If you are a homeowner who needs to rent out their home, or an investor who is acquiring a property, here are some important things to consider whether professional property management is the right choice for you.
Professional property management is much more than just collecting the rent month-after-month and distributing the proceeds to the owner, and conversely, a car is a car which will get you from point A to point B, but it’s all about the reliability!
A good Property Manager will be “on top of things” related to the upkeep and maintenance of your home. They will be in contact with your tenant to make sure any minor issues don’t become costly repairs over time. That takes diligence and effort, and a good Property Manager will make sure that the value in your home is protected. A good Property Manager will schedule a “walk through” with the tenant at least twice a year to make sure the interior of the house is in good shape. This includes doors, windows, fixtures, sinks, toilets, appliances, paint, walls, etc. And, every so often, do a visual “drive-by” of your property to make sure the landscaping and exterior look good.
A good Property Manager will make timely recommendations that can result in increased value. That individual will have a consortium of licensed Contractors, Handymen, and Trades people to insure that your property is well maintained over time.
Your Property Manager should know and care about you enough, not to run to you every time your property needs a new sprinkler head or toilet kit replacement. Your Property Manager should also be skilled at pushing back on a tenant who has frivolous requests like sending out an electrician to change a lightbulb.
I managed a property last year, where the tenant, a Yoga Instructor called to tell me that the front door handle was difficult to open and that she hurt her hand trying to open the door over repeated tries. Of course, she didn’t tell me when she first encountered this problem. She wanted me to send out a locksmith to change out the very expensive door hardware. Anyway, I advised her to spray a shot of WD-40 into the mechanism. Problem solved!
Property management, when done right is a labor of love. If you don’t have a Property Manager that will manage your property as if it were their own, “don’t hire them!” In fact, in the end, an incompetent Property Manager will cause more problems than solve.
There are those owners and investors that feel confident in managing their own properties, but here are a few important things to think about before you make that decision. First of all, do you want to be the one who takes the call from your panicked tenant at 11:00 PM on a Saturday night with an overflowing sink or toilet? Who are you going to call to get out there to look at it? Your professional Property Manager takes those calls, calms down the tenant, and knows exactly who to call that will either be out there that evening, or can talk to your tenant directly to advise them on how to turn off the valve.
Are you confident in performing the “due diligence” in making the right decision when renting your home? This means being well versed in fair housing laws, running the proper background checks, credit reports, and calling references. In this State, a wrong decision can be aggravating, not to mention costly.
A good Property Manager knows the market and can help you in obtaining the most rent you can for the area and condition your home is in. Also, they can adviser you on rent raises over time. This takes research and access to data that only a licensed Realtor or Realtor/Broker can obtain.
If you have a difficult tenant who is consistently delinquent with the rent, or has stopped paying, do you want to deal with it? Posting the proper notices and filing the paperwork? This is very difficult to do because you chose your own tenant, probably developed a friendship of sorts, and it’s really tough to be the “heavy”. This is one compelling reason to choose professional property management. You need to have distance between yourself and your tenant, and that’s what property management provides.
At the end of the day, professional property management is an excellent value. Your Property Manager should provide you with monthly and yearly statements along with any itemizations that can easily be used by your Accountant for tax purposes. And while we’re mentioning tax professionals, yours can advise you on any deductions you may be eligible for related to property management fees, maintenance, etc.