4 Reasons DIY is Dead (An Argument for Outsourcing Everything)

by | BiggerPockets.com

Everyone loves to save money, but sometimes mindset can get in the way of doing what’s most efficient. While it’s common knowledge that doing certain things yourself saves money, that isn’t necessarily always true.

People think outsourcing is a luxury only available to large operations that can easily afford it. But the truth is that outsourcing early makes you money because it buys you time. For instance, you might imagine the money you’d save if you:

  • Self-manage your rental
  • Fix that house yourself
  • Create your own LLC online
  • Build your own website
  • Take your own home photos
  • Buy a house without using a real estate agent
  • Write your yellow letters by hand

But are you really going to do all that by yourself? It’s unlikely that you will save any money doing this stuff yourself. Your life is going to be harder, and your time is going to be spent inefficiently. Here are a few reasons why.

4 Reasons DIY is Dead (a.k.a. An Argument for Outsourcing Everything)

1. The market value of a job is the same regardless of who does it.

This is important to reconcile in your head. Say you want to replace the flooring in a house. You get a quote for $3,000 to do the job. Problem is that you’re a new investor, and that’s a lot of money. You just don’t want to spend it, so you attempt to do the work yourself. Is the job suddenly worth less because you decide to it rather than someone else? Of course not. The job is still worth $3,000.

It’s important to be clear that this is a function of economics and should be applied to everything, not just DIY home projects, though that will be the focus of this article. The same concept works for anything on the above list as well. If you self-manage your rental houses, the job still pays 10% whether you’re paying yourself or someone else. You didn’t save any money; you just got a part-time job.

We outsource so much already—I’m just talking about going the extra mile. Do you hunt for your own food? Build your own house, computer, or car? Ever use Uber? Do you pay a water bill or just drop your waste “down river”? These are all things we outsource, and everyone would agree they are efficient and cheaper than doing these things ourselves. It’s not so crazy to outsource the majority of your business as well. In fact, this is how all businesses run. Everyone who has a “regular job” working for someone else is an outsourced asset to produce more than they consume.


Related: Outsourcing Real Estate Tasks is Good, But Automating is Better. Here’s How.

2. Your time is worth more than you think.

Some people will say, “I don’t mind doing it myself; I have plenty of free time,” but this is self-defeating statement and simply not true. We all have the same amount of time (not much) and none of it is free, so don’t make this mistake of fixing toilets or chasing tenants to save a few bucks. This excuse is more or less admitting your time isn’t that valuable, but your time is incredibly valuable! No one would cut down their total time because they had extra, right?

As an investor, you should be looking at and chasing the upside and simply protecting the downside. This means stop worrying about saving $300 when your time could be spent making exponentially higher returns.

I used to sell cars, and every morning, someone would volunteer to go grab all the salespeople breakfast. Everyone who wanted something pitched in, and the guy who drove ate for free. The lousy salespeople were the ones who always volunteered—first, because they were lazy, and second, because they got a free meal almost every day. That may sound good at first, but if you go to McDonalds to save $4 on a breakfast sandwich and you miss a sale on the floor to someone who paid you to go, you miss out on a LOT more than $4. Outsourcing my breakfast was an expense I was happy to pay for because it allowed me to buy someone else’s time for a fraction of what it was worth. I used to say sending someone for a breakfast run was “going for a $500 biscuit.”

3. Doing it yourself won’t maximize your efficiency.

Do you know how to change the oil in your car? It’s easy, and yet most people outsource it. Why? Because we don’t have a lift, jack stands, or the time (and some of us don’t like to get dirty). I can take it down the street and have someone else change the oil for a reasonable premium, and it has other benefits, too:

  1. It’ll be done correctly.
  2. I’ll have a bit of liability protection (in case something wasn’t done correctly).
  3. It’s fast! I can drop the car off and pick it up at my leisure. I’m creating time.

Imagine if you had to learn how to build a car before you could drive one. What if you’re really good at real estate, but you can’t get over to see a property because you have to build this stupid car first? This is a horribly inefficient use of your time. This extreme example supports my overall point: Leverage what you’re good at and lean hard on that. Don’t get caught up with ancillary stuff.

Say you want to own 100 rental houses. The skills and talents needed for this are totally different than the skills needed to be a property manager. So, how much time and money are you really going to save by learning how to be a property manager first? What about fixing toilets? Is it really worth learning that skill set to save $150 now, when your long-term plan has you nowhere near plumbing? Focus on what’s important and spend your time honing skills that will be most valuable to your goals.

