Owning a rental property is a multi-faceted investment. It can be a low-key side income, an all-encompassing career, or something else along that spectrum. One of the first things you have to decide is what kind of landlord you’re able to and willing to be. With that consideration a question will arise: Should I hire a property manager?
Time and distance, the number of properties, job demands, and your abilities should all factor into your decision. Some may be able to balance all of these things, but it’s difficult and can end up costing money and devaluing your investment. Focusing on these aspects may help you decide if working with a property manager, whose job is to maintain the value or possibly grow your investment, will be the key to your success as a landlord.
Is Your Property Close to Home?
Managing a rental property is a 24-hour business. Whether you’re able to devote that time may depend on how close you live to your property. Any renter or homeowner knows that small problems can turn into big ones quickly which makes living any real distance from the property a challenge.
Being able to check in with your tenants regularly gives them a sense of belonging and can provide you with peace of mind that your property is well cared for. But put any distance between yourself and the property, and it becomes difficult to take the time needed to check in. A property manager can be useful if the distance is a factor. A good property manager will be able to check in regularly and communicate with you if something goes wrong.
Time Spent Traveling is Time Away from Loved Ones
Depending on your family life and the time you devote to friends can make traveling to your rental property a chore. If a tenant were in need, a single landlord would be required to leave an important event or interrupt a quiet evening at home.
With a trusted property manager any incident can be handled with little to no input from you as a landlord. You can discuss what should be taken care of and you can be kept in the loop as much as you would like to be without having to disrupt that precious time with those you love.
Do you own more than one property?
This is a no-brainer. If you own more than one property, then a property manager is your best asset. It will ensure your properties are well maintained, and tenants cared for. A property manager can be a wise investment with one rental to manage but is exponentially more valuable the more properties you attain.
Are You Part of the 9-5 Daily Grind?
Many who own rental properties are doing so in addition to a full-time job which can make a property manager all the more beneficial, if not downright necessary. No matter your career, interruptions at work are usually not looked well upon by employers. Leaving at a moment’s notice or even taking a phone call can be a liability.
With a property manager, those immediate needs can be met and allow you to focus solely on your work. It’s important to stay informed no matter your style of ownership, but a good property manager will communicate with you on your schedule in a way that won’t cause you to stress during your work day.
Do you Have the Skills?
Being a “hands-on” landlord means being a bit of a renaissance man or woman. Landlordology.com asks, “Do you have the necessary KSA’s? These include light maintenance, resources for larger repairs, and knowledge of best practices. When managing your property, your renters only have one source to turn to—that’s you. Whether it’s a leaky faucet, gathering delinquent paperwork, or something severe, you’re on your own.
A good property manager, however, will already have the basic skills and the resources to handle the day-to-day issues as well as the larger problems that may arise. Depending on your abilities and availability you’ll want to work with a property manager that understands handy work, has built relationships with multiple types of contractors and is organized with their paperwork.
Do You Work Well with Others?
Another set of “skills” is working with people. Often this is overlooked, but it’s in your best interest to consider this when you imagine your role as landlord. Do you feel comfortable with a diverse group of people? Can you handle confrontation, say with a tenant that needs to be evicted? Are you able to get the best work out of people while maintaining a friendly and professional relationship like when working with a contractor?
Many of the tasks of being a landlord are something that can be learned, or at least understood, but working with people is an entirely different animal. Being a people person doesn’t cut it; you must have the patience and the drive to negotiate with contractors and handle issues that arise with tenants respectfully, but also in a way that doesn’t allow them to take advantage of you. A property manager would have these skills. They are at the heart of keeping renters happy, your property in good condition, and money in your pocket.
Do You Know all of Your Laws, Ordinances, and Regulations?
This aspect of property ownership is probably the most difficult to tackle. Each state will have different property laws, something to highly consider if you are in a different state than where you’re renting. Then there are local city ordinances your tenants must obey, which can run the gamut of parking, noise, pets, landscaping, and persons allowed in a particular type of household. Of course, it’s in your best interest to have an overall idea of these rules. The information is readily available but utilizing the information to protect your tenants, and your investment could prove difficult.
However, they pale in comparison to the legal ramifications of being a part of affordable housing programs. These programs can leave you swimming in paperwork that is complex, to say the least, and is something that must be evaluated continuously with your renters.
Add that to the mix and suddenly managing your property means becoming a walking encyclopedia, Jack of all trades, having your fingers in a lot of pies, and all the plates spinning in the air. There aren’t enough figures of speech to cover them. What can cover them is a competent and capable property manager.
Wanting to invest in a rental property can mean different things to different people, and that’s okay. It can be a fulfilling hands-on project, a simple way of increasing your monthly income, or something between the two. Working with a property management company can help you succeed in whatever type of landlord you choose to be.
If you find yourself wanting to invest in a rental property but overwhelmed by time, distance, having a full-time job, or knowing all of the ins and outs of renting, then you owe it to yourself to download your free guide to finding the right property manager for you.