Self-manage or hire a professional?

So the question of whether to self-manage or hire a professional property manager. The answer to that is really different for everyone. So I’m going to touch on just a few things for you to consider. If you’ve got rental property, maybe you’ve been self-managing, or maybe you just purchased your first rental property and you’re trying to decide: Do I do this myself? Do I hire a professional? So I want to give you just a few things to think about here, to help you in the process of making that decision.

So one is: Do you have time? So I want you to think about your time. Do you have time to answer calls? Do you have time to meet tenants, to show the property? Do you have time to handle maintenance repairs or maintenance requests and issues that arise? Are you going to be available to address a problem that a tenant may have that day? Or do you travel for work? Are you going to be out of town? If you don’t have the time, then it could be a good reason for you to turn it over to a professional.

The second thing I want you to think about is just your knowledge. Do you have the knowledge to know what it takes? Do you understand the Georgia tenant/landlord law? Do you understand what it takes to screen a tenant and properly place a tenant? Do you know what to look for? How do you know you don’t get a good tenant, versus a bad tenant? Do you know how to handle service animals? Just really, do you have the knowledge to make sure that you’re in compliance with fair housing laws? With tenant and landlord relations, do you know what you can do, what you can’t do? So it’s just important that you make sure you have the knowledge. And if you do, great. Go self-manage that property. But if you don’t, might be a good time to turn it over to a property manager.

And then the last thing for you to consider is your personal temperament. Do you have the right temperament to handle it? And what I mean by that is are you able to run this venture like a business? And so often, I see landlords or I see individuals who have self-managed. What happens, a lot of times, they come to us and they’ve gotten themselves in a bind because the tenant needs this or needs that and they give, give, give. And they say, “This just isn’t profitable for me any more.” And oftentimes, the tenant calls and says, “Hey, I can’t pay rent this month. I just need a little extra time. You know, I was off work for a couple days. I was sick or I had to go out of town and I couldn’t work.” They come up with excuse after excuse after excuse.

Most people, being as good-hearted as they are, oftentimes will let that tenant slide. And when you give them an inch, 99% of them, they’ll take a mile. If you’re going to do this on your own, you’ve got to be able to run it like a business, because that’s what it is. You’ve invested in this rental property to earn an income and for it to be a profitable investment for you. So you’ve got to run it like a business. And if you’re not able to do that, if you think you’re going to let the tenant slide, if you don’t know how to kind of have tough love or be a little bit tough on that tenant sometimes, might be a good time to have a property manager.

And in that situation, too, we’re the buffer. So as a professional property manager, we’re the buffer between you and the tenant, and we actually set up our business in such a way that the tenant doesn’t even know who the owner is. All of their dealings go directly to us, and we handle everything.

So as you’re considering whether you should self-manage or hire professional management, those are three things for you to think about: your time, your knowledge, and your temperament.