The Landlord Character

David Lawrenson of LettingFocus.com looks at the typical character of the successful landlord.

The Landlord Character

What sort of people make successful landlords and residential property investors? Is there a particular character type?

I was mulling this over recently based on the many people I have met who are successful in this business, including those who have come to me seeking starting-up advice and also guidance to see whether they are doing the “landlord thing” right.

It occurred to me that there is a difference between people who are successful landlords and other people who are not landlords.

Interestingly, many people who have just one or two let properties often do not define themselves as landlords, even though that is a part of what they do in life (along with their day job, of course). But I would say that once you have two let properties, then you can and should define yourself as a landlord, even if the actual job of finding and managing tenants has been delegated in full to a letting agent. After all, you will still need to take decisions about refurbishments, filing accounts and admin and you should be occasionally checking that the letting agent is still doing a good job for you – and is value for money.

So, what is the landlord character?

Well, firstly, they are usually people who have never been happy just being wage slaves and ticking along in a job waiting for their pension. They value the independence that investing in property gives them, the alternative source of income that the boss at the day job need not know about.

They tend to be people who have always looked after their money – carefully investing it in good investments that produce a good return. And that often means other things than property too. Many have large ISA portfolios, often in shares, rather than cash assets, though many hold bank and governments bonds too.

They tend to be highly organized people, who work methodically through things and they also have a high level of attention to detail and are not bad at record keeping.

Being likeable and good with people also counts too. They tend to be as good with tenants as they are with suppliers and tradespeople. And they understand the value of clarity in communication as well as working with other people who can bring in skills they don’t have. They are rarely loners.

Their “BS” detector is always good. They are good at figuring out who will make good tenants. But they always back their intuition up with thorough checks too. They don’t take risks.

The good landlords read up on their subject – understanding all the many rules and regulations that now govern the landlord’s life. Always on the look out to minimise costs and get a good deal, they always carefully research what are the best deals on mortgages and on supplies, whether that is larger ticket items like a new kitchen or smaller purchases.

And finally, they just love property. They love the idea of their own nice home and they enjoy giving a good home to paying and deserving tenants too, who they see primarily as their customers, who have a choice whether to take or leave the product they offer.

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We advise a range of organisations including banks, building societies, local authorities, social housing providers, institutional investors and insurers. We help them develop and improve their services and products for private landlords. David Lawrenson, founder of LettingFocus, also writes for property portals, speaks at property events and is regularly quoted by the media.

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