You may be wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into as a new property investor! Take heart, this venture can be profitable and bring many interesting people into your life. As a landlord you will carry many responsibilities and you need to make sure your tenants are happy (and your investment is well cared for).
Whether you’re buying your first investment, or expanding your portfolio, it’s important to have solid maintenance routines in place since all properties need regular maintenance and attention.
In this article we’ll take a look at some fundamentals of managing and maintaining investment properties, how to recognize when it might be time to outsource the management of your properties, and the pros and cons of managing the properties yourself versus hiring a company to manage them for you.
What You Need to Keep in Mind Regarding Maintaining Your Rental Property
Schedules and checklists are your best friends when it comes to property maintenance. These make it easier to remember what needs to be done, and when, and help you plan ahead for any larger issues that need attention.
Routine inspections, seasonal maintenance, and mapping out major projects are helpful tools in keeping your properties functioning well and fully rented.
1. Routine inspections should be done when tenants are moving in or moving out, as you’re driving by (specially to inspect the exterior after a potentially-damaging weather event), monthly to change the furnace filter and water softener salt, quarterly to test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and regularly check for pests or loose knobs and handles or mould and mildew, and to conduct a general, overall assessment of your property.
2. Seasonal needs change with the warmer and colder months and should be checked annually – for example booking furnace and air conditioning inspections, cleaning the gutters from leaves or ice, and keeping up with the landscaping.
3. Larger repairs or renovations require more foresight and effort. Plan and budget accordingly for any major projects like new flooring, appliance upgrades, or painting. Tenants will also need special notice for situations that will upset their living environment, and possibly alternate accommodation or compensation to keep them happy with living in your property.
What Pitfalls You Should Avoid with Maintaining Your Rental Property
Some issues need special care when it comes to maintaining your properties. For example you should always screen possible tenants thoroughly, have good communication with your tenants, and be familiar with your properties.
1. Avoid taking on just anyone as a tenant and be sure to conduct a credit check, verify their employment, and contact their references (including previous landlords and an employer).
2. Avoid ignoring your tenants and communicate often with them. Check in with tenants to inquire if all is well, if anything needs attention, and just to get to know them a little more if they are open to that.
3. Avoid neglecting your property and prioritize regular visits to see what’s going on inside and outside the property.
Pros and Cons of Doing it By Yourself
Self-managing your properties can come with many pros and be rewarding in terms of keeping more of the profit from the rental income, which means more income to use for investing in other properties, and also learning more skills in home maintenance and business management.
You can also experience some cons in self-management as you may feel like you are always on call, the burden of responsibility may feel heavy, and you may risk falling behind in tasks that need to be done which can lead to disrepair for your properties.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Property Management Company
Hiring an individual or company to manage your rental properties for you can be beneficial because you have more breaks to enjoy other things in life, there are decreased feelings of stress and overwhelm, and often a team effort can get more accomplished with the properties.
A strong benefit to working with a management company is their knowledge and experience with the Residential Tenancy Act and the Landlord and Tenant Tribunal. Landlord-tenant disputes are a serious matter and even a small misstep can mean thousands of dollars in missed rent and legal feels.
Some of the down sides of property management are less profit for you as a landlord, less investment money for other properties, and you may be more disconnected from your properties and tenants which means you may be less aware of potentially negative situations.
How can you know when it’s time to outsource the management of your real estate investments? This will look a little different for everyone, but if you find yourself drained by the thought of your duties and responsibilities with the properties, or you experience unexpected life situations that require more of your attention, or if you simply want to continue expanding your real estate portfolio – it’s most likely time to look at delegating tasks to others.
Start with the smaller stuff and how much that helps your situation. Things like landscaping & snow removal can be delegated to others easily. Making a go-to list of contractors (electrical, plumbing, carpenter, general handyman) would also be very helpful.
And starting to ask around for referrals for good-quality property management individuals or companies would be productive.
If delegating the smaller stuff still leaves you feeling overwhelmed then it’s probably time to move on to the next step – taking the referrals and starting to contact them. Interview candidates, ask for references, and when you’ve found a match have them sign a contract with you - treat this just like you’re hiring an employee.
If You're Looking For Property Management
President, Onyx Property Group
(226) 444 - 6021 x703
There are many reasons to become a property investor or expand your real estate portfolio. You may be very comfortable with conducting most of the inspections, maintenance tasks, and business administration yourself or you may want to leave those important things in the capable hands of a property manager.
Both are great options and either one can be part of a successful business plan. Find out which method works best for you and enjoy the benefits of real estate investing!