The phone rings in the middle of the night. The roof is leaking, or the furnace isn’t working, there are bugs in the kitchen, or a tree has fallen in the yard. It’s your property and these are your tenants, relying on you to keep their living space pleasant, and legally livable. Nothing is open. Repair people aren’t available. The stress is all yours and it’s not what you had planned when you rented out this property.
You may have purchased it as an investment or retirement plan, or perhaps you inherited a home and would like income to flow from it without too much work on your part, but quickly enough reality sets in. There is a lot more to this than you predicted.
Prospective tenants should be investigated before renting. There are legal requirements. People don’t pay the rent and you have to go collect it. Things break and have to be fixed. The renters bring friends in to live and smoke even when you ask them not to. The list seems endless. Each time they move out, there are carpets to be replaced, cleaning required and painting to be done. You haven’t set aside enough money. It’s time to advertise again and choose a new tenant.
Property managers take care of things, so you don’t have to. They are paid a percentage of the rent you collect, so it’s easy to factor in what they cost. Here are a few reasons to consider hiring a property management company:
Modern Technology – It’s likely you don’t own the programs that property management companies own. It’s expensive and sometimes complicated. Vacancies must be listed, rent can be paid automatically, and tenants screened online.
Legal Liability – Property managers spend time in annual seminars and belong to associations that keep them up to date on the latest laws. Making a mistake in this business can cost you.
Expense Management – Money should be set aside for unforeseen repairs and long- term improvements. To keep your property asset growing in value, it must be looked after. In addition, deciding how much rent to charge is a science, not something to estimate. Managers know how to compare market values, watch trends, and analyze locations.
Peace of Mind – Decide how you want to spend your time. If you’re already working, managing a property is like adding another job. If you travel or don’t live near the dwelling, it will be hard to take care of at a distance. If you like quiet evenings, you may not get them if you have to take care of emergencies.
Regular Inspections – Having another set of eyes on your property is a great way to solve problems before they become big ones and keep tenants happy. Inspections should always be done between tenancies, and at least a quarterly drive-by.
Ready Maintenance Teams – A good property management company has a team of maintenance specialists on call or in-house to take care of every emergency that comes up, leaving your time free.
Research rental management companies before you choose! Interview them, look up their websites and find out what their reputation is. If they haven’t been around very long, they may not know the local market. Professional property managers will serve you well for years as you grow your asset.