You have moved all of your stuff out of your home, and now you have what is called a house that you own. Again Merriam-Webster: “a building that serves as living quarters for one or a few families.” Notice it says for one or a few families, not your family.

Your New Job As A Landlord

Now you have to start thinking of this thing as a house and realize you are going to provide a HOME for SOMEONE ELSE. This is extremely important to your mental and financial wellbeing. Your job now is to provide a place that someone can turn into a home for years to come. In exchange for that they are going to pay you to keep the mortgage paid, maintain the major aspects of the home, and most of all let them turn it into their home.

The Shift From Home To Investment Property

You are going to have to view this home of yours as a house and an investment in your future, not your current place of residence, not your hub for your family. All families are different and when you view it as your home you begin to detest your tenants, micromanage their every move, and you have ultimately high turnover in tenants, massive amounts of stress, and a bad taste in your mouth for being a landlord.

A Tenant’s Story

I have one tenant that called me some time after he moved out of our HOUSE and into another home ask me if it was normal for a landlord to just show up unannounced and start doing yard work in the back and front yard. My response is, no that is not normal, it is wrong, and our lease specifically protects tenants from this kind of behavior.

This is borderline trespassing. It certainly violates privacy rules, and very simply the Golden Rule – treat others as you would like to be treated.

This owner is caring for it as if he still lived there. The Funny thing is that this homeowner inquired about our services, ended up deciding to manage himself, and in the long run cost himself a ton of grief, almost had to go to court twice over small issues, caused a tenant that always paid on time to move the second his lease was up, and he lost a lot of good faith all over a small monthly fee that our company charges to handle this.

Worst of all the house is still in great shape, the tenant is exceptionally clean, maintains everything well, etc. He just did not do yard work like the owner did when he lived there, and the owner never changed his mindset and caused everyone (even me) a ton of grief.

The Right Mindset For A Better Rental Experience

My caution is this. If you choose to rent your home, which I think you should, make sure you view it as a house you own, not your home. Never forget the memories and the times you had there but allow this house to be a home to someone else. Spread the love and joy that a house can provide when it becomes someone’s home. Do not be selfish and keep it as your home while someone else is living there.

If you can do this I promise you will have great success and ease when renting your home.

–  Josh Barron, Owner of Cobalt Creek Property Management

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Cobalt Creek Property Management
846 E. 78th Ave.
Denver, CO 80229

(720) 613-0010