By Ryan Stephens | www.Kepler.Properties
Owning rental properties and making passive income is just about every real estate investor’s dream. But fulfilling that objective can be a lot of work. Problems with the tenant or with the property tend to arise at the most inconvenient times. Faulty plumbing, leaky ceilings, malfunctioning garage door openers, and broken laundry machines are just a few of the headaches a landlord might face in the day-to-day operations of a property. And what about the tenants themselves? Late payments, and destruction of property can create time consuming legal problems. If issues such as these don’t frighten you, congratulations, you’re ready to manage property.
If, however, you’re still on the fence and you’re not quite sure if hiring someone to manage your rental is right for you, take a look below at our list of reasons to use a property management company.
Tenant screening is kind of like the TSA of renting property. It helps you evaluate all the baggage a tenant has in their history to determine if they’re a good choice for your property. A good property management company can flush out all the warning signs to protect the landlord from individuals with shaky credit, troublesome criminal or employment history, and professional tenants (those who know how to work the legal system and stay in the property at your expense). A good screening will include:
- Rental History
- Criminal History
- Background Check
- Credit Check
- Interview (at the prospective tenant’s current residence)
When a management company conducts the screening, you’ll be protected from discrimination lawsuits as well. You’re also more likely to get a tenant who’ll pay on time and cause fewer problems.
There’s nothing more important than your time. Driving back and forth to properties for issues large and small, collecting rents/deposits, and performing inspections, although important, may not be the best use of your time as an investor. The further you have to travel, the higher your expenses will be. In addition to the routine visits and maintenance calls, working through evictions and other legal woes will severely impact your schedule. A good property manager will not only assist in managing the legal headaches, but they’ll likely help you avoid them in the first place. If you have multiple units or properties, the amount of time required managing them all increases exponentially.
Low Property Vacancy
Working with a professional to get your property rented can save you money and increase profit. A good property manager will:
- Make suggestions on how you can improve the property for marketing and maximum rental revenue.
- Market your property effectively and increase the number of applicants/candidates in a short amount of time. They’ll know the most effective places to post ads for your property and the most impactful language to use in the description.
- Field calls and host property showings on your behalf. If you don’t have the time to walk your property with potential tenants, they’ll move on to another property.
- Conduct research to determine a rent rate that’s fair for you and will get your property rented quickly. If the rent is too low you’ll miss out on profit, if it’s too high the property will stay vacant.
Lets be honest, when you rent your property you’re entrusting a total stranger with its welfare. Managing this relationship can be challenging. Although it may seem like a great idea to get to know your tenant and establish a friendly relationship, you may find it difficult to confront them if they’re not holding up their end of the bargain. The urge to be sympathetic to another’s circumstances is human nature. Working with a management company allows you to “keep it business” and maintain a “no excuses and no exceptions” level of professionalism. The tenant understands the property manager’s obligation to make sure the lease terms are fulfilled. It’s their job.
Working with a property management company makes it easy to set expectations and execute in an efficient and routine manner. Collecting rent when you have time, and handling maintenance calls when you can get to it gives the tenant an excuse to not be timely on their end as well. Non-negotiable and on time collection of rent is the only way to maintain consistent cash-flow. Utilizing a property management service will take the pressure off of you in enforcing the renter’s obligation to submit payment on time every month.
There are strict laws governing the relationship between a tenant and a landlord. Understanding these laws and incorporating them correctly and effectively into the relationship between landlord and tenant requires experience. A good property manager understands the law and can help shield you from liability if you are sued. They’ll also have procedures in place for avoiding or managing troublesome situations such as evictions.
If you’re evaluating your options and trying to determine if you need property management, make sure you’re completely honest about your time and capabilities. Do you have the time to manage the needs of a tenant? Can you evict an individual or family down on their luck? Are you knowledgeable enough of the accounting, record keeping, tax deductions, and laws governing the handling of an investment property and the landlord-tenant relationship? Can you afford the cost of a management company and still cash-flow?
Let us know your experiences and thoughts on managing property or working with a property management company!