Now, if you’re a great plumber, by all means do as much of it as you can. If you’re great with people and you can create systems, then maybe you want to be a property manager. Whatever your goal is, go for it and delegate everything else to those who are proficient at their specific function.

Related: 4 Business-Improving Projects I’ve Completed for a Few Hundred Dollars by Outsourcing

4. The real value of any business is management of human capital.

Nothing is more valuable than people and the economic output they produce over time. This is why it’s most valuable to invest in people and managing people. Learning to effectively manage human capital allows you to scale bigger, create time, and compound your earnings. You don’t get big and then outsource; you outsource to get big!

Flippers who do all the work themselves are my favorite example of poor outsourcing. Back to my original point: The market value of the work stays the same regardless of who does it. So if you’re a flipper who does all his own labor, how much are you saving? Now, certainly if you’re new and literally can’t afford to outsource, that’s a bit different, but as soon as you can afford to outsource, do it. Rehabbing a house is not investing; that’s just day-job labor. How many houses can you rehab at one time anyway? Can you do five at a time all by yourself? No, you’re capped by your available time to spend. You can’t possibly have more than 24 hours, and you can’t be in more than one place at a time. You need a crew (a couple crews, in fact), and you need to manage them to be where you can’t be and multiply your productivity. If you flip five houses in a year that all need $30k of work, you didn’t save $150,000. Instead, you just paid yourself that amount. That may seem abstract, but it’s a very different thing. The error here is assuming your time is only worth $150,000 per year. The truth is, it’s worth far more.

The One Time You’re Allowed to Work

There is one reason not to outsource: You absolutely should get your hands involved and grind out some labor for experience.

I’ve built houses from the ground up (a couple, actually) when I was a young fella with my uncle. I’ve rebuilt transmissions, clutches, honed cylinder heads, and all sorts of car stuff. I’ve self-managed tenants, and I’ve fixed toilets. Contrary to how it sounds, I do believe understanding these skills are valuable, and having real world experience is a good thing. But as soon as you know how to do them, stop. You can’t lead and inspire a team of people to follow you if they don’t think you’re willing to do their job, so do it. Learn it, then outsource it forever!

We’re republishing this article to help out our newer readers.

What do you think? Do you outsource most of the tasks you can? Why or why not?

Comment below!

About Author

Alexander Felice

Alex has spent his career in sales and finance industries and now invests in rental real estate along with working in the underwriting department at a bank in Las Vegas. Alex is an expert in long-distance single family rental real estate, debt and leverage strategy, and financial analysis. He spends most of his free time teaching investors through writing and coaching to ensure their best possibility of success. Alex has been buying real estate for nearly three years and currently owns eight single family houses. He also helped fellow investors directly purchase over 20 properties in 2018. Alex’s writing can be found at BrokeIsAChoice.com, and more of his story can be heard on the BiggerPockets Podcast episode 301.


  1. Ali Hashemi

    Excellent article.

    I’ve always liked the example that Tom Brady may be great at mowing his own lawn. But he would be losing money if he did it himself.

    Our own time is the most valuable thing we have because it’s the only thing we can’t get more of.

    Look at how many billions of marketing dollars are spent to influence how people spend their….time. Stores want you in their store longer, commercials want you watching longer, websites want you spending more time clicking…

    Corporate America values your time more than you do yourself.

    Like this article states, it’s difficult to wrap your mind around it, but once you do it changes how you approach money, time and decisions.

  2. Christopher Smith

    For me, I have a full time job and absolutely no desire to baby sit my tenants, so having property management was all but a fait accompli. But even if I didn’t have a job, and I didn’t mind listening to whining tenants, I still don’t think I would do it. Even my property managers delegate out most of their menial work to others. They are not stupid enough to go around fixing water leaks and trimming hedges.

    I read in one of these columns an individual decrying this concept (intelligent delegation) and his proof was all the money he saved collecting and processing checks and fixing minor requests for repairs. I thought to myself how much does an accounts receivable clerk and a basic fix it / handy man get paid? The question effectively answers itself.

