Should you hire a property manager or use property management software?

Published on 19th September 2019 by Laura West

If you’re considering how you will manage renting out your property, whether it is a buy to let longer-term rental or a holiday home, you must decide which management style is best suited to you and your needs. You could hire a property manager, manage the property yourself using effective software, or combine a mixture of the two.

As a professional who specialises in the rental market, a property manager will manage properties which are owned by landlords. Search for property managers on the internet, and by speaking to local property owners who should be able to recommend a manager that they have hired. Alternatively, local estate agents could also help in finding a great property manager.

A property manager will deal with all processes relating to renting your property for you, and will typically charge commission which will range from 10 to 20 per cent of your rental income. Before hiring your property manager, it is also important to find out how they will advertise your property, the referencing process for tenants, the schedule of inspections, organisation of maintenance and repairs and how they will communicate with you, as well as the check in and check out processes for tenants.

However, many homeowners choose not to use a property manager, and manage their rental property themselves. For many landlords, the expense of hiring property managers makes handling rentals themselves far more appealing. Having complete control over tenants by being able to speak to them yourself, as well as managing your property’s availability yourself, can also prove attractive for landlords wishing to cut out the middleman.

Managing your own rental properties can be extremely rewarding as you handle all aspects of your business yourself, and you ensure that your tenants are happy in the property. There are, however, challenges in handling the rental process yourself. Finding reliable contractors to conduct maintenance, or housekeepers if you own a holiday rental, and ensuring they are trustworthy, communicative and reliable, can prove difficult and stressful. Once you have found a list of trustworthy contractors that you can call on to fix issues at your rental property, you will be in a good position to handle managing properties yourself.

With more short-term holiday lets being listed each day, property management companies are becoming more flexible in allowing different types of relationships with their clients. You could self-manage your property, with a property management company on hand to deal with unforeseen problems or emergencies which could arise. This method can prove extremely effective if your rental property is not located near your home.

However, some property managers will have clauses in their contract which forbid owners from marketing their property themselves. If you decide to manage your property using a hybrid owner and property manager relationship, then you must ensure that you both understand your roles and are clear on the way things will run, in order for the management of your properties to go smoothly. It is crucial that you state clearly how much involvement the property manager would have, both in a contract and verbally.

If you are managing multiple properties, and using multiple property portals, day to day business activities can become difficult. For example, accounting for different properties, distributing advertisements on different property portals and managing multiple calendars can become extremely challenging.

By sourcing property management software for free, your responsibilities become streamlined and simpler, which will save you a great deal of time. There is a wide variety of software solutions available, and some features such as scheduling maintenance, accounting features and calendar synchronisation prove extremely useful. In order to decide which software to purchase, consider the geographic regions which the provider is based in, and their level of support.

Sourcing property management software for free can help ease the complexity of the day to day burdens of the buy to let landlord.

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