The world is full of do-it-yourselfers (DIY’s). Home Depot rode the backs of your nine-to-fiver’s who decided to break out the tool belt and buy a miter saw instead of the latest titanium driver. HGTV is building a content empire with home-fix-it up shows to inspire the DIY’s. The beauty of these projects are that we can do them on our schedule, at our pace, and at a quality level acceptable to us. Renting a property though involves more than just yourself. So the question is do you want to do-it-yourself or do you need a property management company?
To decide there are a limitless number of questions you need to answer depending upon your specific situation. Today we’re going to look at five of the top questions to answer to help decide if your need a property management company.
If you live in Norcross and have a rental property in John’s Creek or even Marietta that’s not a big deal. On weekends you can get from your home to your property in under 30 minutes, give or take an orange cone or two on 285. But what if your rental property is in Birmingham, AL? Now you’re looking at a 2-3 hour drive. Suddenly simply checking up on your property is going to be a 6 hour plus commitment.
Distance is a huge factor to determine if you should do it on your own or get help from a property management company. You have to look at your family, social and business life to see if you have the time to commit to actively managing your property. When you do it alone passivity is not an option.
If you own a single property and its in close proximity to where you live that’s not a huge issue. What if you have five properties, ten or even more. Now you’re looking at having to commit more of your time to inspecting, managing, maintaining etc. Even if the units are within a short distance of each other, the time commitment can be overwhelming. Add distance into the equation and you’re approaching the impossible, unless managing your properties is your only job.
An empty property represents dollars flowing out of your pockets. Sure the property may be appreciating but that’s long-term. In the short-term your paying a mortgage and maintenance costs which can be a significant out-flow of cash. Knowing how to market your property is critical to maximizing occupancy. Should you place an ad in an online or offline source, network with real estate professionals, tap into your social network… You have to be constantly working on how you are going to find the next tenant. And you must have a process in place to pre-screen tenants.
What happens if a tenant suddenly disappears, do you have a quick solution to fill your property. You have to be ready at a moments notice so once again the choice of whether or not to do it yourself revolves around having the knowledge, experience, time and dollars to market your property. If you have 5, 10 or even more than the time and costs are multiplied.
Managing and maintaining rental properties is different from doing the same with your own property. You have a responsibility to the tenants to ensure that you are providing a livable space. Projects that you put off in your own home have to be addressed immediately in a rental property. If the phone rings in the middle of the night you have to be prepared to handle the issue yourself or at least have a plan in place to delegate resolving the issues to a third-party.
Are you good at organizing? You’ll need to schedule maintenance appointments, coordinate needed repairs and put time aside to at least periodically inspect the property. Plus, what happens if the tenant fails to pay the rent? Now you need to possibly get into the collections or eviction process.
All of these things take time that you have to be able to have available if doing it by yourself.
With a rental property you have rights and responsibilities under the law. These laws are primarily governed by your state and vary from state to state. If you have properties in multiple states then you need to have a clear understanding of rules and regulations in each. If you are in Georgia we recently posted a blog that touches on the legal aspects titled Georgia Lease and Rental Agreements Law.
Like most choices in life, whether or not you need a property management company comes down to time and money. If you do it yourself it will cost you more time, and maybe more money if you make some mistakes. If you choose to hire a property manager, there is a cost to that. As far as time it depends upon if you make a good selection as making the wrong choice could cost you time as well.
GSPM assists property owners and investors in maximizing revenue potential while minimizing the hassles in marketing and managing their properties. We recognize that there are a lot of factors that go into making a property a successful investment and put our experience and knowledge to work for you. Call us at 404-254-4502 or complete our Fast Form to learn more about our services.