Should I Manage My Property Myself?

Most rental housing investors consider self-managing their properties at some point. For some investors, self-management works, but for many, the hassle and time commitment isn’t worth it. If you are considering managing your own property, take some tips from the property management leader. Here’s what you need to know.

Make time. Property management is much more than collecting a rent check each month. And remember, if you only spend time on the properties when they demand your attention, you are likely missing opportunities to save time and money. Allow for time to proactively attend to the property and prevent future problems. Recognize that property management is at least a part-time job, and you are on call 24/7. Schedule accordingly.

Prepare for everything. Property management can be a rough industry, and even with your best efforts to place good tenants, you are in for some surprises. Accidental and intentional damage, drug and crime activity, fire and natural disasters, family crises, tenant excuses, collections, and evictions—the seasoned property manager knows all of these are part of owning rental property and isn’t ruffled. Accurate expectations and a professional attitude help, but are just the beginning. Learning how to handle each of these events comes with time.

Study up. Successful property management is a combination of several different disciplines, including marketing, leasing, maintenance, collections, evictions, accounting, inspections, and legal compliance. Professional property management companies have spent several decades and millions of dollars developing best practices in each of these areas. If you choose to manage your own rental property, dedicate time to study and make a plan for each of these aspects of property management.

Get connected. In addition to being your own “jack-of-all-trades,” you will likely find yourself in need of a small army of partners as you work to prepare, clean, maintain, repair, landscape, and buy parts and equipment for the rental unit. It can be difficult to get volume discounts if you don’t manage a large number of properties, so do your best to hunt for deals and participate in loyalty programs that can help you make your dollar go a little further and avoid paying full price.

Reconsider. If you really don’t enjoy the extensive demands on your time and energy that property management requires, you likely are trying to save money by doing it yourself. If this is the case, take a moment to calculate whether you really save by managing properties yourself.