Keith Becker, the broker/owner of DeDe’s Rentals, property manager in Santa Rosa, encourages you to read the first installment of “Just One More Thing…” for a primer on the property management selection process. Here are a few additional considerations:
We’ve recently read about institutional investors who are buying distressed houses en masse, seemingly by the dozens. These investors are not buying apartment complexes, where all units are centrally located. Instead, the purchased properties are predominantly single family residences, spread out over a wide area. In my mind, this raises a large concern. It is one thing to purchase or hold title to a property; it is something else entirely to be landlord. As landlord, you are ultimately responsible for repairs, inspections, tenant communications, move-out and security deposit processes… the entire range of tasks associated with this BUSINESS. And whether you own one or eighty rental properties, you are operating a business. So, unless you are willing and trained to properly handle the numerous possible details yourself, it’s critical to have a property manager or a property management firm handling affairs on your behalf. This person or firm is in charge of helping carry out YOUR expectations and needs for the property: negotiating with tenants and vendors, ensuring projects are addressed, keeping small problems from becoming big problems.
So, your most important questions, as you decide whether to hire a property manager or do the job yourself: what are your goals for the property? What are the possible pitfalls and complications that could arise? Do you – or does the prospective property manager – have the skills and resources to handle problems as they arise?
I’ve used an analogy for the complexities of property management. “Theoretically, I could replace my own roof. It actually seems fairly straightforward. However, imagine I started the job, and pulled off all the shingles, only to discover dry rot underneath. At that point, I’m immediately and completely out of my depth. And, incidentally, there’s rain in the forecast.” I readily admit that, given the potential risks, I would rather hire a qualified and licensed roofer, rather than expose myself to unknowable risks. Property management is much the same – being a landlord initially SOUNDS easy but, as they say, “the devil is in the details.”
NARPM, the nation’s premier association for residential property managers, has as a motto, “Professional property management doesn’t COST you money, it SAVES you money.” If you are not absolutely certain you, as the property owner, can respond to whatever hits the fan, and do so in a consistent, professional and objective manner, then you will save yourself money by hiring a professional property manager.
Property management, like most other industries, is built on relationships. If you DO decide to hire a property manager, the previous article covering this subject is fairly comprehensive. It addresses many of the logical questions to consider when evaluating any management company. One additional consideration I’d offer is that of “personality.” How does the property manager make you feel – do you have the confidence that they are going to be competent, that they have your best interests in mind? Is the your initial contact also going to be your ongoing account manager, or will your property be reassigned to someone else in the organization? At DeDe’s Rentals, we feel that the personal relationship is very important. Communication is key. It’s your property, you will undoubtedly have questions about the needs of the property over time, and you’re entitled to straightforward answers.
As a professional property manager in one of the oldest established management companies in Sonoma County, I should let you know – this job is fun. It’s a challenge. Every day offers something different, and working with such a variety of people and personalities is a pleasure. If you need help deciding how to choose a qualified property manager, give us a call. DeDe’s can DEMONSTRATE what professional property management looks like. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at DeDe’s Rentals. We will be happy to help you.