If you own or are thinking about owning an investment property in Fort Lauderdale, you might be asking yourself, “Should I hire a property management company to manage my property?” While everyone’s situation is different, here are some considerations to think about before you make your decision about whether to hire a Fort Lauderdale property management company.
How much do you value your time?
Many real estate investors have a day job and don’t want to take on additional work outside regular work hours. If you have a flexible schedule or only have one or two properties to manage, maybe the additional work isn’t much of a burden. Ultimately, it boils down to how much you value your time—if you don’t have much free time as it is, or if you plan to grow your rental portfolio beyond a couple of properties, then maybe a property management company is the best way to go.
Where do you live in relation to your rental property?
If you live out-of-state or far away, then you should strongly consider hiring a Fort Lauderdale property management company to manage your property. While there is no hard and fast rule, you will likely get tired of going back and forth to your property if it is more than 45-60 minutes outside your regular commute.
Where do tenants look for rental properties?
In a lot of big cities, Fort Lauderdale included, a lot of tenants prefer to go through a property management company to find their next home. Property management companies usually have multiple properties available at any given time and systems in place to make it simple for tenants to schedule showings on their own schedule. Therefore, property management companies can often find tenants quicker than independent owner-operators.
Do you have experience screening tenants and dealing with late payers?
If you’ve never owned a rental property before, it can be easy to get disheartened if you have a bad experience early in your investing career. More often than not, problem tenants are the root cause of these bad experiences. Therefore, effectively screening tenants and understanding how to deal with late payers (both from a legal and inter-personal perspective) are critical to the success of your investing business. A good property management company can save you some major headaches on this front.
Do you enjoy managing properties?
This may sound like a no-brainer, but if you don’t enjoy managing properties, then you probably do it as well as someone who does enjoy the work. Unfortunately, this turns a lot of people off investing altogether—all they can think about is the hassle of managing a property, so they discount the idea entirely. If this sounds like you, then don’t worry. It’s still possible to own a profitable rental property even if you have to out-source the property management. On the other hand, if you’re a natural born manager, then maybe you’ll totally love it and want to keep doing it.
What condition is the property in?
How old is your property? How often does it require repairs? Will it need any major renovations in the near future? If your property needs a lot of upkeep, a property management company can help reduce the maintenance burden. Additionally, if you don’t have existing relationships with the right vendors, or if you’re not sure how to screen or manage service providers, then you might benefit from the management company’s rolodex. If your property management company has a longstanding relationship with the vendor, the vendor has a lot to lose if he screws up the job. This gives the property management company a lot of leverage over the vendor to ensure the work is done correctly and for a fair price. Of course, if you’ve always had a knack for repairing things, you might like to manage the work yourself.
Are you looking to expand your rental portfolio?
An often overlooked advantage to working with a property management company is inside access to future investment opportunities. A lot of property managers come to the business from a real estate brokerage or investing background, and they might even bring you deals if they know you’re interested in expanding. For example, maybe one of their existing clients is looking to offload a property. If the property meets your investment criteria, you might get a shot at it before anyone else even knows it’s on the market.
There are many things to think about before deciding you want to hire a property manager. Whether it’s the right decision for you really depends on your situation and your overall comfort level managing people and properties. Just remember, if you do hire one, it doesn’t mean you have to be completely removed from the operation of your rental property. The key is to communicate with your manager and set expectations early in the relationship.