Investing in real estate is one of the best ways to get ahead financially. Investing your money in property is not only less risky than playing the stock market, but it also comes with a regular income in the form of rent payments. The downside to becoming a real estate investor is the fact it also makes you a landlord, which means you have to find and screen tenants, collect rent, maintain the property, and put out fires. The biggest problem as a landlord is the need to be available 24/7 for your tenants, so how can you avoid getting called at midnight?
Most midnight phone calls are related to maintenance emergencies. It’s not likely that your tenant will call you in the middle of the night in order to discuss his rental contract in detail. If he does, you really need to talk to him about that. It’s more likely that he will call you because the heater stopped working or the toilet is flooding.
Fortunately, most maintenance emergencies can be prevented by keeping your property maintained. For example, you should have the heater serviced in the fall before it gets cold, and in the springtime, you need to give the air conditioning the once-over. In order to prevent clogged toilets, remind your tenants not to let the kids throw toys in the drain.
Some landlords are not particularly handy and some are just not willing to personally do the repairs, probably because it’s hard to find the time for it. If you call a plumber for your tenant when there's a maintenance emergency at midnight, you could save yourself the phone call by giving your plumber's number to the tenant
In order to make this work, you’d have to specify in writing when your tenant is authorized to call the plumber on your behalf. You can limit it to true emergencies that occur after 9 p.m. (or whatever your bedtime is). You could also limit the dollar amount of repairs your tenants can authorize. Don’t make it sound too complicated, or your tenant will just end up calling you anyway just to be safe. Before you set this up with your tenant, you should discuss rates and pricing with your plumber and make him aware of the arrangement.
There are many reasons to hire a property manager, but avoiding midnight phone calls is probably the biggest one. Property managers can help you with a variety of tenant problems, from finding and screening them to collecting rent and evicting them. The downside to a property manager is the expense. If your property is not generating enough extra cash to pay for a manager, then you might not be able to afford it.
Fortunately, midnight phone calls don’t happen daily. Of course, the more tenants you have, the more likely it is that one of them will get in touch with you after you have gone to bed, but as the number of tenants increase, so should your cash-flow. This can help you reevaluate your ability to hire a property manager.
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