    So unless the idea of doing dreary, backbreaking ministerial work at or about the minimum wage level really turns you on, delegate. To be fair, I occasionally go to my properties to do some tree trimming or some odds or ends, but I do it more to make sure I know what’s happening with my properties than I do to save any real money. That’s more about the process of managing my property managers, that part I don’t delegate.

    • Alexander Felice

      Yeah everyone does SOME diy on occasion just because we are there, we care, and we can.

      I checked in on a tenant just last week (technically I flew in to see all my properties and she was outside), but still its’ a big difference in setting out to DIY as a business process versus delegating all that you can to maximizing efficiency.

      thanks for the comment

  3. Cindy Larsen


    In my humble opinion, it makes sense to outsource some things, and not others.
    If the job is small, and I have the expertise, and don’t mind the tupe of work,
    it makes sense to do it myself.
    If it is something that I want a warranty on, like a roof, or electrical work, I hire it out.
    If it is something i don’t like doing (plumbing and cleaning) I hire it out.

    Contracting out a small job, I end up spending at least half as much time as it takes to do the job: a)calling multiple contractors for estimates, b) meeting them at the property so they can estimate, c)finding a competent contractor to do the job, d)scheduling the contractor, e)supervising the contractor while they work. I once spent 6 hours on this stuff for an 8 hour job by a painting contractor. And they did a worse job than I would have. My sons and I do all of our own painting , floor installs ( no carpet), floor refinishing, and tiling of floors, tub surrounds, and countertops. I hire out cleaning, plumbing and electrical.

    I do my own property management because I am good at it, and have not yet found someone to outsource it to in my area that does a good job. I allocate 8% of rents to property management, and have systems in place so that it does not take that much of my time. Again, I would spend half of that time managing the property manager.

    Also, doing constructive work is rewarding: you accomplish something tangible in a relatively short period of time. It beats wasting your time watching netflicks. And when you do hire something out, you have the knowledge and expertise to select good contractors (mostly);and not get ripped off.


    • Alexander Felice

      Cindy, there is certainly value in knowing how to accomplish certain tasks, I mentioned in the article for this exact case.

      the lesson here is scale! The smaller the operation the more incentive there is to DIY, this is why it’s so important NOT to diy and get your operation big. You don’t want to solve an 8 hour paint job project, you want to solve the 30 unit paint job project.

      property management is the same way: you won’t be able to manage 100 units, start replicating yourself now. thanks for your comment

      • Cindy Larsen


        You are right, it is obvious that no one can DIY property management, or anything else for 100+ units. It is important to have people you can trust to do good work, working for you. I am constantly looking for those people. But, as far as I have seen in my local area, which is where I invest, there are ZERO good trustworthy property management companies.

        So, if I outsource that, at this point (10 units) I will not be ABLE to scale, as my profitability will be destroyed by incompetentt or uncaring property management. Doing my own property management will result in good tenants and well maintained properties at market rates, and that will result in more money I can use to scale.

        In some abstract world, it would be great to outsource my property management. In this world, it looks like I will need to create a property management company and train good property managers at some point in the next few years.

        I am not against outsourcing. I just want it to be GOOD outsourcing. I recently ran across a local investor who outsourced her property management, and as a result of 5-6 years of bad property management by the two best local companies (she fired one then hired the other) was eager to sell her 4plex. I witnessed a soaked waterdamaged lower floor bathroom below an upper unit bathroom with a leaking toilet. Two days later the lower bathroom had no evidence of any problem: new sheetrock and paint. The upper bathroom still had a leaking toilet. The interior of the wall was still wet, I am sure, and the problem destined to continue.

        Would you outsource to that kind of property management?
        Also, contractors in my state do not have to pass any tests, or even have any experience: just post a $12k bond, and hey presto, you are a general contractor.
        Finding a good one is NOT easy.

        Sometimes, the limitation to being able to scale is not unwillingness to delegate, but difficulty in finding competent people to delegate to. On small jobs, it really is more efficient to DIY than to try and find someone who will do a good job.

        If I was flipping, and didn’t care that I was potentially leaving the new owner with hidden problems, just hiring the work out so it looked good enough to sell might be profitable. lots of people do that. I consider it unethical.

        I am also a buy and hold investor, so I want and need a high quality job the first time, rather than paying to have it done over again later. Which means I am going to be watching contractors like a hawk. I will find the best quality workman I can. If I can’t find one at a reasonable price, I will DIY until I do find one.

