You’ve moved into a new house but want to keep your old house/condo for a rental. Maybe you have taken advantage of fantastic interest rates and low home prices and purchased your first rental property. Or perhaps you are a tested property investor with multiple properties and you are weary of collecting rents, getting late-night phone calls from tenants, and filling vacancies. Whatever your position may be, the decision that every real estate investor will need to formulate is whether to hire a property manager or manage the property themselves. That choice has more implications than you might think. Here are the top reasons why you should hire a property manager.

Legal/Liability

Are you completely up to speed with landlord/tenant laws? These rules and regulations are constantly changed and updated. Many of them can be extremely confusing and the bottom line is this: ignorance of the law is never an excuse when you are standing before a judge. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to be familiar with and comply with all laws governing the tenant/landlord relationship. Failure to be in compliance puts you at danger for litigation, fines, penalties, and potentially even criminal charges. An experienced and reputable property manager keeps you up to date on the varying regulations and assures that your property and your contracts adhere to the rules.

Property Maintenance

Most property owners do not reside in the same neighborhood as their rental unit(s). They may drive by occasionally and observe the property from the street, but seldom will they investigate the home and evaluate its condition until after a tenant vacates. By then, the damage could be broad and repairs could be expensive. Yes, the security deposit may compensate for some of these issues, but in this situation, it is better to know before your occupant has moved on. A conscientious property manager makes weekly checks on the property and investigates when something looks strange or out of the ordinary. In addition, practiced property managers have contacts within the area for reliable gardeners, handymen, plumbers, heat/air conditioning companies, carpet cleaners, painters, and other maintenance companies. As a result, when your property needs attention, you get fast, reliable, and often less expensive service with only one phone call. When you are busy at your job or on vacation or with your family, the last thing you want to deal with is the pain of finding a repairman.

Vacancies

Few things will eat into your profits quicker than a unit that remains unfilled for an extended period of time. Even a 30-day vacancy is often enough to lower your yearly positive cash flow to almost zero. An effective property manager with considerable ties to the community will almost certainly have a list of potential renters searching for a home. This not only decreases your “downtime” but also can save you hundreds of dollars on marketing- but the advantages don’t end there. Because of the contacts, the property manager has with repairmen, your property can be cleaned up and turned over much sooner by a team of professionals rather than you doing it yourself. This can also translate into increased rents. Finally, there is no doubt that you have better things to do with your schedule on evenings and weekends than meet prospective renters at the property and give them a tour. Often, these would-be occupants fail to show up at the scheduled time or merely don’t qualify to rent your home. Why waste your precious time and energy dealing with these headaches when it can all be performed for you?

The property manager who carries out all of these details will reduce the stress in your life, give you more freedom to spend time with family and friends, and discard the hassles of being an investor. After all, when it comes to investment properties, you don’t want the house to end up owning you!