Tips and advice from an expert
“I’ll never forget a call I received from a home owner, panicking because tenants had chickens living inside the house,” said March Cabos, a realtor who trains new agents in property management for Destination Maui Realty. “Not all landlords face such dire circumstances, but many find taking care of rentals and dealing with tenants to be more work than they expected.” The decision whether to manage rentals yourself or hire a property management company can be difficult. Cabos provides some solid information to help determine if a property management company is right for you.
What Does a Property Management Company Do?
“The advantage most owners point out is saving time and hassle in finding tenants, dealing with complaints and handling maintenance,” Cabos explained. Management companies deal directly with prospects and tenants, marketing rentals and collecting rent. Some have contractor resources to handle maintenance and repair, and even handle evictions and debt collection. “A homeowner recently told me of a guest of a tenant that claimed residency in one of her rentals,” Cabos said. “Even though she was not on the lease, the owner had to start an eviction process to get her out of the house.” Cabos added that a good management company brings thorough real estate, financial and community knowledge to your property, providing peace of mind that your investment is in good hands.
When Should You Hire a Property Management Company?
If you are handy, have accounting knowledge, thorough understanding of landlord-tenant law and are an adept marketer, self-managing a property may be an option. However, you should factor in your time against any cost savings in hiring a professional. One can also become an employer by hiring an on-site manager.
You should consider hiring a property management company if:
You don’t live on island. In Hawaii, you are required by law to have an on-island manager. If you live off island, hiring an on-island property management company will fulfill this requirement and relieve you of dealing with issues from a far.
You have multiple rentals. Work and time investment increases the more rental properties you own, which means you are likely to benefit from a management company.
You don’t want to be a hands-on manager. If you would prefer to view your rentals as an investment only, and want little to do with day-to-day management, hiring a management company is a good option.
Your time is limited. For those that have another full-time job or business, there may not be time for hands-on property management. Even if rentals are your business- buying and developing properties- you may want a property management entity to handle daily tasks while you grow your property empire.
You can afford the cost. If you can afford a percentage of rent revenues as an expense of your rental property investment, hiring a property management company is an attractive option, freeing up your time to focus in other areas.
Your property has special or growing needs. Perhaps your property is getting older, or you used to self-manage but personal issues prevent you from continuing. There are many reasons that you may find you need a more help to manage everything properly, and need to hire a management company.
How to Find a Good Property Management Company
Review your property management options carefully by:
- Reviewing each company, seeing how many properties they manage and how long they have been in business. Do they have maintenance and repair contractors available? Ask how accounting is handled and if there is online access for owner and tenant accounts.
- Search professional directories on the Internet such as the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) at www.irem.org or the National Association of Residential Property Managers’ (NARPM) at www.narpm.org and search by state and company name.
Beyond research, Cabos recommends meeting with a prospective property management company before hiring them. “The final check after doing your research is to get all of your questions answered in person,” Cabos said. “Your rental property is a precious investment and you want to make sure you are turning it over to good hands.”
Hopefully you will never have to deal with poultry living in your house, but if you are faced with problems you can’t handle, a professional property manager can help.
About March Cabos
March Cabos’ career in property management and real estate was inspired by her mom’s desire for a bigger house to accommodate her growing family. March grew a passion for helping people, like her mom and hard-working dad, find their dream home. March is married with two children, and is involved in many volunteer roles, such as being the Wishing Well Coordinator for Pukalani Elementary School. She is a realtor and property manager for Destination Maui Realty, where she also trains new property agents, and is preparing to become a real estate broker. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
choices and at a reasonable rate.