As a rental property owner, you need to decide between managing it yourself or hiring a property management company to handle it on your behalf. This is not an insignificant choice and should be undertaken after a careful review of the pros and cons of each option, weighing them against your needs as a landlord.
There is no right or wrong way to proceed as a rental property owner. Your decision comes down to personal preference and whether you can provide all the services your tenants require. Here are some vital services landlords and property owners must provide, with a critical evaluation of whether it is advisable to hire a property manager or go it alone:
According to Colorado rental property management companies like Evernest, Dorman Property Management, and Colorado Realty and Property Management, Inc., the primary reason many landlords choose their services is the flexibility this option provides. Evernest has an established presence in Colorado Springs and a solid reputation for delivering outstanding service at reasonable rates. It also has branches in other major metropolitan centers in Colorado, including Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collins. Other options include hiring one of America’s larger residential property management companies operating countrywide, such as Greystar Real Estate Partners LLC or the Lincoln Property Co.
Being a hands-on landlord means remaining on-call and on duty 24/7, fielding calls from tenants, managing various business functions, such as marketing, screening, maintenance, and dealing with difficult tenants. Landlords with multiple properties, other businesses or jobs, and those living out-of-state seldom have enough time to devote to being full-time landlords, preferring to delegate this responsibility to a property management company. It gives them time to devote to other commitments without being tied down to their rental home.
Repairs and maintenance
Most landlords who opt to manage their properties solo complain about the stress of dealing with repairs and maintenance. It is surprising how many things can go wrong in a rental home. Tenants are often hard on the building and its appliances, breaking things with remarkable ease. When this happens, they need emergency repairs, leaving landlords scrambling to find reliable contractors who can get the job done efficiently without charging an arm and a leg.
When tenants leave, landlords must again source companies to perform essential maintenance before new renters arrive. Property management companies have established networks of reputable contractors that they vet to ensure the quality of their work. They can call on these companies at a moment’s notice and get professional, reliable service. Service agreements between property managers and contractors typically mean that they charge lower prices in exchange for a steady flow of work.
Advertising a property is a vital function of rental property management. The incorrect approach could see a rental home standing vacant for months or a landlord getting nightmare tenants because they cannot generate interest among responsible ones. There is an art and a science to property marketing, and few private landlords have mastered it.
Advertising and marketing are usually best left to the professionals. Property managers know where and how to market properties, placing strategic advertisements on appropriate platforms where ideal tenants are likely to look. They take professional-grade photographs and accompany them with well-written descriptions that make the rental home sound like a chance no one can afford to miss. Poorly marketed rental homes seldom attract the best tenants, who look after the property, pay their rent timeously, and do not become a neighborhood nuisance.
Vetting tenants is arguably one of the most vital processes any landlord should undertake before contemplating a rental agreement with them. It involves confirming any information a would-be renter includes on their application, such as their employment status and salary, to ensure they can afford the rent. It is also advisable to contact any references the applicant supplies, including previous landlords.
Tenant screening takes time, which some landlords do not have in abundant supply. Beyond verifying the information above, property owners should seek additional information, such as credit history. A tenant who can afford the rent on paper might be heavily burdened with previously incurred debt, eating into their disposable income and increasing their risk of failing to honor their financial commitment in a rental contract.
Another challenging aspect of being a landlord is maintaining cordial relationships with tenants. Some property owners make the mistake of allowing such relationships to become personal, befriending their tenants. This blurs the lines and responsibilities that each party has, and a landlord might find their tenants attempting to take advantage of this, playing on their emotions to get out of paying their rent on time.
Sometimes, landlord-tenant relations deteriorate to a point where they become untenable. This nastiness could lead to renters deliberately damaging the property, prolonged eviction processes, and stress for all parties. Property managers act as a buffer between landlords and tenants, acting to protect everyone’s interests.