Some experts say you should not hire property management until your second investment property; that the first rental unit is a training ground, of sorts, to alert you to the type of tasks a property manager needs to tend to, and to better guide your future selection of property management. Unless you think you’d be horrible at it or simply don’t have the time to devote to proper management. In that case, it might be better to hire a professional company from the beginning. In any event, a good property manager should be able to handle the following five rental duties.
1. Completing or Arranging for Property Repairs: Any rental property is going to need repairs at some point and, in order to keep a happy tenant sending you money every month, it’s in your best interest that the property management resolve them quickly and efficiently. If the manager can’t personally complete the repairs, he should have maintenance men on call who can.
2. Preventative Maintenance: Maintaining value in your rental property is all about keeping up with maintenance. Any property neglected for long will start to show its age before its time, and finding quality tenants to move into a shabby house can be problematical. Your property management team should create a regular schedule for maintenance and upkeep.
3. Inspections: Oh, how the government does love to require inspections of premises, especially those involved in the rental market. Your property manager should know the local building code requirements and make sure not to let one slip by. Unless you like paying fines, of course.
4. Paperwork: Another managerial task that should not be overlooked is keeping up with all tax paperwork related to the property and any other necessary filings. While not completely onerous, renting property does create regular paperwork above and beyond that of a house you plan to live in and your manager should stay on top of this task as well.
5. Collecting Rent: This is a pretty important duty. Property management should have in place an effective system for collecting rent, especially the late-payers, and depositing it promptly into your account. A related duty is to advertise vacancies and take prospective tenants on a tour of available units.
After reading this list, you might decide that you absolutely do not want anything to do with the management of your own property. It’s really a matter of different strokes for different folks. If you have the time and skills, perhaps you can tend to these matters yourself and save the 10% property management fee. Then again, maybe that’s a small amount to pay for the large number of managerial headaches removed.
The MHP Listings Team
Flickr / Mr. Thomas