As you may know from reading previous posts, I have been self-managing my personal single family rentals since 2019. I chose to do so in order to first assess my abilities to self-manage, understand the work load it would be and determine what needs I would eventually require of my property manager. I even improved processes by creating my own best-practices and systems to minimize headaches.
When I knew it was Time for a Property Manager
I learned a lot during the time of self-managing, but knew that it was time to outsource management when I found myself spending too much time with tenants.
Usually, each month I spend less than an hour or two directly managing my properties. That includes responding to maintenance requests, checking on rental payments/associated fees, coordinating any repairs, etc. The time is minimal. So the headache was not that I was spending too much time on it, but how frustrating it was during the time I spent on self-managing.
As a husband, father of four, working professional, MBA student and investor, I don’t even have time for an hour a month of self-managing rentals, but I made it happen. In pushing through, I found myself frustrated that I had to direct any attention towards these things at all. Knowing from the beginning that these activities characterize working in your business and not on it, I knew that it was time to rethink these activities.
I think I am pretty good at self-managing rentals. I was a leasing agent at a student housing apartment complex in college. But my concern is not about my ability, it is about someone else’s equal or better abilities to manage my rentals. With my limited time, I can now entrust that person to manage my rentals for a small portion of my income and I can forever focus on growing Robinson Capital or other investment classes.
Not to mention, a qualified property manager will do things that are often difficult to do with few resources:
– coordinate repairs
– hold annual property inspections
– manage/respond to tenants
– account statements
Vetting your PM
Below are a few important things to consider when finding and vetting a PM
- You do not wan at your Uncle Charles to be your PM. If you want to do this right, you need a professional.
- Find out their experience in your market with your type of property
- Do not look for the cheapest PM for two reasons:
1) There may be hidden fees
2) You get what you pay for
- Learn of the support being provided by a PM. Do they do annual inspections; will they seek to raise rents with market increases; how will they notify you of maintenance requests/expenses?
It is critical to get a solid feel for the PM, his or her qualifications and how they will manage your property. Just as important is that your expectations are well understood. After selecting the PM, be the squeaky wheel for a few months to ensure that they are giving your property attention and performing against your expectations.
Side note: these tips apply to single families up to the largest apartment complexes.
Scale your business
A skilled property manager is an extension of your team, working on your business when you are not thinking about it. After weighing the above needs and vetting the PM, I knew it was time. What made this search for a good PM relatively painless is that this happens to be the same company that managed tour first place when my wife and I were renters! We recall friendly customer service and timely responsiveness, and that prior experience helped the decision making process. It is also cool to see how in a few seemingly short years, we went from being renters in her portfolio to partnering with our own properties.
This February 2021, I made the decision to make it happen and I already feel free to scale to larger things. I am excited about the newfound freedom to focus in other areas of growth.
As you take your steps to scale by searching for a PM, consider the above. Do not hesitate to contact me with questions based on my experience.
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Rodney Robinson II