Hardest Part of the Job

We recently had a client ask what we thought was the toughest part of our jobs as Realtors.  Both of us paused for a moment, and almost simultaneously said “Having to ask a person to move, or evicting a tenant.”

At Terrace, we own and manage over 400 residential rental properties on the Mid-Peninsula.  We feel property management is possibly one of the most misunderstood and difficult aspects to a career in real estate.  This is because it involves both specific business skills and interacting with people on a personal level.

Most of the time, most tenants are wonderful, hardworking people.  We all have ups and downs in our daily personal lives.  Sometimes these challenges can spill over and interfere with day to day living activities.  Occasionally, maintenance issues can lead to conflicts between the property manager and the tenant.  This is why it is so important that both parties try to do their best to cooperate with one another and get along. 

When we first meet with a perspective tenant and are getting acquainted and drawing the paperwork involved in the renting process, they often say “I hope everything works out.”  A simple response we tell people is that there are basically three things that stand out as being most important.  When renting; first, pay your rent on time.  Secondly, get along with your neighbors. And finally, be neat and clean.  If you do those three things, most likely everything will work out fine for everyone. When we are forced to give someone a 60 day notice to vacate, it is usually due to a violation of one of these items.    

Understandably, emotions can run high in these problem situations.  Often tenants become very angry and sometimes disgruntled.  Situations get personal when they shouldn’t be.  Everybody needs to understand that owning real estate and renting it out is a business, and the owners have large sums of money invested in the property.  At the same time the “place you call home” is very personal and important to the tenant. 

Asking people to move, and making monthly rent cost adjustments, are certainly a couple of the toughest parts of the rental and leasing aspect to our real estate business.  Believe us, when we say we really do not look forward to having to evict anyone.  Fortunately, most of our property management duties are reasonable and stress free, and there are many enjoyable and satisfying facets to the real estate profession.


This article was originally written for and appears in the San Francisco Examiner. Eric Ruxton and Larry Aikins are the owners of Terrace Realty Inc. and Terrace Associates Inc., in Redwood City. Terrace has been in business for  60 years and in addition to being an independent Brokerage Company, also owns and operates rental properties.