Of the many costs involved in home ownership (or ‘usership’, if renting or leasing), not all costs are financial or monetary in nature. Although funds are of course one of the primary commodities exchanged in owning or renting a home, there are other resources being spent as well.
Energy is a valuable asset, both to individuals and to companies. Despite the impossibility of quantifying just how much energy is available to be spent in a given day, it is an undeniable fact that at some point, all of us run out of it. Time is another finite resource, something we very quickly run out of if not actively protected and effectively used. We only have 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week, and for most home owners/users, there rarely seems to be sufficient hours to get everything done.
Furthermore, attention (also can be thought of as ‘focus’) is a critical piece. Supposing that unlimited time, energy, and even money were readily available, the ability to hone in on as many projects and efforts as possible is still, ultimately, limited. We can only devote our attention to so many things.
The diversity of resources: Money, Energy, Time, and Attention, needs to be explained…all four play a critical role in the decisions related to property management. The reason being is: if money was the only consideration to whether it would be worthwhile to hire a firm to manage one’s property, the answer would be unanimously “no”, 100% of the time. Why
However, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of products or services we pay money for in exchange for more energy, time, and attention. In fact, this process describes the entire gamut of economic interplay: We have certain amounts of each resource, some more than others. In order to acquire an acceptable amount of each, we swap one for another.
For anything and everything we buy, and even do, an exchange occurs, as follows:
1) Time: However many minutes or hours necessary to complete a task or transaction
2) Energy: Whether it is measured scientifically (in calories), or metaphysically (in mood or activity level), a certain amount is spent in order to execute an action
3) Attention: Harder to quantify, but still real and tangible. It is best described as the use of one’s mental focus, or being on the front of one’s mind, in order to accomplish a more important goal, rather than a less important one
4) Money: Dollars and cents being removed from one’s ownership
For instance: Years ago, if a family wanted to rent a movie, it necessitated a drive to the video store, which included:
1) The number of minutes to drive there, select and purchase the movie, and drive back
2) The difference of activity level between before the trip and after (more tired, more irritated, etc.)
3) The focus used on renting the movie, rather than cooking dinner or mowing the lawn.
4) The cost of the movie rental, the price of fuel used, and even the wear and tear on the vehicle
Since then, the founders of Netflix and other online movie streaming companies have come to the realization that most movie renters would be willing to allocate a few more financial resources ($7.99/month versus approx. $2.99 per movie) in order to expend less time (minutes going to store and back), energy (difference in mood before and after trip to store) and attention (brain capacity to accomplish another goal, like checking email). Exploiting this simple shift in commodity allocation has helped create movie and video streaming into a multi-million dollar industry.
As this relates to owning or renting a home, it may require a heavier allocation of monies to hire a property management firm, but if doing so yields significant returns of time (hours spent filling vacancies and dealing with tenants), energy (fatigue from performing yard work and home improvements), and attention (handing an eviction, or researching home specifications, HOA restrictions, and legal building code), it may be worth one’s while. With this or any other significant financial decision, remember that more than just money is at stake, and by taking all applicable resources into consideration, a better overall and final outcome will occur.
Written by Clif, a freelance writer for Real Property Management: East Valley