Most real estate investors say that you should never become friends with your tenants. This could lead to problems in the future. Your friends could potentially take advantage of the situation and do things like being late on rent. They do this because they know you would never do anything to them. It's totally fine to be friendly with your tenants of course, but just be sure and be firm with what you told them up front. You cannot let them slide on things like being a few days late on rent because it will eventually become a pattern which could lead to headaches down the road.
You have to remember that you aren't letting them live in your property for free, you have bills to pay yourself. Don't let them take advantage of your generosity and eventually leave you in a financial burden.
So what can you do to eliminate problems with your tenants?
Some property investors do prefer to manage their own properties and they will often pick up the rent in person. This way they can see what kind of condition the property is in. They can see if there are any things that need to be fixed and they can bring up any concerns that they have with how the property is being treated.
Other investors choose to set up a post office box to receive their rent. This way your tenants do not know where you live and can't be a nuisance at your home. This is also wise if you live a good distance away from where your investment property is. Some tenants see long distance as an opportunity to neglect the property more. They know the landlord will not be checking up on them as much due to the distance.
Block the caller ID. This happens all the time. The tenants are late on the payments and low and behold, they won't answer their phone when you call. Blocking the phone number will help with this. I even know investors who purchase calling cards so the tenants will have no idea who is calling and answer the phone. This cannot be stressed enough....You don't want your tenants to know where you live, don't tell them. Real estate investing is a business for you so treat it like one.