A Warning For Landlords | Expectation vs Reality

Here is my advice for anyone interested in real estate investing – and for those who want to get into the the rental property business. Enjoy! Add me on Instagram: GPStephan

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First, if you want to be a successful Real Estate Investor…you MUST TREAT it like a business.
The ONLY way around this is to be fair, but FIRM – you must learn to stand your ground, and as weird as it is to say – your tenants will actually RESPECT you for that. There won’t be any miscommunications, expectations will be managed, and the entire framework of your lease will not only give your tenants a great place to live…BUT YOU the compensation you need to stay in business. Ideally, this should be a win-win for everyone involved – and your tenants will know EXACTLY what to expect, and what you must give THEM in return for renting your home.

Second, another HUGE mistake I see so many landlords make is by NOT properly screening your tenants.
To start, it’s really important that you always TRUST – BUT VERIFY EVERYTHING THAT THE TENANTS SAY. For me, I begin by having my tenants use the website MySmartMove.com – which gives me a complete background profile of their credit report, score, as well as a residential and criminal background history. If they pass that, I’ll then verify their employment status. I’ll do the same with their residence history. Remember: It’s BETTER to leave your home UNRENTED for an extra month or two, than it is to get a sub-par tenant.

Third, you must ALWAYS abide by the contract.
There really shouldn’t be ANY misunderstandings or unusual interpretations when it comes to a real estate contract, as long as you use a thorough lease agreement for your state…and really, from there…all YOU need to do, as a Landlord, is FOLLOW IT! It sounds so simple, but that 8-10 page contract lays the entire foundation of your job and duties as a property owner – and you’ll be an incredible investor if you just pay attention to what’s written, and stick with it.

Fourth, you will be on call 24/7.
You have to be prepared to get calls and texts at the most random hours for the most random things…and sometimes, that will require you to stop what you’re doing and attend to whatever issue comes up.

Fifth: if something CAN break…it WILL break.
And always make sure you buy high quality, durable materials…rather than cheap, easily breakable materials…because if you don’t do that, you’ll waste a lot of money replacing things that shouldn’t have needed to be replaced, because the tenants will NOT care for it like it’s their own.

Sixth: Real estate is a people business.
Owning rental property is also just as much about effectively communicating with people, learning how to say no, being able to stand your ground, and articulate the details of the contract. AND…at the same time as doing all of that…you need to LISTEN to the other persons concerns and address whatever comes up.

Real estate investing can be absolutely AMAZING for the people who are willing to put in the work and take it seriously…after all, it’s basically what I owe nearly everything to, and what I throw all of my money in each year. But, it isn’t without some growing pains – and these are issues every landlord has to go through at some point or another. But if, at the very least, you can learn from my experiences and not make the same mistakes I did…then at least, my mistakes were not made in vain, and can hopefully save you money…so you’ll have more left over to smash the like button for the algorithm.

For business or one-on-one real estate investing/real estate agent consulting inquiries, you can reach me at GrahamStephanBusiness@gmail.com

*Some of the links and other products that appear on this video are from companies which Graham Stephan will earn an affiliate commission or referral bonus. Graham Stephan is part of an affiliate network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites. The content in this video is accurate as of the posting date. Some of the offers mentioned may no longer be available.


What do you think?


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  1. I forgot all the advice I got from this video and now I have a tenant who has stopped paying rent and is using a room as an air B&B smfh… I have cried so many times about this already

  2. Hey Graham Stephan, I have a question. Has your client with the pot farm in the garage every got a hold of you about you mentioning him in your videos? I know you’ve never mentioned his info, but people will do anything if they think it’ll make them rich out of nowhere

  3. I like dividend investing, so rental properties make a ton of sense to me much more than capital appreciation; especially with a slower, slower appreciation and lack of liquidity.

  4. Graham – 2 questions: do you manage properties through an LLC? How often do you perform property inspections during tenancy? Love your content!

  5. Graham to be fair you probably doubled your profit from your first horrible tenant experience from the videos you put out about him lmfao So you didn't lose money you technically invested it 😂😂😂… Keep up the videos they truly help

  6. When you buy a rental property the first thing you should do is remove the f**** garbage disposal. It will break, stink, clog and just F up.

  7. It's definitely a learn as you go type deal. I've certainly made the mistake of being overly accommodating and "nice" which just led to more entitlement and unnecessary maintenance costs. But overall I waaay love being a landlord over running a painting/contracting business.

  8. we have been organizing tenant unions in my city and threatening rent strikes if our demands are not met so be careful because we wont think twice about bankrupting these landlords and taking over the property as a co-op

  9. So you make about 93600 dollars a year is that all you do or do you have other business to bring in more revenue because it would be nice to retire at 30 and have cash flow coming in every month

  10. as a landowner, I've had nothing but success. I do background checks. But I have another secret: I don't rent to black people. they are automatically disqualified. It may sound raycis, but I'm a minority too, and minorities can't be raycis.

  11. @Graham I definitely smashed the like thumb for this video. Great information man thank you! I am currently at n this Situation where I have my first rental property and I’m hesitant to pull the trigger, (per say) on whether to run it my self or hire a property management co.

  12. This is why my family stopped being landlords. I could tell some of the stories here, but I don't want anyone to feel ill, and I doubt many people would believe them anyway…..unless they have rented out places. In which case they will reply with …."yeah".

  13. My favorite portion, buying durable things tenants can’t destroy. Please do a video with more of purchases or material to put in your rentals. I never even thought about door stopper, duh! I’m in the process of buying my first investment property. Thanks for all you do.

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