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Should You Hire a Property Manager for Your Rental Home?

hire a property manager image of house with keys

Are you currently renting your single family home or considering turning it into a rental? You might be asking yourself whether or not you should hire a property manager to help, or go all in with DIY landlordship. When making this choice, there are many factors to consider. Here are some key points to help you make the best decision for you.

Time and Availability

  • We are all pressed for time these days. You should consider your own availability. Do you want to dedicate time to managing the property? How much time each month? Being a landlord requires ongoing responsibilities. Tenant screening, rent collection, property maintenance, and handling emergencies all take time. Figure out if you have the time to handle these tasks. Be realistic when you consider your other time commitments. How much time should you expect to spend? Your time will depend on the condition of the home, tenant communication and rent collection, tenant turnover and screening. Tracking your time spent on management will help you in determining if DIY is realistic for you in the long run.

Proximity to the Rental

  • Consider the location of your rental property in relation to where you live. If the property is far away or in a different city, it may be challenging to manage it effectively. Think about cases of emergencies or regular property inspections. Traffic in King and Snohomish counties isn’t doing any of us any favors. Be sure to considering travel time, not just distance. Hiring a local property manager can help bridge the distance gap.

Experience and Expertise

  • Assess your knowledge and experience in property management. Are you familiar with local landlord-tenant laws, maintenance issues, or tenant screening processes? If not, it may be beneficial to hire a property manager who has the expertise to handle these aspects professionally. Being unfamiliar doesn’t mean you can’t pull it off, it just means you’ll need to factor in the learning curve. Sometimes it’s trial by fire, and if you’ve found yourself in over your head, getting professional help may be the right move.

Number of Rental Units

  • If you own multiple rental properties or plan to expand your real estate portfolio, managing all the units on your own can become overwhelming. Hiring a property manager can alleviate the burden and provide scalability as your portfolio grows. Alternatively, some homeowners find that once they have multiple units, they are able to discontinue other commitments and switch to full time management. In that case, more units may be better for your long term investment goals.

Financial Considerations

  • Evaluate the financial aspect of hiring a property manager. Property management fees typically range from 8% to 12% of the monthly rental income, but this can vary. Some companies, like VerraTerra, charge a flat rate, irespective of the rental rate. In markets where rent is rising, this can save landlords a lot of money over the course of a year. Compare these fees to the value they provide and the time and effort you would need to invest if you were to manage the property yourself.

Tenant Relations

  • Consider your ability to handle tenant-related issues professionally. Dealing with difficult tenants, late payments, complaints, or disputes can be emotionally challenging. A property manager can act as a buffer between you and the tenants, handling these interactions and ensuring the proper enforcement of lease agreements.

Maintenance and Repairs

  • Assess your ability to handle maintenance and repair requests promptly. If you lack the necessary network of reliable contractors or prefer not to be involved in these aspects, a property manager can coordinate repairs and maintenance on your behalf, ensuring the property remains in good condition.

Legal Compliance

  • Familiarize yourself with the local landlord-tenant laws and regulations. Ensuring compliance can be time-consuming and may require a good understanding of the legal requirements. A property manager can keep you informed and help ensure you stay in compliance with relevant laws.

Personal Preference

  • Consider your own lifestyle, goals, and preferences. If you view rental property ownership as a passive investment or if you have other professional or personal commitments, hiring a property manager can provide peace of mind and free up your time for other pursuits, like finding your next investment!

Carefully consider each of these factors to help you determine whether hiring a property manager is the right choice for your single-family rental home. It may also be helpful to talk with local real estate professionals or other landlords to gather additional insights.