When you own an investment property, it’s tempting to try and save money by managing it yourself. Before you go down the DIY route though, consider two important points:
- Most owners vastly underestimate the amount of time involved in managing their own rental property.
- In the high-value world of real estate, mistakes can be extremely costly. Are you willing to take the risk?
For the same reason you should always get a lawyer to check over the contract when you buy a home, you should get a property manager to look after your investment property. It pays to have someone on your side who can guide you through the process and work on your behalf to keep your asset in tip-top shape.
But it can’t be that hard, can it?
Here is a list of some of the tasks you will be taking on if you choose to manage your property yourself…
Regular property management tasks
- Checking that the rent is paid on time each week
- Completing an inspection every 3 months (usually required by your insurance)
- Providing tenants with up-to-date insurance and insulation details
- Ensuring and maintaining healthy homes compliance
- Planning a maintenance schedule around gardening, chattels, cladding and roofing
- Getting gutters cleaned regularly enough to avoid blockages
- Maintaining fireplaces and chimneys
- Finding reliable tradespeople to complete small maintenance jobs in a timely manner
- Ensuring correct notice is given to tenants for all tradespeople visits and inspections
- Handling changes in the tenant’s situation – will you allow them to break a fixed term if they get made redundant? Or they buy a home? Or their relationship breaks up?
- Researching market rents to see where your property stacks up
- Handling rent increases with tenants and providing correct notice periods
- Dealing with rent arrears
If your property is empty (or a tenant has just left) you will also need to:
- Arrange an outgoing inspection and negotiate any repair costs coming out of the bond
- Organise a thorough clean of the property
- Project manage any small repairs or touch-ups required between tenancies
- Take photos
- Advertise the property online to find a new tenant
- Research market rent and decide on a fair price
- Handle the extreme amount of enquiry you will likely receive, via text, phone and email
- Arrange viewings and answer questions from prospective tenants
- Provide application forms
- Phone references and complete background checks
- Choose a tenant (and tell everyone else they missed out)
- Complete an in-going inspection with your new tenant
- Arrange keys (and sometimes new locks)
- Obtain and lodge a bond with tenancy services
- Complete a tenancy agreement
And that’s all just the standard stuff. You can imagine how time-consuming and stressful it could get if you ever had a serious problem and had to go to court.
A property manager handles all of that for you. Plus, most importantly, they are there to help you make smart decisions.
When it comes to selecting a tenant, their wealth of experience and finely tuned judge of character can be the difference between a stress-free tenancy and a horror story.