Last week, we talked all about finding the right Property Manager for you. But what if you want to self manage?
Well, let's discuss! I still manage most of our multifamily properties here in NY and have learned many lessons along the way that I am happy to share with you. You may remember that I spent last winter living in DR and was STILL able to manage my NY properties without missing a beat! I even did a full kitchen reno from the beach!
When I first started managing our properties, I felt like a chicken running around with my head cut off. I was searching everywhere to get the right documents in place...and then doing it again for every new tenant we added. I
I couldn't keep living that way! Especially as we multiplied our Portfolio!
One of the biggest mistakes I see Lady Landlords make is being too haphazard in how they run their rentals. I get it. Many people sell the dream that rental properties are just mailbox money that will make you a millionaire overnight. But, that just isn't the case. It takes work, time, and dedication to run your properties right. You need to make decisions that will either cost you money or make you money. I know which side I would rather be on.
Being organized and implementing systems will be your best friend!
Here are the 3 Stages of Self- Managing you need to be successful:
1. Before Renting:
It all starts that Beginning. Once you post about a tenant vacancy, you need to be prepared with what comes next. Most important is to understand Fair Housing and State/Local Laws. These are always changing so you need to stay up to date on and refine your processes accordingly. As the Landlord, it is your responsibility to know what you can and cannot do. The Pre-Screening and Screening Stages of Self-Management will really define your relationship with a tenant so make sure to stay on top of the information. Need help knowing what you can and cannot do? Join the Early Bird List for our upcoming Tenant Management Workshop!
The best tip I can give you is to set your criteria for renting first. Determine the income you require. Know if you will take Credit Scores into consideration, etc. You need to make sure to hold everyone accountable to the same conditions. Oh and have a rock solid lease! This is where I get mine from!
2. During Tenancy:
This is where Systems really make a difference! If you are self-managing, that means you ARE the property manager, so you need to think like one! They have contracts ready to go, checklists made, and inspections scheduled--and so should you. From Day One that a tenant moves in, they should understand what to expect from you and vice versa. Make sure to set clear boundaries from the start about how to communication is to take place and how to handle issues that may arise. And be clear in both maintenance issues as well as emergencies. For me, there is a different set of rules for these and it is important for tenants to understand the difference.
3. At Turnover:
Even the best tenant relationship can go south when the lease is coming to an end. Emotions can run high and if things weren't going well, here is where they could get worse. Regardless of if you chose to terminate the lease or if they are leaving on their own volition, there is less of an invested interest to follow rules and complete obligations so do your best to keep things friendly and professional. Your lease should already lay out the move out process so stick to that. Use passive language about the lease when reviewing it to help keep the peace. The return of the security deposit, the keys, and the condition of the rental should all be clearly outlined. Keep lines of communication open and follow what was previous agreed to. No one wants to end things on bad terms... and if they do, there's always small claims. 😉
Then, you get to start the process all over again!