If you own an investment property or are considering purchasing one, chances are you’ve weighed out the pros and cons of hiring a professional property management company versus handling management duties yourself. While in some instances an investor may be well-equipped to take care of his or her rental homes alone, oftentimes property owners don’t have the expertise or time needed to tackle what can turn out to be an arduous task. Here are a few things to consider before making the decision to go it alone with your investment.
Finding the Right Tenant
Finding a great tenant is one of the most important aspects of your investment – you need someone trustworthy and reliable who will keep your home clean and in good repair and, of course, pay the rent on time. But how do you find them? Though it is pretty easy to come up with a few screening questions and run a background check on the internet, professional property management companies put potential renters through a stringent application process – one that applicants must pay to go through – and are able to access thorough background and credit check information from reputable companies.
In addition, professionals do their homework when it comes to applicants’ rental histories. They know what questions to ask when speaking to other property managers and previous landlords and are able to easily spot things on applications that seem suspicious – chances are if an applicant is trying to lie, its something an experienced professional has seen before.
Another aspect of owning an investment property that is paramount to its success is having it available for showings. You probably don’t have time to drop what you’re doing or leave work anytime you get a text from someone wanting to view your property, right? By allowing a professional property management company to step in, investors can rest easy in knowing that everyone who wants to see their property is able to at their convenience.
Real estate professionals today are on the cutting-edge of technology and have all sorts of electronic lock boxes and apps that, in many cases, can allow self-guided tours of vacant homes (of course there are steps taken to verify identity and entering valid credit card info is required prior to allowing access). If your home isn’t one that can be toured alone, property managers have agents who can accompany prospective tenants on showings without you having to interrupt your day or ending up having to turn down showings due to scheduling conflicts.
Though there are aspects of owning investment property you may not have the time or resources to deal with as discussed above, there are others you simply may not want to deal with like accounting duties or evictions. These types of things are governed by state laws regardless of if you’re a private landlord or a professional property manager. For instance, in North Carolina you must keep security deposits in a trust account – if an individual self-managing their property was unaware of this, they could potentially find themselves in big trouble.
While it may seem pretty cut-and-dried, collecting rent can sometimes become an issue when handled directly between landlord and tenant, especially if they’ve formed a friendship. Hiring a professional property manager takes the personal element out of conducting business and ensures that you get paid on time each month. Another thing that can get messy is if a landlord ever must resort to evicting a tenant. There are specific procedures that must be followed according to North Carolina law – professional property managers know them backwards and forwards, but if a self-managing investor finds him or herself dealing with an eviction, they may not know the proper steps to follow.
Property maintenance is another area where it is often advantageous to have a professional on your side. While you may know what to do if your tenant calls at 10 a.m. with a leaky faucet, do you know what to do if they call with a burst water heater at 3:00 in the morning? Experienced property management companies not only have 24-hour emergency maintenance lines setup, but also have assurance that their vendors will respond to the emergency in a timely fashion. Professional property managers have relationships with trusted vendors who will prioritize the care of your property and make sure any needed repairs are performed quickly and correctly, saving you a lot in potential damages.
Purchasing an investment property is a huge decision not only financially but also personally. Choosing who will care for the property can have a big impact on your time, peace of mind and ultimately your bottom line. If you have some hesitation about taking on the task of managing your rental property yourself, consider speaking with a professional property management company to find out what services they can offer you and your home.
Sweyer Property Management has exhibited continuous growth throughout the Wilmington, Leland and Hampstead areas while maintaining an excellent Google+ rating for customer service. To inquire about the company’s full-service management services or to take a tour of homes for rent in the area, visit them online at WilmingtonForRent.com.
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