Owning a rental property can be a steady, reliable income stream. Whether it’s a traditional rental or a vacation rental, real estate is a solid investment. The question that comes up is: should it be a hands-on or hands-off investment for you? Hiring rental property management or vacation rental management is an added expense, but it may be well worth the extra money.
Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to hire someone to help manage your property.
How many properties do you have?
The more properties you own, the more time they take. If you only own one or two, you may be able to easily manage them yourself. But if you own several, hiring rental property management or vacation rental management can help ease the demands on your time.
It also depends whether all of your units are in the same building or they are scattered across the town. One building is easier to manage on your own, for obvious reasons, whereas the property management company will likely have agents that can deal with multiple properties in different parts of the town at the same time.
And the amount of properties will likely change over time. You can probably start managing one or two properties that are close to where you live. Make no mistake, though, it is likely to feel like a full time job with only a few properties. As your business grows, so will your needs, and the needs of your tenants. If all of the sudden you have a dozen properties, you will need some help, if you want to keep everyone happy – yourself included.
Do you know the rental market in the area?
Whether it’s a rental or a vacation rental, you need to know the market in the area in order to rent it out. If you’re familiar with the market, or willing to put the time and effort in to learn it, then you can handle your property yourself. But if you’re unfamiliar, and aren’t really interested in changing that, or you do not have the time, then rental property management or vacation rental management may be the best way to ensure that your property doesn’t sit empty.
This is especially true if you have properties, or decide to expand your business to different cities outside of your current location. If you enjoy doing it, you can always keep managing that property close to you, and leave the rest to the professionals.
How far away from the property do you live?
Property emergencies aren’t convenient. They crop up in the middle of the night, on weekends, holidays, and your vacation. If you live nearby, you’re familiar with the area and the best repair companies to call for quick, reputable service. But if you’re across the country, or even just a couple of hours away, you may be at a total loss for who to call for fast, quality work.
A property manager, on the other hand, will be right there with a list of vendors that they know they can count on to get the job done. And they’ll be the one to get that inconvenient phone call, not you.
For vacation rentals, this is especially critical. If you’re not there to check the home after each guest, you need someone else who can. Airbnb and HomeAway are great for finding guests, but they won’t handle anything else for you. You need a vacation rental management that can handle inspections, cleanings, calendars, requests, middle of the night phone calls, and other things for you.
What kind of tenants do you want?
You can create, or find, a property rental application. You can run background and credit checks, call former landlords and employers, and do all the other legwork involved in ensuring that you don’t rent to someone who will destroy your home, skip out on the rent, or otherwise harm your property.
You can take the time to craft ads to draw in vacationers, check the property over before and after each guest, and hope for the best.
When you consider everything that goes into maintaining, renting, and otherwise caring for your rental property, hiring a rental property management or vacation rental management company can be well worth the added expense.
In the end, it all comes down to time. How valuable is your time and how much of it you want to dedicate to things that may not be the best use of your time – such as managing emergencies in the middle of the night, running background checks, or creating property rental applications.
Think about what you are good at and how your time may be best spent: maybe it’s by looking for new properties to add to your portfolio, while your other properties are being seamlessly managed.
Property management companies will handle everything for you, communicate to keep you informed while allowing you to feel less stressed and overwhelmed, and focused on a big picture of your business. Particularly if you’re not nearby or have a full-time job, rental property management can be the way to go.
If you’d like to read more, check out Evolve’s comprehensive guide on how to hire a vacation property management company.