If you’re considering that you might want to manage your own property in Tampa, there are three specific considerations you need to keep in mind. In today’s episode of our helpful blog series for landlords, we’re talking about the knowledge, time, and skills you need to be a successful self-manager.
Knowledge and Experience
The first thing to consider is do you know what you’re doing? There are laws you need to know about; federal and state laws, as well as county ordinances and city laws. You need to know where to advertise to find a good tenant and how to screen prospective tenants. Once you have a tenant, you’ll also need to locate and sign a good lease. Decide if you can handle escrow and maintenance; do you know what vendors to call if something goes wrong? You’ll need a strategy for how to handle tenants that move in unauthorized occupants or stop paying rent. A few years ago, a potential client called our office and asked what we do for our management fee. It was a good question, so I set about writing a list of what we do, and it was five pages long. This surprised me, but there’s a lot you have to know to manage your own property.
Next, you’ll have to ask if you have the time to manage your rental property. It’s hard to do if you have another job. Things don’t happen in organized windows. For example with a vacancy, you have to make the time to show the property, and you’ll have to do that at times convenient to prospects you may want to rent to. That’s not necessarily going to be at a time that’s convenient to you. Maintenance and repairs happen at random times. Do you have the bandwidth to handle a request at 7:00 on Monday morning, when your angry tenant is calling because the garage door won’t come up and they need to get to work but their car is stuck inside? What will you do when a tenant calls because the air conditioning isn’t working at 6:00 on a Friday evening?
Finally, decide if you have the right skills. Landlords have to wear many hats. You have to have good people skills. You need to understand maintenance and you have to know who to call. You need a list of trusted vendors, and you need to have good bookkeeping skills. Being a landlord can get stressful, especially when things go wrong. You’ll need the right disposition to handle a tenant who has stopped paying rent and you’ll need to know what to do when the air conditioning company won’t be able to make a repair for two or three days because a part has to be ordered. Your tenant may demand a hotel room for those two nights.
These are three important questions to consider before you manage your own rental property. If you have questions, or you’d like to hear more about professional property management, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Hoffman Realty.