Being a landlord is hard work, especially if you’re overseeing day-to-day management of the rental properties. Here’s what you need to consider before diving in to DIY property management or choosing to hire a pro.
How much rental property do you own?
A property management company may be the best solution if you own multiple properties. Multiple rentals will produce multiple requests for repairs, along with regular maintenance, rent collection, showing and leasing, and updating units in between occupants. On the other hand, if you own a single rental, you might be able to handle the job, especially if you have a flexible work schedule and the skills to do some of the work yourself.
Are you willing and able to do the job right?
If you’re juggling a full-time job and family responsibilities, property management might be too much of a time commitment. Plumbing emergencies come at all times of day and night and tenants expect a timely response. Another thing to consider is your handyman skill set. If home repairs aren’t your thing, why not leave it to the pros? Location should also be a factor. If you live more than a few miles away, the job becomes more difficult.
What can you expect from the pros?
Management firms should be able to demonstrate an excellent response time to tenant requests. An online request system goes a long way toward making the repair process convenient. Communication is key between tenant and management — as well as management and owner. Ask how many other properties are under management to get an idea how much attention your properties will be given. Also ask about the firm’s team of contractors and whether the company is properly insured. Ask about management fees, and then remember to build those into the rent charged tenants.
Hiring your brother-in-law or best friend to be your property manager is a bad idea unless that’s their area of expertise. Treat your rentals as a business.