Sometimes, we get Spring Fever too! Thankfully, we have a lot of great posts that can stand the test of time. Originally posted September 22, 2010, Property Manager, Brenda Armstrong offers some sound advice for the do-it-yourself owner. Enjoy the rewind!
When we get calls in the office inquiring about our property management services, it’s usually the case that the client on the other end of the phone call is already sold on the idea of having their property managed. At the stage in which they contact us, they’re essentially shopping around, trying to find what they think is the best deal for services rendered.
But what about those people who remain unconvinced that property management is a fit for them? What about those who feel as if they can manage every aspect of their investment themselves? For the ones who find themselves faced with the option of handling their investment property, a very small percentage of those are actually prepared to deal with the sometimes-stressful financial upkeep, the various legal ins and outs, the marketing and prospective tenant screening and the sheer amount of time and patience required to manage a property successfully.
For the rest, however, trying to manage a property without these overall experiences and abilities can often end in less-than-desirable results.
I’ve heard horror stories of homeowners who decided to manage their own property having to deal with months of litigation and unpaid rent simply because they didn’t know or weren’t aware of the many North Carolina laws and procedures dealing with the eviction process. Not only did they have to foot the bill for the mortgage payments themselves, on top of legal costs, but but oftentimes when they finally regained possession of the property, it had been trashed by the finally-evicted tenant. Would you want to spend one to three months marketing a property, getting the property freshly painted and repaired, only to have to evict a destructive tenant months after a signed lease and spend hundreds of dollars getting it ready to rent again?
We’ve all seen those “People’s Court” episodes with the tenants disputing the loss of their security deposit and the landlords making their claims for the damages caused by the tenants – these situations can be extremely emotionally draining on the average property owner and, even in the case of the court finding in favor of the landlord, the amount of legal fees almost makes the ordeal not worth the hassle. Would you feel comfortable taking time off from work to stand in front of a judge, providing pictures illustrating damage done by your tenant or proof of unpaid rent?
The pitfalls of tenant screening can leave a landlord stuck with a less-than-desirable resident as well. I hear from owners quite a bit that when they managed the property themselves, they did check the applicant’s credit, but just stopped there, not bothering to check rental history or even do basic background checks! I’ve heard tales of illegal activities, damaged properties and tenants skipping out on the lease because of these neglected details. Would you let someone sign a lease to rent your property if you knew they had trashed the last place they lived in or caused the police to be called out to their property every other weekend?
Even physical presence becomes an issue with handling rentals. Many homeowners/investors live out of state, and can’t handle issues like emergency repairs or being physically present in court to handle evictions and other claims. Would you feel confident sending a friend or family member with no experience in court preceedings to represent your investment in front of a judge? Would you have any confidence sending a friend at 3am to fix a burst pipe in a basement?
At the end of the day, a homeowner/investor has to ask the question: Do I want to handle all of these details myself or pay a company with experience in these matters to handle the details for me?