The 3 Most Demanding Aspects of Self-Managing Rental Properties…and How a Property Manager May Be Able to Help

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You may be rolling your eyes at the thought of a Property Management Company writing a blog about how hard self-managing rental properties can be.

We get the inherent and perceived conflict of interest.

But, to be fair, we’ve discussed in other blogs why property managers are definitely not the right fit for many Landlords, and that self-management can be the better option. 

However, there are some serious factors to consider when it comes to self-management, and we want you to be aware of those.

We’ve taken over management of numerous properties in the last couple of years – dozens and dozens, in fact – from Landlords who are just plain tired of self-managing.

And we can’t blame them. 

Being a Landlord is a grind. We should know.

There are obviously pros to self-management – the main ones being full control over your investment, and no property management fees. 

But there are also some considerably demanding aspects that come along with it.

In this blog, we want to discuss 3 of the bigger challenges DIY Landlords face. 

  1. Required Knowledge of Landlord-Tenant Laws

    There is a fairly large, detailed set of statutes and ordinances pertaining to Landlord-Tenant issues. 

    Everything from the Landlord’s maintenance responsibilities to constructive evictions. ask-3231385_1920

    Of course anyone can find this information and become familiar with it. 

    But where it gets tricky is keeping up with changes and the more granular city and county ordinances that may be different than that of the State’s. 

    It can be extremely difficult and time consuming to stay on top all of this information to ensure that you are operating in accordance with the law.

    If you don’t, you may find yourself in some serious legal trouble.   

    And, as any good lawyer will tell you, ignorance is no excuse. 

    How Can a Property Management Company Help?

    A good Property Management company will be well versed in Landlord-Tenant Law. 

    They will act as a liaison between you and your Tenant, providing guidance and a level of protection in regards to legal matters. 

    Instead of you spending time and possibly attorney fees to find answers to routine questions, your PM, under certain circumstances, can save you that headache.

    Now, PMs will and absolutely should use lawyers when necessary. And, if the PM has done their job, it will employ the right lawyer who won’t get tripped up in court and cost you extra money. 


  2. Marketing Your Rental Property and Finding a Good Tenant

    Marketing a rental property isn’t rocket science by any means.

    But if you want to reduce vacancy, then you have to do a little more than just post your property on Zillow and wait. 

    Marketing entails more than simply sticking a sign in the yard or putting an ad on Craigslist. You have to proactively engage with potential leads, provide access to the property for showings, sift through apps, and screen potential renters. 

    This takes time, effort, and money. Sometimes a lot of one or the other. 

    Getting the home listed is only half the battle. 

    Once you get interested renters, then what?mobile-phone-1087845_1920

    You have to have the time and resources to conduct showings, most of which have to be done on evenings and weekends to accommodate work schedules. 

    Then, once an application is submitted, you obviously have to thoroughly screen that lead because, let’s face it, a poor tenant is just as bad as no tenant. 

    Taking the time to find and place a good Tenant, as you may already know, is no small feat. 

    How Can a Property Management Company Help?

    Marketing your property and screening Tenants are probably 2 of the biggest and most important functions performed by a PM. 

    A quality company will have the resources and processes in place to market your property through various channels and will have the staffing and technology necessary to conduct showings and respond to any leads that come in.

    Good screening programs and third party processors can be pricey and it can be fairly time consuming verifying income, credit, background checks, etc. on your own.

    A Property Management company can really come in handy for this part of landlording. 

    If you’re still not 100% sold on completely giving up self-management, some companies offer a “Leasing Only” type plan.

    Typically how these plans work is, for a flat fee, the PM will market your property, screen renters, place a Tenant, and then hand it back over to you for the day to day management. 

    This could be a great option for you if you don’t have the time or resources to find and place Tenants,  but want to retain management of your property. 

  3. Maintaining Your Rental Property

    Maintenance and day-to-day tenant management are hands down some of he most difficult aspects of self-managing rental properties. 

    If you happen to be a contractor who has low maintenance Tenants, then maybe this is a breeze for you. 

    But, the majority of the time, that’s not the case. businesswoman-2844999_1920

    What do you do when the Tenant calls at midnight, in the dead of winter, saying their furnace isn’t working?

    Maybe even more complicated than that example: What happens if your Tenant calls and says they left the kitchen stove on and part of your kitchen is now burned? 

    How Can a Property Management Company Help?

    Well-run Property Managers have strict maintenance protocols to handle maintenance issues – no matter how routine or how complicated – very efficiently. 

    Most PMs have Tenant Portals that allow Tenants to submit maintenance online, where the specific issue can be assigned and tracked accordingly.

    In addition, Property Managers should have a fleet of Vendors, at the ready, to handle any issue that comes up.

    Finally, referencing back to issue #1, a PM should have processes and policies in place to assign certain maintenance costs to the Tenant, where applicable.  

As we wrap things up, I would just like to point out that if anyone understands the hesitance to give up self-managing, it’s me. 

When my business partner and I had more rental properties than we could efficiently manage, we began looking for some help. 

Back then, in early 2007, they’re really weren’t too many companies to choose from, and we didn’t feel comfortable turning over our largest assets to just anyone. 

So, we started T&H.

We literally founded our own property management company so that we could ensure our investments were properly taken care of.

How’s that for control freak?

We’ve been fortunate to continue to grow throughout the years and help other investors manage their properties like they are our own. 

All this to say, we’ve been in your shoes and if you’re on the fence about hiring a property manager, we would love the chance to speak with you to see if we could be a good fit. 

About the Author

Jeremy Tallman

Jeremy is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Broker for T&H Realty Services. He has been active in the Central Indiana real estate market since 2000 and leads one of the most successful single-family property management companies in the state.

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