Here are 4 of the many truths about tenants. And I’m going to start off with number one, and all four of these are really important to understand. But the first one I think is probably the most important, and this is that tenants are awesome. They’re just awesome! So remember that, and keep that in mind throughout this article.
Then the second one is because they’re awesome, they deserve a great landlord. They deserve someone who is attentive, someone who takes care of them, someone who understands them and respects them. Now, remember, your residents are the lifeblood of your business, of your rental. Without them, you have nothing. And when you have a great one, it’s so important that they know it. And there’s a lot of ways that you can show them that you’re grateful for them and that you love them and that you’re happy to have them, and we can talk about that another time.
Truth number three. Not all tenants are created equal. You probably know that by now, and I like to think of it using the 80-20 rule. And I apply the 80-20 rule for even tenants that are all paying rent on time and fulfilling the lease. And what this means is when we’re thinking about our good residents that we have in our homes, there’s about 20% when it comes to mindset that will have a similar mindset as you. And what I mean by that is, for a lot of homeowners and owner occupants and folks who are taking a lot of pride in the home that they have purchased and that they live in, they tend to keep up on the yard. They tend to want to improve the value of the property over time, and so they have a certain bar that they set for themselves, and it may have been part of how they were raised, part of how they’re wired, but we just want our homes to look really nice. And this is more commonly found with owner occupants.
Now, this is just a very important misunderstanding that a lot of landlords have is that all residents are like you, and that’s not the case. About 20%, this is what I’ve figured, about 20% of the residents that are still good tenants, a good tenant, they’re paying rent, will have that same mindset of wanting to make sure the property is well cared for, make sure that the lawn is looking awesome, the flower beds are weeded, that the house is vacuumed weekly, or in the case of some of us, every other day, or it’s just really clean and looks really nice, and when there’s an inspection coming up and the landlord’s coming to visit, they hire a cleaning crew or they spend hours trying to prepare for it so that the landlord’s really impressed and wants to renew the lease, and they just are in love with them. That’s about 20%.
The other 80% are good people, but they just simply don’t have that same mindset. They’re okay with the lawn going a little bit. They’re okay with the house getting a little bit dirty. And they’re okay with that. They feel comfortable with that. That’s just how they were wired, how they were brought up.
And the important thing to recognize is truth number four, which is having a certain bar that you set for yourself and then having a threshold of tolerance below that bar. Okay? Because if you are expecting everyone to take care of the home the exact same way that you would, you’re just going to drive yourself mad. It’s going to be a horrible experience for you. Because, again, if you have someone like that, that’s awesome. You found one of the 20%! But 80% of the time, you’re not going to have someone like that.
So what you do to make it manageable is you have a threshold of about 20%, so if your bar is set here and you call that a hundred percent, then you say, okay, I’m going to have this threshold of tolerance that as I’m inspecting or as I’m driving by or as the neighbors are commenting, that I’m going to be okay as long as it’s within this threshold that I can tolerate, that I’m okay with. If it gets below a certain threshold, we’re going to have a conversation with the residents and we’re going to talk to them about what we expect, and let’s get within this threshold.
For example, if you see an inspection, photos from your property manager, or you’re inspecting yourself, and you see that they have done some things with the walls, maybe they’ve hung some things up, or maybe they have changed the color of this without your permission or maybe they have done some other alteration or maybe they’ve stacked boxes in the corner or in the closet or in one of the bedrooms and it’s looking a little bit cluttered. If you step back and you think about, okay, is this within that threshold? Is this really a big deal? Then you can start to realize that rentals can be pleasant, and it’s not going to drive us absolutely bonkers when it’s not exactly how we would treat that property.
Is it your property? Yes, it’s your property. But ultimately, you’re allowing someone to live there, and so it’s their home. It’s your property. It’s their home. There’s a big difference there. Okay? Your property is an investment, and you want to make sure that the value is being maintained in it. As long as they’re in that threshold and it’s not deteriorating the value of the property, I would relax, take a step back, and enjoy the ride because rentals can be a life of bliss for those that have the right mindset and understand the truth about tenants. If not, it’s just a real big hassle, and it will be something that drives you nuts, keeps you up at night, and creates a lot of stress and frustration.
To your land-lording success!