        I believe scaling from a solid foundation of good well maintained properties with good carefully selected tenants (who are treated right so they become long term) will ultimately have a better result than just outsourcing for the sake of it.
        Meanwhile I am adding good people to my team whenever I can find them, or train them.

        • Alexander Felice

          Cindy I do B&H and I have less houses than you! So yes, I think outsourcing can still help

          Let me offer this perspective, a business (less assets) is worth what the system will produce with you gone, if someone else has to BE you, then the business is worth nothing. Will your business fail if you aren’t there to run it? What I really want to expose is that if things can’t run without you, then you are the riskiest part of the operation. One injury or unexpected event away from insolvency.

          I do agree that it’s hard to find contractors for small jobs. TRUST ME I feel that pain, in fact I’m writing another article for my own site condemning contractors (in the harshest terms possible). That is just another reason why you have to SCALE, you’ll get much better quality of work when you have a big portfolio. These things work in tandem!

          also PM should only be 10% and I don’t buy anything that can’t run profitably regardless of my interaction.

          My post may not convince you, but maybe something to consider for the long run. You dont’ want to self-manage forever 😉

        • Cindy Larsen

          Alexander, as I mentioned in my last post, I am strongly considering starting a property management company. Meanwhile, I’d have to be pretty dumb to have my business dependent on me not getting sick or injured. Both of my sons are well trained and capable of “being me” if needed.

          Ten years from now, one of my sons will be running everything. So part of the reason we are doing DIY is for them to gain the experience to select and manage contractors, property management people, etc.
          They are well on the way. I believe strongly that managing people with no idea of what their job entails is a recipe for disaster. i saw that way too much from management during my previous career in the SW industry in Silicon Valley.

          Also if you are paying 10% for property management, you are overpaying.

        • Alexander Felice

          paying 10% for PM is pretty standard nationally.

          Honestly I would happily pay MORE, I think he’s far more valuable. I have never met any of my tenants in 3 years, I get to live 2600 miles away and spend 0 hours a week on my business and its’ quite profitable, certainly worth 10% to me, my time is worth much more.

  4. Sterling Broyles

    Great article! This is something I think most of us handy and experienced fixers will easily look over and that stifles growth. Of course, this all depends on your goals. If your goal is 100 properties then obviously outsource asap, but if your goal is 10 properties owned free and clear then go for it DIY’r.

    • Alexander Felice

      my original goal was 10 units in 10 years.
      I hit 5 units in 3 years, and should have 8 before years end.

      If you think big, delegate, and take action then you’ll go a lot further than you think, and it’ll be easier than you think because you won’t be bogged down solving small problems that require your entire attention.

  5. John Teachout

    This article lays out a scenario that is exactly opposite of how I live. I do hunt my own food. My wife and I do all aspects of our real estate investment from finding properties to ALL the repairs to managing them. I change my own oil even if the dealer offers free oil changes. We cut our own grass, grow a garden and are just do it yourselfers in general. We like to do it that way. I do value my time but also have a high standards and feel I’m in a good position to be able to meet those standards. Someday, I may change my way of thinking regarding doing as many tasks myself as possible. But for now, we just carry on. Just a half hour ago I disassembled my wife’s vacuum because it was making a horrible noise. Turns out it’s junk as it ate something that was highly disagreeable to it. Had it been salvageable, I would have repaired it. So different strokes.

    • Ron Fiscus

      Glad that someone else is like me. I’m an odd ball, but glad I’m not alone. The problem I run into time and time again is quality of workmanship, following correct procedures, and take advantage of what we call in my business opportunity tasks. Opportunity task is when the plumber fixes the leak that caused the Sheetrock to fall down and didn’t fix something a foot away that should have been addressed while the opportunity was there (the Sheetrock down, tools in hand plumber on site, etc.). I have experienced this over and over. But they will for sure come back in a year and do some more work for you at $120 per hour. I wish I didn’t have to do everything, but I’m very often disappointed by the “professionals”.

