Nightmare On Elm Street: What Makes Being A Landlord A Nightmare And How Property Management Can Help
If you're new to the landlord business, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. There are nuances to this business that can make even the most hardened businessman tuck tail and run. Fortunately for you, you don't have to navigate this maze alone. Hiring the right property manager, such as Condominium Management, can head off the nightmares at the pass and prevent you from losing any equity in your property. Here you'll learn about common complaints from landlords and how a good property manager can help.
Quick! What is the current going rate for a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom home in your area? If you can't rattle off a number you're doing yourself a disservice. Many owners find that they pay nothing out of pocket for property management services because they have been under renting their properties, and the increased income after hiring a property manager pays for any service fees. Alternatively, some landlords set their rent prices too high and hold out for too long, losing out on months of rental income hoping for a higher price. A property manager has their finger on the pulse of rent prices and can get you the best price and the quickest turn around time.
The Screening Process
How do you know you're getting the right person or family into your property? Many landlords new to the business don't require applications, and go solely on their gut instincts about each interested party. That may work well for a while for some owners, but it also sets them up for failure and lawsuits.
Some people present very well. They're clean cut, well spoken, and utter disasters once they get into a rental. A property manager with experience knows that an application is crucial. It allows for digging deep into each person's past rental history, and allows a thorough examination of how they tend to behave when it comes to their living situation. A property manager will call previous landlords and ask questions about the condition of the property and how often rent was paid on time. This offers a glimpse of how this person will treat your house once they're in.
As for lawsuits, fair housing laws can be used against landlords who don't have a clear cut screening process. Unless you can prove that you are not discriminating based on protected classes you can be subject to fines should someone you decline to rent your home to feel slighted. Having a screening process that removes the possibility of bias is the safest way to rent out properties, and a good property manager will have just such a process.
One of the rigors of landlording is being available in case of emergency. Tenants lock themselves out at 3:00 AM, have enormous sewer backups on Easter, and a furnace is most likely to go out in the middle of the night on the coldest day of the year. If you don't have a property manager on contract you'll be the one dealing with all of those calls and scrambling to find someone who can make emergency repairs at all hours. If you've hired a property management company, though, they get all those calls and deal with all those emergencies, and you get to sit back and collect a rent check each month.
Speaking of rent checks, what happens when a tenant doesn't pay? Many new landlords are inclined to let late payments slide, which sets a precedent for later and later payments in the future. Unless you want to be the one who firmly stands your ground on rent payment policies and enforces late fees and even eviction proceedings for nonpayment, you'd better start looking for a property manager.
You have options for the management of your investment properties. Doing it yourself might work for you, but when it doesn't you know where you can turn for help.