Property Management: Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional?

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If you have just bought property and intend to rent it out, you may not realize quite how difficult that task can be. It's easy to hand over the money and sign the dotted line to make the property yours, but running that property, maintaining that property, and getting tenants for that property are a bit more tricky. This is particularly true if you aren't ready to quit your day job to run the place. You might wish to save money by choosing to manage the property, but you could have large maintenance and repair bills in addition to dealing with tenants. See the following differences in what you'll need to do if you choose to hire a professional or if you choose to be your own manager:

Your Basic To-Do List If You Hire a Professional

  • Leasing—Work with your property manage to finalize choices of rent prices and tenants.

  • Maintenance—Ensure there is a bank account or credit card with money for necessary repairs that the property manager either has access or can gain access.

  • Legal—Take the time to understand at least the basic rights of landlords and tenants.

  • Administrative—Make sure that you have adequate insurance for the property.

Your Extensive To-Do List if You Decide To DIY

  • Leasing

    • Determine the price of rent by looking at similar units in the vicinity.

    • Advertise vacant units in the newspaper, online, etc., and update them when needed.

    • Consider completing a 15-minute phone screen with potential applicants before an in-person meeting.

    • Take the time to walk prospective tenants through the show unit and ensure those units are presentable before going so.

    • Fully screen applicants with credit and background checks.

    • Ensure that a trustworthy tenant is chosen and take the time to inform the others that the unit is now vacant.

    • Set and enforce leasing policies, such as security deposit, application fees, etc.

  • Maintenance

    • Ensure that all routine property maintenance, such as gutter cleaning and changing of HVAC filters, is performed on a regular schedule and that any emergency repairs are remedied in a reasonable amount of time.

    • Make certain that the landscape of the property is full maintained at all times. You can hire a service or do it yourself.

    • Ensure that all minor repairs, such as broken windows, are fixed quickly to avoid more expensive repairs in the future.

    • Call and contract service experts when needed, such as for a larger task of a whole-building plumbing leak.

  • Legal

    • Understand Fair Housing laws.

    • Know how to and create a lease that is loophole free.

    • Understand what constitutes a habitable environment.

    • Know who is responsible for repairs (property vs. tenant).

    • Understand your right of entry to the property as the manager and landlord.

    • Know how to legally convict a tenant when necessary, from start to finish.

  • Administrative

    • Collect rent and ensure it is paid on time.

    • Make sure the most appropriate and adequate insurance for the property is obtained.

    • Maintain solid financial records for tax and accounting purposes.

  • Managing Tenants

    • Be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to handle any emergencies that may crop up.

    • Take the time to return phone calls as quickly as possible, even non-emergent ones.

    • Enforce consequences for lease violations.

    • Determine incentives to retain good tenants.

As you can see, there is a lot involved in managing a property. It may just be too much for you to handle all on your own. If you think it is, then contact a local property management company, such as MGR Property Management Inc, for help.