      • Doug Smith

        I like the hands on approach myself. I’m a general contractor with seven properties just outside Boston. No one is going to look after your property as much as you. You get to see first hand what the issues are and deal with them quickly and efficiently. After 40 years in the trades my crew and I can fix just about anything a property can throw at us. Tenants also like the personalized attention. Recently I took care of repairs at a friends 3 family, he’s a hands off kind of guy. when the bank wouldn’t refinance his loan because there were safety issues, code violations, and drug dealing, he was completely surprised. I asked him when he was last in the building and he said it had been a couple of years. He didn’t know his tenants, except one guy. they were 2 months in arrears and the place was a shithole. I almost fell over! I have a similar building a couple of streets away and I have professional couples living there. I know everyone’s name and they all have my cell number should they ever need me. My rents are substantially more than his for the same amount of space. because I take personal pride in providing a clean safe environment for my tenants to come home to.

  6. Max T.

    I’ll be devil’s advocate… It makes sense to DIY in some situations:

    1. When you’re just starting out and have little to no money to pay others.
    2. If you’re more time-rich than cash rich (similar to point 1).
    3. If you can do it better than the pros (which is often the case with certain handyman jobs).
    4. Small quick jobs are just as much time/energy to hire out than to do yourself.
    5. If your competitive advantage is a trade (if you are a plumber, carpenter, painter, property manager, etc).

    But your point is to scale, you should not be focused on DIY, and I agree.

    • Dan Weese

      Exactly. When starting out, $3000 for this and $2000 for that when you could do it yourself at materials cost makes sense. Once you start getting equity and cash flow in your houses it makes sense to outsource for scale, but that is going to take a while to find contractors you trust that you won’t have to micromanage, thereby discounting whatever you spent outsourcing in the first place. If you’re a remote investor, you have to outsource. If your properties are nearby, doing some of these things yourself in the early days give you a valuable education and the ability to make better choices when you do go to find a contractor.

  7. I only have two houses right now, and I do almost all of the work on rehabbing them. Right now, I could afford to pay people to do some of the work, but I find that the workmanship is just not there. I do enjoy doing carpentry, especially trim work. I am also a full time dad with 3 boys, and invest part time. RIght now money is more valuable than time for me personally. I do agree with you however, that once my business gets to a certain point… I need to step back from the diy to continue to grow.

  8. Patrick gilsenan

    Right on brother! I can’t tell you how long I have been trying to preach this very thing while watching friends lose money and time and end up with an inferior product/result. As crazy as it sounds, I think some landlords believe if they are not busy they are not productive and thus tackle tasks they otherwise shouldn’t in order to feel like they are contributing to their business. In so many levels, outsourcing in real estate saves time and money.

  9. Shawn Channell

    Thank you Alexander for a great article. I just finished up a reno on a flip where I “put my toolbelt back on” to finish because the finish carpenters I knew were either too expensive or too sloppy, and it was a higher end flip. I’m ready to get back in the office and out looking for more deals, because I realize now that’s where my time is most valuable. One way to look at: if you calculate your hourly rate at say, $100 per hour, why would you spend time performing work that you can pay someone $25 per hour to do? So, if I do a job that takes me ten hours, essentially it cost me $1,000 ($100 x 10), whereas someone else might be able to do the job in eight hours (because they’re more efficient at it than me), and my cost would have been $200 ($25 x 8). So, I overspent by at least $800, and actually more, when considering my time could have been used to find more deals and reliable contractors.

  10. brian ploszay

    Outsourcing doesn’t happen that quick, but I like the premise of this article. Try outsourcing a few items and see what works and what doesn’t. I’ve outsourced rent collecting. And about 90% of repairs. I do not outsource screening of tenants, because the motivation for leasing agents doesn’t line up with my motivations to patiently wait for the right tenant.

  11. micheal reinier

    Love your article, I do my own property management and most of my own contracting as well as being a licensed broker. So, I make money on multiple ends because I have found that I do it better, cheaper and with less headaches. But, only so many hours in a day so, can’t do as many as i would like.

  12. kirk olsen

    I diy all repairs cant find anyone that doesnt halfass repairs. I over build so i dont have to repair again till its shot. It costs more but sleep better with knowing done rt. Have had recommended and hired bunch or contractors and handyman and wouldnt let them wash my dog. But i did grow up fixing and building my own stuff. I do use realtor and finance people for buying and selling. But do everything but roofs sheetrock and water and gas lines here n abilene. Guess u have better luck than me. Liked sum parts think its a by operation thing and size too.

