Converting to managing my own property

5 Replies

I have a property with some great tenants that pay on time and the house is a newer home with very few issues.  I have had a property manager in place for the last two years because I was only a landlord due to moving to a new home.  Now that I have decided to expand and have additional properties (purchased my 2nd in June), I am looking to take over as the property manager.

Any advice on how to best do this?  Here are a couple questions that I have.

1. Does the current lease stay in place?  I am assuming yes.

2. Do i meet with the tenants and send them a professional letter explaining the change in management?  I assume lay out how to pay rent, contact information and address any questions they may have.  

Regarding point 2.  How does the tenant know that I am who I say I am?  Should I work with my current property manager to inform them that the management is changing.

Please share any best practices that you may have used.

Thanks and let me know.

Derrick

I have not done this, but can offer some thoughts.

Assume your agreement states something like "owner or representative" and rent to be delivered "as designated", giving you the flexibility to toggle between you and PM without a new agreement.  

Does your contract with the PM address how to end the relationship?  It seems like it would be best for a letter to go out on their letterhead to give you more credibility, but I can see why they wouldn't be motivated to do that.

If the tenants want proof that you are the owner, you can show them the property tax rolls (we have an on-line parcel search by address that shows owner) or property tax bill.  But this may disclose your personal residence address, which you may not want, depending on how you set things up.

This may be a good time to schedule maintenance inspections, to allow you to get a baseline and talk to the tenants, depending on when the PM last did them.  Although, I am moving our summer inspections to the fall when the weather is wet and it will be easier to find any roof leaks.

My advice is for you to have a list of reliable handyman, plumber, electrician available.

And to be responsive to your tenants so that they are happy with you as their landlord. Try to fix things as soon as they come up, it can cost more to delay things.

I have a property in OH and live in DC. The tenants told me that I was a better manager than the previous owner who worked next door.

Angieslist can be useful if you have property in another town. 

Thanks @Michele Fischer  and @Margarita Uricoechea  I think you are right that it is probably time to do walk through and talk with the tenants.  That Seems like it would be the best bet.  

Thanks and I will see how it goes

@Derrick Carpenter  personally, in your situation, I wouldn't tell them you are the owner. People change and good tenants can have a "mental break". Better to have them know you as the PO Box manager representing the rich owner than have them know you as the owner along with your personal residence address.

You are the new "manager" I would communicate with them via letter regarding the change of management. I would reassure them that their security deposits are safe and have been moved to the control of the new "management". I would meet them in person and take stock of them and the property.

Get a copy of the lease and read it carefully.

I think it's a good idea if the old management also sends a letter notifying the tenant of the new "management". Hopefully your PM will do that for you.

You need to get copies of all paperwork from you old PM. Get electronic copies if you can. No need to recreate advertising materials, lease documents, property condition sheets, and lease addendums from scratch.

Join a landlord group. Get a tenant screening service lined up. Read Bigger Pockets landlord section listen to property management pod casts.

Write down your rental criteria. Do it now while you are full with paying tenants. Absolutely do not change your criteria during a vacancy. Change the price to attract the tenants you want, don't adjust the criteria mid stream to fill the unit at the price you want. You can modify your criteria after you fill the unit but not before.

Prepare some written guidelines for move-outs and move-ins procedures. Prepare scripts for answering the phone during advertising to prescreen tenants for showings. All of this will change over time but thinking through it ahead of time will allow you to make fewer mistakes and have the process go smoothly.

Finally congratulations on taking charge of this. At some point in the future you may want to hand it back off to a PM but this will make you a better owner when/if that day comes.

My tenants all know I am the owner. I manage all my houses myself. They have my information and know to call or txt if there is an issue. I have never taken over a property after having it on management. I self manage alll my propertiesand have created a website (Reluctantlandlord.net) on how I do it. 

Good luck! Personally self managing has been very rewarding for my family. We have better control and are able to keep the costs down by not paying a management fee.

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