We talk with a lot of people as part of our property management business and one thing we often hear is that the person would love to own a rental property. “Easy money”, “Just wait for the checks to roll in”, or “I read a book about that”. These are often heard comments from someone who has never owned a rental property.
It’s a sad thing to have to tell them, but it’s really not that easy. Do you understand Fair Housing Laws? Do you have a good real estate attorney on retainer for those sticky moments when you don’t know how to proceed? What about security deposits, do you know the rules for retaining that money? Do you know your states habitability laws? Who goes out in the middle of the night when something breaks?
Do we have your attention yet? Managing a rental property is a financial and legal maze that has dozens of implications and not very many clear cut answers. You cannot just read a book and know what you’re doing. Real Living 1st Choice Real Estate Services has over 35 years of combined property management experience and many more years of sales experience. And we still have to look up laws, call our attorney, ask for help and generally feel our way through certain problems. So our first piece of advice is that you should hire an experienced property manager to take care of your property. Get referrals for a good property manager, interview them carefully and then ask to talk with some of their current owners.
The ideal situation would be to have a real estate agent who sells properties and manages rentals. Because we do both, we have a unique perspective on what makes a great rental. We hear the comments when we show a rental, deal with the issues the pop up with older construction, and know the areas that rent more quickly than others. That experience gives us the expertise to guide you toward a rental property that will be rented quickly and will stay rented. We can also advise you on cash flow possibilities and what you need in reserves for repairs, taxes and insurance.
Owning a rental property, or several rental properties, can be lucrative and rewarding in a lot of ways. But you have to be prepared and knowledgeable or it can quickly turn into a nightmare. Do yourself a favor and hire a professional to handle the details.