California is home to some of the USA's best places to invest in rental properties.
However, the responsibilities and expenses associated with being a landlord can make it seem like more trouble than it's worth. That's where professional property management services come in.
Do you really need to pay someone else to do it all for you, or can you take care of your property yourself?
In this post, we'll answer that question for you. Here, we'll weigh up the costs and benefits of using a property management company.
What Professional Property Management Can Do for You
Read on to determine the best option for you.
Find and Manage Tenants
Finding tenants is tricky business.
You have to advertise your rental property relentlessly. Then, once applications start coming in, you have to screen tenants to make sure they're suitable and reliable.
Professional property management companies already have processes in place to do this. They perform tenant reference checks for you, so you can start your lease off on the right foot.
If you manage everything yourself, you'll have to spend time making calls and going through paperwork to find out about the backgrounds of all of your potential tenants.
You'll be the point of contact for the tenants throughout the lease, too.
This means that you'll have to maintain good tenant relations. You should check in with them every few months, and expect them to call you with complaints and requests in the meantime.
If you don't have time to do that, consider outsourcing the job to a property management firm.
When you manage a property by yourself, you're responsible for maintaining it. This involves replacing appliances and furnishings when they break and fixing up damage that comes as a result of wear and tear.
As well as carrying out regular maintenance to keep everything in check, you'll have to respond quickly to emergencies. For example, if a water pipe bursts, the electricity shuts off, or a window is broken, you'll have to get to the property immediately.
Making yourself available to take care of this kind of out-of-hours maintenance isn't easy. That's why it's much more convenient to have a professional property management company take care of it for you.
However, if you're particularly handy, you might not need to. If you already have the skills and the tools to carry out maintenance yourself, you could save time and money by going it alone.
Do you know what to do if your tenants pay their rent late? How about if they stop paying altogether? Are you prepared to evict your tenants if you have to?
A self-managing landlord should be well-versed in California's tenant laws, as well as their rights and responsibilities as a landlord.
If not, it's best to let a property management company take care of that for you. They can explain all of the legal jargon and guide you through the process.
Whether or not property management is right for you will depend on your time, skills, knowledge and resources.
Going it alone can be a full-time job. If you're not prepared to be 100% dedicated to your property and your tenants, it's best to get some professional assistance.
If you're still not convinced, read our post on how to know when it's time to start using professional property management services.