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When Is It Time To Hire A Property Manager?

When Is It Time To Hire A Property Manager?

Do I need a Property Manager? Landlords can often be hesitant to hire a property manager, attempting to take on the additional workload to avoid added costs and increase profit. However, in most cases, landlords would consider the choice to outsource the management of their properties' money well spent. Besides coordinating building maintenance, work orders, repairing damages, cleaning units, resolving tenant complaints and concerns, and collecting rent and communication, property managers handle the tenant application process --overseeing security deposit escrows and ensuring compliance with local laws. They additionally handle the advertisement and showing of vacant units. The peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that these necessary, and often tedious, tasks are in professional hands, landlords can instantly adopt a more confident, organized, and assured approach to handling their properties.

Landlord Pains, Property Management Gains

There are countless circumstances and frustrations that would lead a landlord to seek a property manager. In a lot of cases, landlords have been more or less scared away from property management in that they have had a horrendous tenant that terrified them or they have lived through a horror story of a situation from working with their current manager. Tenants are surely not “one size fits all” and will often present unforeseen challenges in the way they communicate, pay rent, and generally occupy the property. Tenant issues aside, landlords often don’t want to deal with coordinating with the maintenance staff, dealing with concerns and complaints of property neighbors, considering the confines of the HOA, and facilitating the very time-consuming leasing process. Lastly,  it’s common for retired landlords, or those seeking to relocate, often hire property management companies to take care of the heavy lifting, making their daily lives less stressful.

Property Management Horror

Walters & Co. have surely seen their share of landlord horror stories. The worst was a property within a trust portfolio we took over several years ago. One of the condos was the grossest thing we had ever seen. There were animals left in the apartment and feces, along with food opened all over the kitchen counters and mattresses piled up everywhere. You could barely walk around without running into something nasty or stepping in/on an unidentifiable substance. There are honestly very few words to accurately describe the situation, but we’ll leave it at: “unreal.”

Finding the Right Property Manager

There is no consistent norm to represent the type of landlords or real estate holders that seek property management expertise. This decision depends entirely on the person and their unique situation. A large majority of Walters and Co. clients have more than one investment property, but we certainly work with clients that have just one investment or are leasing their personal home. Property managers can also work without city/state landlords. We have clients both out of state and internationally. Communication for international clients is the trickiest aspect, especially with tenants when you are trying to coordinate a maintenance call or hash out any other problem. The most important factor in maintaining non-local properties is having someone with eyes on the unit at all times. If there is an emergency, we respond almost immediately.

DIY Landlords vs. Hiring Property Management Experts

There are many significant, noteworthy comparisons between managing property on one’s own versus hiring an experienced property management team to do so. Typically, homes will sit vacant longer with DIY landlords, unless they have a very specific individual or group they are trying to market to and solely pursue that particular audience. In such a case, they could potentially fill vacancies faster, although they would likely be violating more than one fair housing law in the process. Professionals have the resources and ability to market to the masses as well as the infrastructure to engage with their customers. Walters & Co. fields anywhere between 300-600 inbound/outbound phone calls a week depending on what we have on the market. That doesn’t account for any electronic communication we are engaged in either (i.e. emails, text messages, etc.). That’s really the main reason we can fill properties faster. Timely communication is the key to successful property management. Another difference is having access to an accountable maintenance network. Depending on how long a landlord has been in operation, they may or may not have the wisdom and experience necessary to understand which maintenance partnerships work and which do not. Landlords who have been in business for years or have multiple properties have usually accumulated a decent network of trusted colleagues or friends that have helped them out with maintenance in the past. There are also often people that purchase investment properties assuming they can easily manage it all on top of everything else on their plate, and the situation quickly turns into an absolute disaster. Whether a landlord is up to the task of maintaining a property on their own or coordinating their own maintenance team is dependent on both internal and external factors. Lastly, DIY landlords, depending on their experience in the field, may or may not have extensive awareness and understanding of the current housing market laws. There are one too many owners that hold the mindset: “I’m the owner, and I can do what I want.” Very few DIY landlords have a real estate or eviction attorney on retainer to call upon whenever they have questions or get themselves in a sticky situation. Property management experts can easily fill this void by offering legal accountability and peace of mind.

Should I Hire A Property Management Company?

Whether a landlord should hire a property management company is dependent on several important factors. Before making a decision, landlords should not only consider the size and quantity of their properties, but also their personal working style, business strategy, maintenance network, willingness to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously, legal expertise, communication skills, and ability to prioritize. Undoubtedly, some landlords work most effectively as a one-stop-shop, but more often than not, hiring a property management company relieves a heavy, stressful burden from their shoulders. Walters & Company has years of experience in lightening clients’ loads while offering invaluable peace of mind, trustworthiness, and unwavering accountability. Learn more about our property management services and customer testimonials here: