This section is from the book "Practical Real Estate Methods For Broker, Operator & Owner", by Thirty Experts. Also available from Amazon: Practical Real Estate Methods for Broker, Operator, Owner.
The second essential to success in the management of property is the wise owner. Let it be remembered first of all that the agent is the instrument for the accomplishment of the owner's will. It is the owner's right to pursue with his property what course he pleases. He may desire it to be managed on liberal lines, giving good tenants practically whatever they want in the nature of repairs, keeping the property in the best of condition, installing new and up-to-date appointments as fast as they are discovered and approved. Many owners make money by this method.
Other owners will pursue quite an opposite course. They conceive that every dollar spent upon the property is so much withdrawn from their legitimate income. To them the tenant who wants repairs is a destructive enemy.
They will sometimes insist that nothing whatever be expended during long periods. Such men usually exact the highest rent possible to obtain, often overreaching and injuring their own interests by these methods.
Whatever attitude the owner takes upon these and kindred questions, it is the agent's business to stand with him and, if he can, execute his will. Let him fairly and plainly show the owner the consequences of an unwise course, exhibit the success of those who follow different methods, and thus bring him if possible to a saner and more healthful view, but let him go no further than he can carry the owner with him. The groundwork of a successful relation between principal and agent is confidence on the part of the principal and loyalty on the part of the agent.
Agents should observe each individual owner with care, and patiently develop his thought toward himself and the enterprises in which they are mutually interested. Teach the overindulgent and too liberal owner to curb his natural propensity and to hold what he has with a tighter fist. Teach if you can the one who goes to the opposite extreme that he but robs himself. Teach the owner who regards his tenants as his natural enemies that his interests and theirs run in parallel lines. When you have shown an owner that he can trust you, insist on his pursuing such a course as does not discredit you with the tenants and the men employed about the property. Let his orders be given through you. The wise owner will magnify the importance of his agent. When he finds himself desiring not to do so, he had better discharge him. Contrariwise, the agent, if he presently finds that he cannot do so and maintain his self-respect, will resign.