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General Landlording & Rental Properties

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New to being a landlord

Sandra Gutierrez
Posted Feb 2 2024, 12:33

We’re planning to rent out our first house in the next few months. It is a single family home and we’ve never been landlords before. Considering using a property management company, but that would significantly reduce our cash flow because we still have a mortgage. Would you recommend self managing for newbies or would you strongly recommend a property management company? 

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Samuel Coronado
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  • Huntsville, AL
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Samuel Coronado
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  • Huntsville, AL
Replied Feb 2 2024, 12:54

It takes a certain personality to do it yourself and make a profit. I think it's more than possible, but you have to have a no-nonsense way about it. When a single mother has been going through a rough spot and falls behind, it is up to you to file her papers and have the sheriff escort them off. When a pipe bursts, it's up to you limit the damage and find contractors who can fix it in a timely measure. There's a few other stressors that go along with it. I think all of it is manageable but some people have lofty ideas and have been oversold the idea of "passive" income from companies like Rich Dad, BiggerPockets, etc. Self-managing takes a bit of the passiveness out, but once you get everything set up and develop the systems that work for you, then things can run very smoothly. Tenant selection and screening are great determining factors in this as well. Some tenants I have gone months without talking to and only talked to them because I haven't heard from them in a while (even though their payments come in electronically with no issue). Others want to talk to you all day for no reason or have a bunch of nitpicky ways. It takes a little bit of experience before you can get that intuition.


I currently self-manage 7 rentals. 

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Alecia Loveless
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Alecia Loveless
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Replied Feb 3 2024, 01:20

@Sandra Gutierrez I self manage 7 properties with 25 units and looking to grow. It takes me about 5 trips to the bank during rent time and maybe 30 minutes to deal with tenants mid-month and then once a week I drive by the properties.

I have just quit my job to do this full time and take on more rentals.

I think if you can get a good team, hopefully a good handyman, plumber, know of a good electrician and a good HVAC or furnace guy depending on where you live, and follow through with late fees and posting notices when someone goes past the late fee (you have to train your tenants or they will always take advantage of you) then you will be fine.

If you’re not prepared to treat it like a business and you’re afraid of hurting peoples feelings then hire a property manager.

But it’s really pretty easy. Everything you need to know should be able to be found on the state’s landlord website. It’s dry reading but it’s there.

Also keep all your financial records separate for the rental from your personal and see if you need a separate account for the security deposit.

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Marcus Auerbach
  • Investor and Real Estate Agent
  • Milwaukee - Mequon, WI
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Marcus Auerbach
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  • Milwaukee - Mequon, WI
Replied Feb 3 2024, 06:53
Quote from @Sandra Gutierrez:

We’re planning to rent out our first house in the next few months. It is a single family home and we’ve never been landlords before. Considering using a property management company, but that would significantly reduce our cash flow because we still have a mortgage. Would you recommend self managing for newbies or would you strongly recommend a property management company? 


Absolutley. You go this, it's not hard. You've probably rented before, so you know it from that perspective. Read Brandon Turners book on managing rental properties.

It saves you money, but more importantly, you care more than an employee of a PM. And you learn the ropes, which will help you later on if you choose to hire a PM, you know what you are talking about.

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Matthew K Poer
  • Atlanta, GA
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Matthew K Poer
  • Atlanta, GA
Replied Feb 3 2024, 07:59

My wife and I self-manage two nearby properties. Honestly, the one a few miles from us is super-easy. The one in the city is further away, go through traffic to get there... it's just more of a pain. We don't have to go too often but I feel the annoyance when we do, so it's tempting to be lazy about site visits. My thought would be just gauge your time/ability to get over there if you need to.

Aside from distance, just vet your tenants. We found great tenants on Zillow, background checks from Avail.co were inexpensive and easy (you make the applicant pay for it). Be ready to pay a mortgage payment or let it sit while you find a great tenant, don't settle on a "hopefully." This was easier for us in the Atlanta market since there's a shortage.

If you are still considering property management, look really closely at that cashflow. If it's too thin that a property tax or insurance hike takes you too low in cashflow, it might not be worth it.

Good luck!

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Michael Smythe
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Michael Smythe
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Replied Feb 5 2024, 12:50

@Sandra Gutierrez no offense, but it's scary that you are asking this question and not more specific DIY management questions.

Do you even have an idea of what you don't know?

What plans are you making to address your missing knowledge?

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Tim Bratz
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  • Charleston, SC
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Tim Bratz
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  • Charleston, SC
Replied Feb 5 2024, 13:57

100% self manage. You'll do a better job and save the fees. Spend a few dollars for a local attorney to create/review a lease agreement. Then do two things really well: (1) take care of the property, and (2) properly screen your applicants/tenants. If you do those things well, the rest tends to take care of itself. It will also set you up to systematize your own management, helping you scale if you want to.

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Henry T.
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Henry T.
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Replied Feb 5 2024, 19:48

When I started it was easy. Landlord/tenant laws were fair. Today it's a different world. There are tenants out there that know exactly how to use anti-landlord laws against you. You can really be put thru the ringer. Some states are worse than others.  I think today you really have to be educated, especially how to handle the bad stuff. Start by leaning all of your local laws, and find a mentor to explain what they REALLY mean. You can do it, but read the horror stories. Be confident and prepared.  You're in a good place here if you have questions. Screening properly is a must, don't start with a deadbeat.