What if I want to manage my rental property myself?
You can, but learning the business is time consuming. Having your property professionally managed adds an expense to your income and creates some loss of control between you, your property, and the tenant.
Here are some things to consider and some things you need to do, or know before you can effectively manage your rental property:
- Marketing. Do you know how and have the time to post your Rental Property on over 30 or 40 websites? Are you able to track click data so you can understand the rental market, and effectively price your property? What about the time to take calls, answer questions, qualify tenants, and do thorough screening? Do you know what maintenance you do and don’t have to do? Do you need a rental license?
- Showing Prospective Tenants Your Property. Tenants generally have jobs, want look at houses in the evenings, on weekends and holidays. If you don’t want to show your property 24/7, you may appreciate a property manager. Do you know what to tell the tenants if they ask about screening requirements? Do you have written screening criteria that must be disclosed by Kansas or Missouri Law? What are the rules surrounding multiple roommates, or tell a tenant who has a disability and wants to make an accommodation in the home they are interested? What if you don’t allow pets and they have a service animal?
- Local, State, and Federal Laws. Reading and learning the entire local, state and federal laws that pertain to renting can be time consuming and require good attorney support along the way. In addition to HUD, Fair Housing Laws, Discrimination Issues, Rental Licensing Ordinances, Inspections, Rent Collection policies, Eviction laws and processes, You may WANT the benefit of experience, accounting, legal advice, or marketing support. Just 1 month of vacancy usually cost more than the fees charged by a professional to do all these things for you.
- Managing Your Tenants. Many people are not good at managing others or just don’t enjoy it. How do you handle conflicts? What can you do if the rent is late, or there is a police call? Even the best tenants can lose a job or get a divorce. How to you escalate a delinquent rent payment? What do you do for a lease violation? Do you have good accounting software for rental payments; can you perform auto-debit ACH rent collections? Did you know that, as a Landlord you need to provide 1099’s to vendors doing more than $600 in work on your rental home. Do you have good access to legal advice; what if you are sued by a tenant for a rent escrow, or for a habitability violation?
- Maintenance and Repairs. You will need a reliable contractor or maintenance person and someone who also do emergency HVAC or Plumbing repairs in the middle of the night. Do these contractors have insurance, and licensing? What if the home was built before 1978, are they LBP certified? It never fails that the call will come in at midnight or in the middle of your holiday time.
- Pets. 60 to 70 percent of tenants have a pet. If you said ‘no’ to pets, that doesn’t necessarily mean your home will be pet free. How do you handle an unauthorized pet? Demands and threats don’t work. Getting a pet out will take a while.
- Security Deposits. Tenants are not responsible for ‘normal wear and tear’ at move-out. Do you know what the courts consider ‘normal?’ It is very important since the biggest conflict with good tenants is not collecting rent, but move-out charges. Do you know how many days you have to return the deposit and what you need to provide to the tenant?
Renting out your own property sounds easy, but once you realize how complicated it can be, you may reconsider hiring a professional. Inexperience costs vacancies, bad tenants, expensive maintenance, legal issues, etc. A Property Management Company can do all this for you, professionally, and knows the answers to all of these questions and more. Property Management Fees are also tax deductible!