SJA Property Management is an industry leader in the Puget Sound area including Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland and Seattle.
Property owners often ask whether self-management is a good idea. There are a few important questions you need to ask yourself before you decide to pursue DIY property management. First, will you be in the general area? If you’re moving out of state, you should hire a management company. There are too many issues that can cost you money when you’re not in the same city or at least a neighboring city. If you are going to be in the area and you’re an active investor, it might work for you. You need to consider it a part time job, and to be effective and limit your risk, you need to consider a few things.
Property Management Redmond: Laws
You need to be apprised of all the laws that pertain to rental property. Make sure you know all the current federal, state, and local laws. In Seattle, these laws seem to be changing on a monthly basis, so you will need to keep up with that.
Organize Your Rental Business
Knowing how to manage a property means being really organized. You have to be especially organized in your accounting. Document your expenses so when you do your year-end statement and file taxes, you’re able to take advantage of the deductions and depreciation that the IRS allows for rental property. If you can do that, you’ll save money.
How to Be a Landlord: Lease Enforcement
A self-managing landlord needs to accurately and consistently enforce the lease terms. Make sure you have a strong lease, all the required documentation, and the ability to enforce those terms. If you start getting lax in your business relationship with your tenant, real issues can be created. Be willing and able to enforce the lease.
Property Management Redmond: Inspections
Are you going to inspect the property? To be an effective DIY landlord, you’ll have to go to the property at least once a year. At SJA, we do a full 40-point inspection with pictures and a report. Any landlord with a property can’t forget about inspections. Even if your tenant is paying rent on time, go see if there are any lease violations or preventative maintenance issues you can catch before it escalates.
Being Available to Tenants
Decide if you want to be the main point of contact for a tenant. When something goes wrong, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is or whether you’re on vacation. They will call and want a quick response. If the heater goes out or there’s a leak or they need to break their lease, they will come to you. Be willing to respond quickly and have the right answers. You’ll need vendors who are already pre-screened so you can respond.
You can absolutely manage property on your own. But, it will take work, and to do it effectively and minimize risk, you need to put in some time. We have looked at our own business, and we spend about 70 hours on each property we manage every year. So, decide what your time is worth. If you have the time to devote to doing it right, do it. Otherwise, look for a professional management company that can do it for you.