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Why I’ll Never Self-Manage My Rentals Again

Why I’ll Never Self-Manage My Rentals Again

2 min read
Marcus Maloney

Marcus Maloney is a value investor and portfolio holder of residential and commercial units. Marcus has been named the “Equity King” for his impressive ability to find real estate opportunities with massive amounts of equity.

Marcus, a high school dropout, went from G.E.D. to M.B.A. Although his education has a major impact on his investment philosophy, the real impact came from his upbringing.

Marcus thrives on completing successful transactions. As a young kid, his parents and grandparents faced many challenges; as a result, it made him think of ways he could help. His mother and grandmother were avid investors—not in the market but in people. Marcus was a recipient of those investments. And his early years were hard work growing up on a farm.

Marcus was a strategist at an early age. To relieve the burden of his family buying him clothes when it was time to return to school, he decided to make a small investment that paid big dividends. Marcus decided to purchase a small piglet at the beginning of summer, feed it until it became fat, and then sell it to a local farmers’ auction before the school year started. This was one of his first transactions and the beginning of his adventure of finding equity in every opportunity.

Marcus’ hard work continues today: He has completed over $3.3 million in wholesale transactions. Currently, Marcus is a licensed agent who wholesales virtually in multiple states while building his investment portfolio. Although wholesaling provides great money, he saw the opportunity to buy some of the deals he found and convert them into cash flowing rentals.

Marcus currently holds seven rentals, two of which are commercial units. He’s also done the unimaginable and purchased a school, which was converted to a daycare center. Again, he turns what is a marginal profit into a significant equity position. He leverages the equity by using the BRRRR (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat) strategy to increase his portfolio without any money out of pocket.

Marcus has been featured on numerous podcasts, such as the Louisville Gal Podcast, the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever podcast, FlippingJunkie, and many others. He’s currently a featured blogger for BiggerPockets, the largest community of real estate investors in the world.

Along with completing transactions and working to build his portfolio, he provides mentorship to aspiring investors. This is done through one-on-one interactions and through his successful YouTube channel and blog.

Marcus does utilize his M.B.A. for more than real estate. As a consultant for a successful non-profit institution south of Chicago, he uses his expertise in the development of human capital. His philanthropic efforts help existing stakeholders develop in their capacity to serve those in need of assistance.

Marcus completed his M.B.A. in 2011 from Olivet Nazarene University.


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The past few years I’ve been getting my hands dirty with rentals. I’m mainly a wholesaler but wanted to branch out.

While I live in the Phoenix metro area, I found I was better able to find solid deals in the Chicago market. I discovered this when doing some virtual wholesaling. The numbers on the rentals were seriously ridiculous.

Often I’d encounter motivated sellers who were willing to offload their houses for $40K to $50K—despite the fact they were bringing in $1,500 to $1,800 monthly in rent. Amazing right?! That’s the Midwest.

I just couldn’t pass up the prices and locations. These were not D and F neighborhoods. So, I took the plunge and figured I would manage the rentals from afar.

Going into it, I had minimal knowledge about being a landlord and managing tenants, especially from a distance. But I challenged myself to figure it out.

Lots of podcasts (specifically BiggerPockets’ podcasts!) I was listening to at the time talked about other long-distance landlords who were making considerable strides as investors. It sounded like they were able to do so because we live in the age of technology.

Related: How I’ve Made Over a Million Dollars Listening to Real Estate Podcasts

It seemed like something I could definitely do, too! And so I did.

I started with a small 2 bedroom/1 bath turn of the century raised ranch. It was not in the best condition, but I figured I could get between $675 to $750 in rent with a little sweat equity.

After a light rehab, I marketed the property. I was going back and forth to Chicago a lot while all of this was going on. That part, I didn’t like.

man on cell phone in airport wheeling suitcase

My aim was to create passive income, but I found myself being away from my family for weeks at a time. I knew, however, that once it was fixed up and tenanted I would accomplish my goal.

The property turned out to be a success! I managed it for years from 1,500 miles away.

Full transparency, I had one bad tenant who ended up breaking her lease, but while she was living there, she did pay her rent consistently. It still equated to success in my book.

So, I purchased more and did a seller carry back on another property. I was all in at that point, doing wholesaling in Phoenix and Chicago and earning some passive income on the side.

Everything was great—until it wasn’t. As I continued to grow my portfolio, I was traveling more and noticed my wholesaling business began to suffer.

I realized that in order for me to scale, I could not manage these properties from a distance anymore. I had to pass on “my girls” (as I affectionately referred to my properties) to a property manager.

Related: When To Hire a Property Manager

This change is taking some getting used to if I’m being honest. But between the time I was away from home and the money I was spending on travel, I know I’m actually coming out ahead. Also, I could not continue to grow being a one man show.

closeup of hands piled on top of one another indicating teamwork

I know there are other investors just as hell-bent as I was on doing it themselves. When starting out, I definitely do think going about it that way is a plus. However, in order to grow—if that’s what you want to do—a great supporting cast is needed.

Yes, I once subscribed to the “save a few dollars and do it yourself” philosophy. Not anymore though.

I’m refocused on marketing and negotiating these days, the main trades of a wholesaler. And I have my rentals to thank! They taught me a very valuable lesson about the importance of establishing a team.

Don’t make the same mistakes as me! Learn to let go, and find quality help.

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Do you landlord? Or use a property manager? Which do you prefer and why?

Let me know in a comment below.