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Landlords: Should you hire a property manager?

Ginger Dean

May 14, 2013

By: Ginger Dean, Home Finance Specialist

In: Finance and Legal

If you're a landlord with one unit or 20, at some point you've probably considered whether or not you need a property management company. Some landlords prefer to be more hands-on with a personal touch for their tenants while others want nothing to do with the chore of tenant management.

When deciding on whether or not you need a property management company, take the following tips into consideration.

Value of your time

Do you really want to be bothered with tenant calls at 2 a.m. over a broken toilet or a dispute over parking spaces? Think carefully about this one. What may seem to be a benign obligation becomes a nuisance quickly once you realize that you're spending more time than you care to on tenant issues.

Size of the operation

How large is your real estate investment operation? Do you have multiple properties with active tenants who regularly interact with you? Or do you have one or a handful of properties with minimal interaction? When what can go wrong does, you might need help. Consider the value of your time if there are issues with more than one unit at the same time. Will you have the time and resources to address them all simultaneously?

Property distance

How far away are your tenants from you? If a situation arises, how soon can you get to the unit to address it? This makes a difference if you don't have a management company and an emergency requires your presence. Can you afford to take off from work to rush down to handle something that may or may not be worth your time?

Management costs

Have you checked with multiple property management companies about the cost to manage your rental property? What are the fees and scope of their responsibility? Typically, most property management companies get from 10-15 percent of the monthly rent depending on the level of service provided. For some landlords, even if the fee eats into their bottom line forcing them to break even, the peace of mind is worth it. Other landlords prefer to manage properties themselves. The choice is determined by what fits your needs best.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to determining whether or not you need a property manager. It boils down to what you're comfortable with at the end of the day.

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