It’s never too early to share the gift of knowledge with our future generation of landlords, property management professionals, and investors. Beyond showing up for the once-a-year career day at school, you can be teaching kids about the rental industry in a natural and progressive way every day. Passing on your knowledge and experience may excite them to the possibilities of making property management and investing their career path. Not only are you building a portfolio that supports your family but also designing a lasting legacy by finding ways to incorporate learning opportunities for your kids along the way.
Approach to teaching kids about the rental industry
Age and interest — Take into consideration the age of your children and their interest levels. Try to introduce topics and skill practice that is age-appropriate so as not to over or underwhelm them. It’s about creating positive associations so that one day they can consider making this industry their career choice.
Not a once-and-done conversation — as they grow and develop and throughout their time at home you have the opportunity to create moments of discussion and learning. If you’re interested in passing down your knowledge and rental experience so that property management or investing are natural options when they are adults, then make it a natural part of your interactions. Bring them into the conversation, discuss the highs and lows, and the rewards and challenges you encounter.
Ways to bring real estate investing and property management to life
If your children are very young, it begins with play. Make sure the learning play environment is:
- … and FUN
Building and Construction Toys
For the very young, building toys and household items that can be used for construction (cardboard boxes for example) and other building materials are perfect for learning about design, engineering, and use imagination to practice role-playing real-life scenarios.
When your kids want to build that fort, playhouse, or large construction building, consider incorporating property management or rental concepts into their playtimes like repairs and maintenance and collecting rents.
To be completely immersive, give them fake money they can use to budget for and purchase supplies from you. Then, suggest they rent out their creation to a sibling or back to you. Help them make a rental agreement, explain maintenance requests, and then have them sell their property when they are done playing.
For example, playing ‘restaurant’ can take on another level. Someone can play the role of the landlord while another the restaurant owner. If there are only two of you, you can be both the landlord and banker. From providing the building loan to financing the restaurant, kids can learn how the cycle of industry works. Profits earned from the restaurant would then get distributed to the landlord who would then need to pay for repairs, mortgage, etc.
Games and Simulations
The classic game of Monopoly comes to mind first. Sterline White in his article, 4 Monopoly Concepts That Can Help You in Real Estate Investing explains that the game teaches how to think long term and the importance of location. Those skills along with understanding the value of real estate and the art of negotiations can be shared with your children.
Many gaming apps these days teach life skills so why not let your kids learn a bit about property management, investing, construction, and the like during their device time?
Remember to always research and try out any games before letting your children play to ensure age and interest are appropriate.
Fortnite might not come to mind traditionally for learning investment skills but Fortnite does help children learn teamwork and collaboration as well as budgeting.
Niblebit.com offers multiple games for both iOS and Android that kids can play to learn about building, investing, and business such as:
- LEGO® Tower
- Bit City
- Tiny Tower
Similar to Monopoly, JellyButton offers a game called Board Kings where kids can play with friends and family to build a city for their virtual bunnies.
For teens and young adults (and for us adults who are kids at heart) there are some investment and property management simulator games available.
Be aware that MMO (massively multiplayer online) and MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing games) may not be suitable for all age groups. Additionally, they may have in-app purchases and the ability to interact with other adults so may not be suitable for children.
Job Shadowing and Mentors
Your kids are always watching and listening to the adults around them. If you are in the real estate industry at any touchpoint, they are learning by extension. You can accelerate that process by encouraging your children to job shadow you and other industry professionals.
Consider creating a mentorship program like Project Destined, a nonprofit program that teaches inner-city students the fundamentals of real estate development and investing within their own community.
It’s important to be transparent about the challenges and opportunities that come in the rental industry. However, be ever mindful about communicating negatively or venting about tenants, investors, owners, vendors, etc.. in the earshot of children. Kids aren’t able to understand those complex concerns and may associate your stress and negativity with the industry.
Business Ideas for Kids
Successful landlords own the entrepreneurial spirit and that attitude can be fostered by helping your kids find ways to earn money and start their own businesses. Some popular businesses for kids are:
- Selling homemade items
- Lemonade stand
- Chore helper
Owning and growing a small business will give them life skills and help them find ways to create a savings fund for their first investment. After they’ve saved, consider partnering with your children on a property to learn ‘on-the-job’ like this father-son partnership:
Property Management Careers and Investment Opportunities to Discuss
- Storage Units and Parking Garages
- Vacation rentals
- Single family homes
- Multi-family dwellings such as apartment complexes and condominiums
- Corporate housing
- Commercial property such as restaurants, office buildings, etc.
- Mobile and Modular Home Lots
- Fix and Flip (BRRRR)
- REIT and REMF
Topics, Skills, and Character Traits to Explore
There are games, books, toys, and other methods to help your kids understand different aspects of the rental business. The learning opportunities are endless in helping your kids understand what you do for a living or getting them interested in other aspects of the rental industry.
For inspiration, here are some topics, character traits, and practical skills to explore with your kids:
Real Estate and Financial Topics
- Home buying
- Landlord responsibilities
- Tenant Life-Cycle
- How money can work for you
- Assets versus possessions
- Supply and demand, supply chains
Practical and Professional Skills
- Phone etiquette, conflict resolution, communications
- Typing, filing, data-entry, analysis
- Construction, drafting, architecture, sewer, plumbing
- Renovations, maintenance, repairs
- Financial literacy, bookkeeping, reading reports, budgeting, costs, savings, taxes
Talk with your kids about your career choice and goals. Demonstrate the character traits they need to succeed when they are adults. Lead and teach them by your drive, attitude, and example.
Although it’s cliche, our children are our future. They will be our future landlords, property management company owners, property management professionals, and investors. Giving them the education, experience, and skills early is a gift to our next generation.