Thinking of Striking Out On Your Own As a Landlord? What Could Go Wrong?

There’s no other way to say this: Property management can be a hard, time-consuming job. It’s not for the weak. The truth is, most rental property owners play it safe and hire a property management company. There are a few, however, who insist on going at it alone.

Let us tell you — there is much work, effort, and sweat that goes into managing your own property. Therefore, trust us when we say that this so-called “passive source of income” is far more active than it seems.

If you are one of these few who wants to self-manage your property, you’re probably thinking, “What could go wrong?”

Here is a list of some of the duties that are part and parcel in property management. (And, yes, any one of these can and WILL go wrong at any moment.)

First Impressions and Communication

If you want to manage your rental on your own, stop and consider the amount of time and work that managing a property entails, from advertising for new tenants, the upkeep of the property, legalities involved and managing money. Self-managed landlords need to treat their property like a business, as opposed to a casual hobby that can be dipped in and out of when it suits them.
IMPORTANT: Potential tenants can spot an unprofessional landlord a mile away and they will move on to another property during their search for a new home when they do. So by treating their property like they would a paid job, self-managed landlords will make a good impression from the start.

Legal Requirements

By agreeing to take on the task of self-managing a rental property, the legal responsibilities will fall directly to you. You’ll have to brush up on the current property and local authority laws and regulations applicable to your rental property.

These vary from:
  • Having a solid (and legally binding) lease in place and being well versed in eviction law
  • Thorough knowledge of Federal, State and local laws & ordinances
  • ADA compliance
  • Lead, asbestos, mold requirements
  • Contractors must be licensed and insured
  • Fire safety and smoke alarm requirements
  • Rental property license (not all jurisdictions)
  • Know your zoning laws and code compliance requirements
  • Better get a good attorney – the majority of fair housing complaints are from rental properties

Rent Collection

When self-managing a property, you will be responsible for all of the finances, from collecting rent, paying taxes and funding repairs, so it is necessary that you have efficient procedures in place to prevent problems occurring. You must make sure there is an efficient rent collecting system in place before taking on new tenants. Learn how to say NO to your tenant – they will try to get away with many things not allowed in the lease – like paying rent late.

Vetting Tenants

Tenant screening is a vital step to try and prevent bad tenants from moving into your property.
Getting a solid background check on your applicants will help sift out the bad apples from the bunch, leaving you with peace of mind that the rent will be paid on time and the property will be looked after.

Marketing the Property

You will also need to manage the advertising and viewing process when looking for new tenants.
Listing vacant property online is vital in the digital age, as the majority of tenants looking for a new home go to the online property portals first before they start looking elsewhere.
Some self-managed landlords are unsure as to how much rent they should charge. Getting the price right is a key ingredient when creating an online property listing because tenants can tell when a property is overpriced and will move on to another.

Conclusion

This is just a partial list of what’s in store for a self-managed property manager. We’ve left out things like maintenance, rental appraisals, and inspections. There is a lot involved in managing a property — that’s why we’re here to shoulder the burden.
If you’re tired of headaches and hassles of managing your own property, give us a call immediately. Our full-service property management solution will save you time, money, and a lot less sleepless nights.

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