  13. Cheryl Butler

    Very good article! I recently decided that I wasn’t going to paint my rentals anymore because 1) I dislike it; 2) I don’t do a very good job; and 3) hiring a painter doesn’t have a huge effect on my bottom line. This article made me realize there are other things I need to examine as well. Thanks for the inspirational read 🙂

  14. shiela roberts

    Could not agree more! Also, if you have done less than say 20 tile jobs (or aren’t a master tiler, carpenter, etc.) and think you can retile your master bathroom, for example, your self to look professional, you are not fooling anyone. I can’t tell you how many flips I see where the “investors” did the DIY route and my buyers are like “wtf?”. Not to say that I haven’t done things myself but I learned very quickly that my time and energy is spent much better on the things I am good at – finding deals and overseeing the design and remodel of flips and long term holds or brokering for my repeat clients.

  15. Michael Cummins

    From an opposing point of view, I think Sterling, Cindy, and others hit it on the head. The original article makes the assumption of wanting to be a huge outfit and always grow/maximize profits. This is the furthest thing from my goals, and the headaches incurred from managing all those people, contractors, subs, etc is far greater than its worth to meet my goals of a reasonable amount of passive buy and hold income without a giant operation, employees, 100s of units, etc.

    Scale will (potentially) make you richer. Scale will (potentially) pay you more per hour for your time. There is no doubt about this. Scale will also quite likely leave you leveraged to the point that a small market turn could bankrupt you. Scale and outsourcing could easily lead to a situation where poor quality work leads to a massive lawsuit that takes down your company. This may happen without you even knowing it, and yet you’re liable for it, because in the end the buck stops with you. Insurance etc can reduce, but not eliminate, such risks.

    Its all in your priorities. I only look to operate about 15 units (am halfway there with 3 more under agreement), and I do almost everything myself. I will never make several hundred thousand per year doing this, nor do I want to. What I will do is know that every single detail of every part of my operation is done correctly, that I offer some of the best housing available in my areas, have tenants that love where they live and take impeccable care of the units, and I make exceptionally high rates of return with very nearly zero debt. My business is nearly bulletproof to market conditions changing, etc.

    Show me the scaled up, outsourced investor in FL from 2007. Where were they in 2009? Under my model, my income would have decreased a bit in the bubble pop, but I’d still have substantial profitability. The scaled into giant hands-off operations are wiped out immediately in these kind of scenarios because there are far too many outsourced hands taking their piece of the pie – a 20% shift in revenues from a market correction, natural disaster, etc can make the $1mil/year profit operation turn into $1mil/yr loss, with a huge portfolio of upside down properties that will inevitably be foreclosed and any remaining assets seized to pay off debts.

    There’s another side to it. I take great pride in what I do. It matters greatly to me that things be done well, to my standards, and that my tenants love their homes. Even if I could have every benefit listed above and not have to do any of the work, I’d still choose to do a lot of it for that sense of pride in what I do. My self worth does not come from the size of my bank account, what I make per hour, or how many doors I have, and it never will. That’s simply not the life I choose to live. I could never take serious pride in what I do by outsourcing everything.

    That said, as Cindy mentioned, you def have to outsource some things – things you are not proficient in or particularly dislike doing are the first on the chopping block. For this reason, I have a roofer, for example. I know how to do it and can do a better job than the majority of contractors out there care to do it, but I hate it and its one thing I just pay to have done. Once I find a good cleaning outfit that suits my needs at a price I like, that will be another one.

  16. John Murray

    I have often wondered why America has become so lazy and are so opposed to hard work. I became a multimillionaire entrepreneur by specializing. The specialist entrepreneur has specialized skills and passion for what he or she does. As I pull away from my latest rental or flip I have to smile, I pulled off what others cannot. It might be 0400 in the morning but it’s my 0400 in the morning. I choose when I work, when I go to the gym and whatever I want to do. This all about freedom, not about getting your hands dirty or paying high taxes because the individual has chosen a W-2. To accomplish freedom is the greatest of my work, raising my kids was the hardest thing I ever did and both I hold as my passions.

  17. Anthony Angotti

    I agree with some of this. DIY I think is fine as you mentioned to LEARN tasks. Then once you learn what is easy/challenging you can hire out certain tasks.

    Regarding management though my plan is to DIY management until enough units to reasonably hire someone to handle leasing (commission only or admin/assistant). If you are local so many ways to systematize prop management that I really see no value in paying someone 10% to handle it. That being said you’ve basically become your own prop management company and are still only making what you’d otherwise pay them. I just think that you can do a better job doing it yourself rather than hiring it out.

