Washington state property management question.

6 Replies

This is more of a state specific question as I know many states have different laws. Does anyone in the state of Washington know if I can open a property management company in this state without a "managing brokers" license. I have multiple rentals, and now its getting to the point where I want to be more professional. before I had sfh so it was easier to be more personal, but now with 4 plexes and 8 plexes under my belt, I'm thinking I should have a online portal to pay rent and do the whole thing right. I would be managing only my own properties, not anybody else's. would I still need a "managing brokers" license. I knnow @Brandon Turner does a DBA thing where he makes a business entity and uses that as a dba for the tenants to pay rent to. But im not clear on all of that and I could not find the article he wrote on that. hopefully someone can clear all this up for me. thanks.

Account Closed if you're only going to be managing your own properties, then I wouldn't open a property management comp. You could put your properties an LLC and manage them through that if you want to seem more professional. Plus, there's lots of online tools nowadays to help with managing properties, paying bills, etc. Have you checked out buildium? I don't think you need to be a broker to use their software :) And I think there's others like them out there.

Account Closed Since you are not a real estate broker and you intend to own and manage your own rental properties and not those of others, you do not need a "managing broker" license. See this definition from the Washington Legislature Website, RCW18.85.011: "Managing broker" means a natural person acting on behalf of a real estate firm to perform real estate brokerage services under the supervision of the designated broker, and who may supervise other brokers or managing brokers licensed to the firm."

Being more professional has less to do with credentials than how you interact with your customers, suppliers, and the community. We have owned and managed our residential properties for 20 years. We maintain our professionalism and also provide a personal approach. One is not exclusive of the other.

A company website and on-line portal for paying rent are great tools to consider for their efficiency and marketing potential. They will make your operations more visible to the public and enhance your credibility. However, you can still run a professional and efficient businesss with or without such tools. We've not needed either for our 20-year business of owning and managing 16 residential rental units (including one 8-plex). Our turnover is low and our tenants have no problem sending their rent to our P.O. Box. I think it is a matter of personal preference. 

When creating a legal entity for your business, consider your goals and the type of business structure that is most suited to your needs. It may be more suited to a Corporation or to an LLC or to a Partnership or to a Sole Proprietorship. You can operate your business with or without a DBA. For us, we met with an attorney who specializes in working with business entity structure and decided to establish two separate LLCs and have a DBA. This requires us to maintain our LLC registrations with the State of Washington Business Licensing Service by completing paperwork and paying annual business license registration fees. For more information, go to: http://bls.dor.wa.gov/ Also, check what is needed for your local jurisdiction, as some municipalities and counties have additional licensing requirements dependent on the type of business.

Marcia Maynard, Fischer Properties | Podcast Guest on Show #83

@Marcia Maynard

Wow what an informative answer! i love it! I learned a lot. Thank you so much for that. I have 2 multifamiles in 2 different LLC's and sfh homes in my own name. Tenants pay checks to me and also my LLC to a PO box. I was thinking maybe opening up a sole proprietor business such as "ABC asset management" and have that be a dba for my llc and myself. So it just all brings it together. Could you expand more on the dba side of the equation.

@Kweku Ako-adjei

Thanks so much for the reply. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to reply. I own multifamiles in LLC and have tenants pay checks to the llc. I also own sfh in my own name and have tenants pay checks out to me. I guess my question is, is there a way I can form a "ABC asset management" business in the state and form a website and online bill pay and just have it all come together to one place. and run the business as a dba for me. Any experience on that?

Originally posted by Account Closed

Wow what an informative answer! i love it! I learned a lot. Thank you so much for that. I have 2 multifamiles in 2 different LLC's and sfh homes in my own name. Tenants pay checks to me and also my LLC to a PO box. I was thinking maybe opening up a sole proprietor business such as "ABC asset management" and have that be a dba for my llc and myself. So it just all brings it together. Could you expand more on the dba side of the equation.

I'd pick a DBA that is easier for tenants to relate to, such as "ABC Properties". Short and simple. You are marketing your properties to prospective tenants, so what would sound attractive to them? What would be easy for them to wrap their head around that would also be and easy for them to write on their rent checks?

DBA filings are only required if you are operating a business under a name other than its legal name as filed with the state. It sounds like you already have your business structures of LLC and sole proprietor, just create a DBA and get it registered. Then inform your tenants of the new name and start using it in your marketing materials.

Marcia Maynard, Fischer Properties | Podcast Guest on Show #83

@Marcia Maynard

 Thank you so much for your input. It helps me out a lot. thank you!