Property Management vs Self Management: The Best Choice

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One of the most frequent debates I hear from new investors is hiring property management vs self management.

Everyone knows that buying and owning rental properties is one of the best investments around. However, with any great investment comes risk and responsibility.

Most property management companies will tell you that it is not possible to achieve the same results without hiring a property manager. That is not the case.

There are plenty of investors that manage their own properties without issues. Others just don’t want the risk and responsibility of going it alone. Below you will find the top seven things to consider when deciding whether to manage your own rental property.

1. YOUR PURPOSE: Property Management vs Self management

If your long-term goal is to invest in more properties it is worth it to invest in solid property management vs self management.

Your time as an investor is infinitely better spent analyzing markets and deals. You want to move up the 80/20 leverage curve from technician to investor/entrepreneur.

property management vs self manage

In Bridgeport, Connecticut the average investment is about 10% of rents collected.  This frees you up from taking resident phone calls, coordinating maintenance, leasing vacancies, accounting P&L’s, conducting inspections and making property payments to focus on higher leverage activities.

2. YOUR TIME

Another big consideration is time. Do you have a lot of extra time in your week to deal with all the responsibilities that come with managing a rental property?

If you work a 40 hour per week job and have a family it could be very difficult to manage all the tasks that go along with renting your house. Most property managers will tell you they started a management company because managing their own properties became a full-time job. This can be very true.

First-time managers will tell you that it takes so much more time than they originally thought. If you are someone looking for a part-time job or just enjoy working a lot, then managing your own property might fit your personality and lifestyle just fine!

Remember that there is so much more to it than collecting rent and it all takes time. Bookkeeping, qualifying tenants, inspections, maintenance, signing leases, renewals, evictions and more.

Property management vs self management

3. OBJECTIVITY: Property Management vs Self management

One of the hardest things about managing the largest investment you will ever make is having objectivity. To manage your own home, you must now see it as an investment and nothing more.

Most people form emotional attachments to their home which can make it very difficult to deal with someone else living in that space. Will you get upset when something breaks or if someone does not like the home?

It is very common for property managers to have someone else in their company manage their own properties to keep this objectivity. It is a very difficult thing to have!

Will you be able to avoid making emotional decisions when selecting a tenant? We run a landlord rescue service for homeowners who get into trouble when self managing.

The number one thing they tell us is that they “believed” a sob story the tenant had to offer, or they “had a good feeling” about them. You must be able to make decisions based on prescribed systems and standards to ensure you get good tenants.

4. Increased control

It’s a lot easier to make decisions and implement them yourself or through your employees than it is through a third party, even if they really are interested in following through with your plan.

If you choose a company that is too large, your property may get lost behind their bigger clients.

5. Avoidance of fraud

Unfortunately, not every property management company is run ethically. Some receive kickbacks from contractors, pocket rent from “vacant units” — or engage in other such unsavory activity.

Managing yourself can make it easier to avoid being a victim of these types of things.

6. Knowing The Law

Probably the most important thing to know when deciding on property management vs self management is the state and local law. To self-manage, you must be intimately familiar with state, local, and federal laws.

There are several laws about what you can and can’t do, such as:

  1. How long do you have to respond to maintenance requests?
  2. When can you enter a property?
  3. What is considered an essential service?
  4. What can you deny an applicant for?

These things are important to know before renting out your property yourself.

This is where a property manager can come in handy if you don’t want to mess with all the rules and regulations. Pull up a copy of your local Landlord Tenant Law Book and read it. See if it is something you feel comfortable with enforcing AND following.

Property Management vs Self management

7. Infrastructure already in place

Early on, you won’t have an office, policies or a staff — or anything else that property management companies generally have. But management companies will have all the leases, applications, notices of entry and other such documents, as well as screening procedures and knowledge of the landlord/tenant laws in your state (at least they should).

If you do it yourself, you will have to put these things together.

Management companies will also have an extensive list of vendors and contractors to use that you will have to find if you do it yourself.

So when debating between property management vs self management, if you don’t mind dealing these issues above then self-management may be for you.

However, if you don’t feel like dealing with all the hassles and headaches of managing your rental then a property manager might be the way to go.

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