If you are considering investing in a rental property, you may have considered hiring a property management company once you buy. While some owners are successful managing their own properties, the daily responsibilities and stress of management can be overwhelming, and many property managers prefer to dedicate their time to other endeavors. Many owners find entrusting their properties to a management company leads to better quality of life for themselves, and smoother operation of their properties. This three part series goes over a number of important questions to ask yourself, to determine if hiring a management company is right for you. This first part is aimed at those who don't currently own properties, but are considering purchasing.
How far from home is the property?
If you'll be buying a property close to your primary residence, management is typically easier. You'll be able to visit the property frequently, and take care of things like maintenance, inspections, and rent collection without much time or trouble. But if your property is far away from your home, visiting the property can become a significant drain on your time, especially if you need to do it frequently. Many owners who manage do regular visits once or twice a month, and occasionally need to visit the property on short notice to deal with emergencies. If you're buying a property far from home, a management company is probably a good idea.
How well do you handle stress?
If you are comfortable dealing with stressful situations, you'll have an easier time managing your own property. But think about dealing with things like tenants engaging in illegal activities on your property, having domestic disputes, violating HOA rules, or trying to sue you. If thoughts like these give you an immediate feeling of stress, it may be best to hire a management company. No matter how thorough you are with background checks, interviews, and checking with previous landlords, you'll eventually end up dealing with a situation like these.
Are you experienced with repairs and maintenance?
Maintenance and repairs are inevitably a big part of property management. Do you have the skills, tools, and know-how to maintain a property? And if not, do you know who to hire to handle repairs and maintenance for you? Finding reliable, trustworthy, reasonably priced contractors for repair and maintenance is no easy task. A good management company will have a network of repair and maintenance pros that they've worked with before, and will know who does the best work for the best price.
Can you be on call 7 days a week, 24 hours a day?
It's tempting to think emergencies will be a very rare occurrence, but they may happen more than you think. As an owner and manager, it's your responsibility to deal with crises right away, whenever they happen. And you need to be able to handle them regardless of anything else you may have happening in your life. Management companies generally have a team of managers, meaning there will always be someone available on call to deal with emergencies. And they'll typically have a network of plumbers, HVAC specialists, and other professionals that can respond to emergencies quickly.