Owning and managing a rental property can be a dream job! You can make money by letting people occupy space, you still get paid when you’re on vacation, and all problems are solved easily between the average work hours of nine and five.
Well, two out of three isn’t bad, right?
The unfortunate truth of being a landlord or real estate agent is that a large portion of your work is dedicated to the inopportune timing of human error, frustrating weather, and the never scheduled issues of accidents and emergencies. While many of your tasks can be scheduled like average office work, a landlord’s time management has to work more off the cuff than the average cubicle monkey.
The Normal Organization Process
First up, you know what you have to do most of the time. The average tasks that happen every day, week, et cetera. These are the tasks that you can depend on, things that won’t surprise you. Put this in your schedule so you can delegate the expected tasks like organizing tours for any vacancies you might have, checking on fees, checking on waste management, scheduling any property maintenance or repairs, and collecting rent. Writing or typing these tasks may not be necessary all the time, especially when they are so regular your muscle memory can take over or you don’t need the reminder. However, having it in your schedule – online or written – can provide a feeling of stability. Not to mention when scheduling less regular objectives, having it set up makes those rushed phone calls go a little more smoothly. No one wants to have a second call admitting they forgot, oh no, that time is already filled, my bad!
This is the easiest part of time management when it comes to being a landlord or real estate agent. This part is neat and tidy. Any Marie Kondo with an agenda book can tell you how to deal with this part. Consider management task programs like Trello, Remember the Milk, and other applications that can be personalized to your needs.
The rest? Well, that’s up in the air.
The Less Regular Organizational Processes
Sometimes the world gets a little random. Snow will fall in Texas or Tennessee will have a flood. Instead of squirrels in the attic, Harvey the Hurricane Hawk decided to perch in someone’s bedroom. That makes it much more difficult to go on your scheduled home tours. While these aren’t every day events, you need to have some wiggle room in your schedule.
It’s good to know seasonal trends. Hurricanes in the summer fall, many animals hibernate, birds fly away, and so on and so forth. As a landlord, a primary job is to keep the property maintained and habitable. While scheduling your seasonal work, keep in mind the seasonal events.
This is why you can’t have every event set in stone in your life as a property owner. Sure, you can schedule lunch with your mother at one, but there’s every chance that a tenant will call in tears because the sink is busted and her mother in law will be here any minute! You don’t have to deal with the mother in law, but you do have to deal with the sink. It’s just one example of having a schedule, but not getting too upset when things do not adhere to that timeline.
Wait - What Happened Now?
The life of a landlord is to expect the unexpected. You may very well be on vacation in Barcelona or New York, but if a tenant calls you with an emergency, you have to be prepared. That means knowing who to call that you can trust, when and where. Keep track of local services such as plumbers or electricians, and who’s available at the odder hours in case of emergency. Keep this list in a way that can be organized by what they do, when they can do it, and of course their names, even though many places of business will introduce themselves when picking up the phone.
Keep in mind that some chunks of time during the average work week should be kept relatively free. You can’t always know what will fill this time but it could be any number of things. Potential tenants may call to ask some questions, perhaps someone will ask for a tour of a vacancy, a non-emergency repair may need to be inspected, the list goes on. It’s just important to always be prepared.
The best way to manage a schedule when you’re a property owner is just understanding that sometimes, things happen. How do you manage your schedule? Let us know in the comments!