Purchasing an investment property can be a smart financial decision but it also comes with responsibilities. In addition to paying a mortgage, taxes, and other related fees, you’ll have to be sure that the property is properly maintained, in order to create a habitable environment for your residents. As you grow your business, you may eventually need the help of a professional property management company to take care of the routine upkeep of your properties. Here's a look at the difference between property management and property maintenance.
What is Property Maintenance?
Property maintenance refers to the routine repairs and upgrades a property owner has to perform regularly to keep the building functional and stay in compliance with local regulations. This includes both scheduled preventative maintenance, as well as emergency repairs that need to be taken care of at a moment’s notice.
Common tasks related to property maintenance include:
- Lawn care
- Drywall replacement
- Checking the roof and gutters
- Electrical work
- HVAC inspection
- Storm cleanup
These are just a few of the common tasks related to maintaining a property, but the list goes on. You don’t have to handle each of these tasks yourself – especially the items that require specialized knowledge, such as plumbing and electrical work. But you do have to ensure that you have certified professionals in your network and systems in place to be sure that everything is completed in a timely manner.
Being an investment property owner comes with a lot of responsibilities. If a pipe bursts in the middle of the night at a property you own, you have to respond to it right away or risk you losing money on your investment and potentially being sued.
What is Property Management?
Property management is a service offered by a third-party individual or company to handle property maintenance and other tasks related to running a real estate business on behalf of the investment property owner. Property managers can be an individual or large company and the specific business operations they handle can vary.
Common tasks handled by property managers include:
- Screening residents
- Handling lease signings and renewal
- Rent collection
- Landscaping and snow removal
- Preventative maintenance
- Scheduling repairs
- Responding to resident requests
The role of a property manager is to handle the day-to-day responsibilities of managing and maintaining an investment opportunity on behalf of the owner, so you can focus on bigger picture concerns.
The cost of hiring a property manager can vary depending on the size of the portfolio and the tasks being performed. Some property managers will handle everything from maintenance to finding residents, while others will specialize in a specific area.
So, if you’re in search of a good property manager, it’s important to do your research and find one that can meet your needs at a price that’s within your budget.
When is it Time to Hire a Professional?
The smart time to hire a property manager is when you’re losing money or quality time with your family because you’re busy dealing with the upkeep of your rental properties or responding to the needs of residents.
It may not make sense to make the investment right away if you don’t have a consistent need for professional help. But if you’ve built up a modest portfolio of properties and you find yourself being stretched thin trying to do it all yourself, it’s time to hire a professional.
Another smart time to hire a property manager is when you are looking to invest outside of the place that you live. If you’re buying a rental property down the block from your own home, it’s easier to stop by on a routine basis and make repairs.
But, if you’re in a whole different city, it gets more complicated. That’s why it’s good to have a business partnership you can rely on to take care of those kinds of issues and recommend local professionals to handle more complex tasks.
Hiring a property management company is a great investment for those looking to build a large portfolio of properties. There's only so far you can take your investing business if you have to respond to every issue that arises yourself. Delegating these daily tasks to an experienced professional can help you save time and make more money in the long term.