Property Guardian vs Property Management Company

4 Replies

After many years of working in the property management and real estate sectors I am looking to get out of the management office and more into the field of providing a regular maintenance/property guardian service. These services would be targeted more towards those investment property owners (long distance and local) who prefer to maintain control over who they rent to, but do not want to deal with the daily headaches of property maintenance. As any landlord knows, the key to keeping the rent coming in regularly is tenant retention, and tenant retention requires not only good tenants, but good landlords! It's an important symbiotic relationship that needs to be nurtured with equal trust, respect and responsibility. Having worked in various aspects of property management I have seen the good, the bad and the indifferent when it comes to property management companies, and oftentimes lack of tenant retention can be laid at the feet of a bad or indifferent property management company. If you are in the category of a good property management company you will be nodding your head in agreement, having no doubt dealt with the fallout and repercussions caused in the profession by bad management companies.. If you are in the bad or indifferent category you no doubt disagree with my comment, and most likely won't like what is coming next.

I have seen some decent property owners get roped in by bad and indifferent property management companies who, once they have you where they want you, use all kinds of tactics to keep you tied to them, including bullying and threats of raising rates, refusing to renew leases of current tenants in order to cause loss of revenue to the owner, and numerous other tactics. I have also witnessed how they collude with repair vendors to cheat money out of a property owner by requesting TWO invoices, one with the actual price for service, and another with 15% to 20% added on for parts, labor and service, with the inflated invoice being sent to the owner, and the property manager pocketing the extra 15% to 20%.

When it comes to the upkeep, care and repair of your property and associated appliances, the bad and indifferent property managers actually contribute to the lack of proper upkeep and the higher costs of preparing for re-rental after tenants vacate. If a tenant becomes too afraid to call in repairs or suspicions that something is not working right because the property management company makes them pay for the call-out if the service technician finds nothing wrong, you can guarantee that they will stop calling in about any repairs, and that $900 security deposit for repairs ends up being nowhere near enough, which means the property owner is out-of-pocket for hundreds of dollars to pay the excess costs. Just because a service technician finds nothing at the time does not mean that there isn't something wrong. It could be an intermittent  issue that is working up to becoming a major repair or replacement cost.

We would like to offer a service that keeps both landlords and tenants happy, with the end result being tenant retention, no lost revenues from vacancies, and lower costs for upkeep and repairs. 

So, my question is this.....

How many landlords would be willing to pay a monthly fee that guarantees regular standard upkeep of their properties, including general repairs, with only additional costs being any parts or materials needed to complete repairs or replacement, weatherization of pipes during the winter to protect them from bursting. This fee would include, at no additional cost, 24/7 emergency call-out by tenants or landlord to address issues that arise, such as a furnace going out, a leaky faucet, a burst pipe, a stove not working, etc...? The only exceptions would be major repairs that require a licensed plumber or service technician, which would be payable by the owner, and would be someone of their choice, unless they requested us to call someone out for them. However, as a former facilities manager of a major electronics and defense corporation my husband is able to do most repairs.

We would also do regular checks of vacant properties to insure they have not been broken into, or require repairs, and also an additional furnace and A/C package would be offered to carry out regular preventative maintenance.

If interested in such a package, what would you expect to pay as a fair monthly fee?

Any and all feedback will be greatly appreciated. We are just trying to get an idea of how much success we might or might not have with this endeavor.

I’m a property manager and I’m interested in this idea. Are you basically saying would charge a fee to insure the maintenance and repairs on a property ? The owner would be in control of leasing, rent collection, and accounting ? You would then handle all maintenance calls ? Would love to hear more.

It does sound like a home warranty company. Can you explain what I’m missing.

Hi Matthew, yes, you got it exactly right. The owner would be in control of leasing, rent collection, and accounting and we would then handle all maintenance calls. It is like a handyman service, but with a focus on regular customers, ie... property owners :) We are trying to figure out if there would be a need and interests, and also what would be considered a fair monthly fee for this service. Any advice or thoughts on this?

@Cynthia Ackley - There are a lot of owners, like me, interested in this. 

You may want to check out www.hemlane.com and see if you can partner with them. I use them to manage my property (marketing the property, rent collection, accounting, etc.). I control the decisions. Then, they have the option to use third party licensed agents to do the showings and other third party folks to do all of the maintenance calls. 

I also found that home warranty companies don't always resolve it, since their vendors can often be really poor quality (got into some bad situations where it cost me more money in the end). Home warranty is more like an insurance versus what you are talking about is more like a maintenance coordinator. 

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