The Cost of Property Management is not in the Professional Fees

on 23 November 2015

When I bought my first investment home back in 1997, I did not even know that property management companies existed. So I self-managed.  

When I reflect back now, after 15 years of managing other peoples’ property, I quake in my boots thinking about my self-management days. That’s before I learned what I know today.

I often hear landlords complain that property management is too costly. But what I have witnessed is that the cost of no management or, worse yet, bad management is the most costly. While it’s really hard to nail down the empirical facts, you can be sure that the cost of tenant turnover and repairs far exceeds the cost of property management. Good property management minimizes both of these sources of costs. And if that’s not enough, there forever looms the threat of lawsuit for negligent or errant behavior as a landlord.

If you self-manage, make yourself an expert, don’t do it off the cuff. It may cost you big time, if you do!  If you hire a professional, be sure the professional really knows the job. Get personal references, and do not simply shop management fee rates. Inquire about the services you get for the money. Recent economic conditions have given rise to scores of Johnny-come-lately in property management. Many of these newcomers do not understand the cost of delivering sustainable, quality property-management services. They will discover this quickly enough, but when they do, what will happen to your asset?  What will happen to your relationship?  More importantly, what will be the cost of this experience?

My suggestion is that you find one of the many experienced property management services out there to assist you. A good place to find references is at your local chapter of NARPM (National Association of Residential Property Managers). That’s a professional trade organization, where committed professionals hang out, and learn from the fellowship.

Daniel R. Wilhelm
3 Options Realty, LLC.
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