This article is one of those that is not fun to write or read, for that matter, unless you've been there and done that. Then you'll immediately appreciate it. If you play the landlord / rental / property manager game long enough, it will happen -- a tenant trashes your property. You have a flooded basement. You have a fire. It's easy to panic. It's easy to lose sleep or to not think clearly. It is tough to regain your sense of control in situations like these, but it can be done. With some advanced thinking and planning, you can and will survive.
Here's how to protect yourself: Remember back to your childhood. You likely enjoyed playing with Play-doh, right? Remember the extruder toys where you put a ball of your favorite color into it, pressed the handle, and out squirmed a shaped snake of Play-Doh?
The extruder works because it focuses pressure through a chosen portal. But, and here's the important part - it only works when you put just the right amount of muddled-up Play-Doh into it. When you put too much Doh in and press the handle, it blows all over the place, right? So, what does Play-Doh have to do with dealing with rental property crisis and anxiety?
Defeat the issue by narrowing your focus. Don't try and jam too many issues into your mind or beyond your physical ability, or else you will blow into a big mess, too. Narrow your focus by choosing to focus only on the items/issues/people you can actually influence or control. Choose only those items that you can make an immediate difference in the outcome. Literally, make two paper lists. In one column, write out the things you CAN control; in the other, write the things outside of your immediate control. Then start working on knocking down one issue/trouble item at a time. Pick the simplest items first to gain traction. You'll gain momentum quickly and witness the positive outcomes arrive at your feet even faster.
Once you have regained some confidence, keep expanding your focus into more areas that need fixing.
Your business deals with human beings, sticks, bricks, toilets, and tenants. Bad things will happen, but with a strategy to deal with the ugly situations, you'll be prepared to cope with it and come out of the experience better off. By the way, this method is derived from another name you may have heard of before -- Kaizen -- where companies apply focus on small, tiny fixes to generate monumental results over time.
Article by Dan Baldini, Executive Property Manager