Owning a rental property is a great way not only to build passive income but to fulfill a basic need in our communities. After all, the number of renter households is on the rise while homeownership rates continue to decline. That being said, a plethora of misconceptions and myths exist about property management. So let’s set the record straight and debunk some common property management myths!
True or False? Property Management Myths
1) Property Management is Easy!
False! Property management isn’t for the faint of heart. Many first-timers fall into the misconception that managing a rental is as easy as throwing up a “For Rent” sign and collecting rent. While some aspects of property management are relatively simple, there are more than enough challenges that will keep you up at night… sometimes literally! Unpaid rent, evictions, legal changes or disputes, angry (and sometimes belligerent) residents, habitability issues, maintenance emergencies… need we go on? Managing a rental involves a lot of moving parts. This requires a vast amount of time, resources, and expertise to be done properly. It’s a full-time job! And let’s be realistic for a minute: if it were so easy, property managers wouldn’t exist in the first place.
2) It’s My Home, I Can Do What I Want!
Wrong! When you choose to rent your home, you’re essentially opening it up to the public and agreeing to make it someone else’s home. Sure, you legally own it, but that doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want. Landlord-tenant laws exist for a reason: to keep landlords in check and to safeguard the rights of tenants. Add to that Federal Fair Housing laws, Warranty of Habitability laws, and Quiet Enjoyment laws just to name a few, and you have yourself the No-You-Can’t-Do-Whatever-You-Want hattrick.
3) All Property Managers Are The Same, So Choose The Cheapest!
Not quite! While all property managers essentially fill the same niche (i.e. managing your rental property) not all provide the same level of service. Cheap often equates to minimal; minimal service, minimal protection, and minimal resources. Essentially, you get what you pay for. Your focus when choosing a property manager should be value, not just cost. Good property managers may not be cheap, but they’re not unaffordable either.
4) Renters Will Destroy My Home!
Not exactly! Renters can be hard on a property, but their goal isn’t to do as much damage as possible. The right renter will often treat your home with as much respect as if they owned it themselves. But damage does happen, even by good tenants. It’s just a part of renting your property multiple times to various tenants. A good property manager conducts a thorough tenant screening and background check to help mitigate this. It’s not 100% foolproof- things happen and you can’t screen for everything- but that’s where regular site visits and walk-throughs come into play. Routine inspections during the lease help catch problems before they get out of hand, including tenant damage.
5) My Property Manager Is Out To Get Me!
Now that’s just silly! Property managers aren’t sitting in a dark corner rubbing their hands together and scheming different ways to rip you off. We’re here to provide a service and to offer guidance on how best to navigate the unique challenges that come with owning a rental property. While that service does cost money, we’re a team and our goal is to tackle problems together. Sometimes the solution isn’t the one you wanted to hear, but remember myth number one!
A good property manager is worth their weight in gold, but their service won’t cost you your firstborn child. They know all the ins and outs of managing rental properties and aren’t as unaffordable as many myths have led homeowners to believe. In truth, they’re a valuable resource and well worth the cost.