How Many Investment Properties Can I Successfully Self-Manage?

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Investing in rental properties holds the allure of financial independence and long-term wealth.

And we get it, it can be super lucrative. But it can also be a lot of ups, downs, and work.

The road to success in real estate investment is not linear, and your needs may change as your portfolio changes. While some investors opt for hiring property managers, many choose to self-manage their properties. 

Yet, the question persists: how many rental properties can one person realistically handle without stretching themselves too thin? 

Let’s talk about it. 

Understanding the Scope: Factors Influencing Management Capacity

The ability to self-manage rental properties effectively varies based on several key factors:

1. Property Type and Location: Managing a single-family home differs from overseeing a multi-unit apartment complex. Additionally, properties located in close proximity to your residence may be easier to manage than those situated farther away or out-of-state. Considerations such as maintenance requirements, tenant turnover rates, and local regulations play a crucial role in assessing the feasibility of self-management.

2. Time Commitment: Successful property management demands a significant investment of time and effort, particularly when addressing tenant issues, handling maintenance requests, and managing administrative turnover tasks. Investors must evaluate their availability realistically, taking into account other commitments such as full-time employment or personal obligations.

Do you have the time to run a business? This is the primary question to ask when assessing whether you need a PM or not. If you do not have the time to run a small business, then even a handful of properties can become overwhelming.

3. Experience and Skills: The level of experience and proficiency in real estate investment and property management significantly influences an investor’s ability to handle multiple properties.

Seasoned investors with a deep understanding of the market and effective management processes may be better equipped to manage a larger portfolio. Moreover, possessing skills such as negotiation, communication, and problem-solving can streamline the management process and enhance efficiency.

If you are new to investing and do not yet have a team built up or a in-depth understanding of the market, you will become overwhelmed quickly. 

Leveraging Expertise and Extending Capacity: The Power of Collaboration

Collaboration with a diverse team of professionals can significantly enhance an investor’s capacity to manage rental properties efficiently:

1. Legal Counsel: A real estate lawyer is invaluable for navigating complex legal matters such as lease agreements, tenant disputes, and compliance with local regulations. By providing legal guidance and support, lawyers help mitigate risks and safeguard investments. Not having a lawyer can be a costly mistake. 

2. Financial Advisor/Accountant: Managing rental properties involves navigating financial intricacies.

From budgeting and tax planning to optimizing cash flow. Financial advisors and accountants offer strategic insights and guidance, enabling investors to maximize profitability while ensuring compliance with tax laws and regulations.

3. Contractors: When issues arise in the homes, do you have a group of contractors at your disposal? Are these contractors vetted for their work-ethic and price point? If not, you may end up spending more money. Having a group of trusted contractors is one of your most important tasks as a self-manager. If a maintenance emergency occurs during the night you don’t want to be scrambling to find someone. Or worse, scrambling to do it yourself.

There are many other team players that we suggest when investing in properties. You can listen to our podcast on “The Top 11 Members of Your Real Estate Dream Team” here:

Balancing Workload and Setting Boundaries: Keys to Sustainability

Understanding the core reason behind your venture is most important. Are you aiming for sustained growth, striving to achieve specific milestones, or perhaps securing your retirement? Clarifying your purpose, your “why,” is the cornerstone of effective property management strategy.

If your goal is to gain more quality time with family—your children, grandchildren, or simply to enjoy a more leisurely lifestyle—consider enlisting the services of a property manager. This choice can alleviate the burdens of day-to-day management, affording you the freedom to prioritize what truly matters.

For individuals balancing the demands of a traditional 9-to-5 job alongside property management responsibilities, the prospect of overseeing more than a handful of properties can quickly become overwhelming. In such scenarios, enlisting the expertise of a property manager can provide much-needed relief, allowing you to maintain a healthy work-life balance while safeguarding your investment interests.

On the other hand, if you’re retired and seeking a fulfilling hobby or already possess the infrastructure and personnel to effectively self-manage your investments, the prospect of managing multiple properties may not seem as daunting. With the right systems and support in place, self-management can be a rewarding endeavor, allowing you to maintain direct control over your portfolio while enjoying a sense of fulfillment in your retirement years.

In addition, some property management companies offer specialized leasing services, enabling you to tailor your arrangement to suit your specific needs. If resident turnover represents a significant source of stress, opting for a leasing-only plan can offload this responsibility while allowing you to retain autonomy over other aspects of property management.

Conclusion: Achieving Success Through Collaboration and Self-Management

In conclusion, efficiently managing rental properties requires finding the right balance between collaboration and self-management. By leveraging the expertise of a supportive team of professionals and implementing efficient systems and practices, investors can maximize returns while maintaining a manageable workload.

Success in property management hinges on a combination of individual capabilities, collaborative efforts, and effective delegation. With the right balance, investors can navigate the complexities of real estate investment, achieve their financial goals, and ultimately attain long-term success and prosperity.

And as always if this seems like too much time, effort, or planning, you can always hire a property manager. They oftentimes will end up saving you money, while letting you have more time to do other things. 

About the Author

Brooke Robinson

Brooke is our Digital Marketing Specialist. She is responsible for the marketing of T&H Realty on all of our main media channels including social media, podcasts, and our website.

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