    Reason is that rent collection is easy with the internet (lots of platforms handle it).
    Maintenance is outsourced if you have a local handyman.
    Taking tenant phone calls and emails can be handled by a virtual assistant.
    Evictions can be handled with a local lawyer or through just understanding the process.
    Unit make ready can be handled by cleaning company and contractors.
    In my opinion walking through units for inspections is better done on your own if you have knowledge of home maintenance. Prop manager walkthroughs always miss a bunch of things.

  18. Susan Maneck

    It seems to me that DIY is best for young investors with more time than money. Once you have more money than time, farm it out. I didn’t get into serious real estate investing until I was over 55 and already had a career solidly in place and was in fact looking forward to retirement. Not only was I not going to learn how to install a toilet, I never had any intention of picking up a paint brush. But I have handled most of the ‘white collar’ portions of the job, collecting rents, handling evictions, etc. Slowly I have been turning my properties over to a property manager because I now spend a lot of time out of state. Plus, the older I get the more passive I want my money supply to be.

  19. Sanjeev Mittal

    I really like the article. I don’t do real eastate but do manage a small size business. Intelligent delegation to save your own valuable time is a valuable tool not only for business but also in your daily lives. Thanks again for explaining it do well.

  20. Ryan Mayes

    I have to agree to disagree here. I know way to many people that say my time is worth more than that…as they go home and do nothing productive at all but sit around. If your not going to use your time in a productive manner then it’s worth $0.

    Another misconception that way to many authors on here think is that everyone has all this money laying around to pay people to do everything for them. Or we all have rich relatives and friends who are dying to give us there money for a small 7% interest return. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but most the people on this site don’t.
    If you live off a 9-5 making 40k a year, after health care, taxes and some savings you bring home what 24k a year or so. Now instead of spending an extra 3k for renovations(that goes in someone else’s pocket) on your 1st or 2nd rental you should eat up all the years profit to save a couple weekends??
    Or should the smart savy investor get his hands dirty,learn a trade or two, get some extra knowledge and make his pockets bigger, Name Drop- bigger pockets!
    And knowledge is priceless and we seem to forget that.
    I can’t wait till I’m to the point I can pay someone. Once it’s cost effective and I have buckets of money and I can have multiple projects going on, on multiple properties at the same time since I buy some each month, But untill that happens-usually years after starting-it’s silly to assume even 15% of the people on here have the funds to pay themselves let alone a contractor.
    Just my .02

    • Alexander Felice

      Ryan, I’ve never made more than 50k a year at my day job. I’m not rich by any means, I just highly value my time and freedom.

      certainly I did a lot of DIY on my first 1-2 houses, but because I didn’t know better and didn’t have the skills and talent to properly manage people. Now that I do, I find outsourcing to be a no-brainer. It’s not about how much money I had, it’s about most effective use of resources.

      I appreciate the comment and love opposing views. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Alan Van Antwerp

    I agree for the most part. I will add a couple of comments. First, learn what is involved in these outsourced tasks, then you will know what it is worth. For small jobs, some contractors are going to charge you a minimum . So if it is a half hour job it may be worth it to do it yourself instead of $150. Lastly, remember your spending money is after taxes, assuming you have a job. Therefore to spend $150, you have to earn $200 of before tax money, for most people that’s 2-4 hours of time.

  22. Sarann K.

    This is an eye-opening article, I have been struggling to decide on outsourcing. When you said “You don’t get big and then outsource; you outsource to get big!”, I felt like my other brain has been turned on, it is a wake-up call.
    Thank you for such an inspiring blog.

  23. George Darcy

    As I see it, comes down to where you can add value. You can DIY or spend your time vetting and over-seeing contractors. You can self manage or find a property manager. Bird dog your new purchases or have a Realtor bring them to you. There are costs involved with each of these including opportunity costs(your time). Additionally not all of these functions generate the same amount of value. Your property manager will add more or less value than self managing. Same for the other functions.
    It seems as reaching scale is the only value add function you deem worthy of your time. Can you generate scale better than a successful Syndicator. Why not just invest with a syndicator and have all your time to your self.

  24. Roderick Mills Jr.

    I agree with a lot that was said in this article. Mainly that your time is very valuable and can make you more money if used wisely and that outsourcing to someone that does the job for a living and will most likely get it done right the first time and do a better job than you is better in the long run.

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