Property Management vs Managing Ourselves

11 Replies

So, we have a property under contract in Birmingham, AL. I'm getting some push back from PM's in that area that they want a contract and money in an "account" to be able to get eyes on the property and give us a rehab budget. I want to get several bids for rehab- so I feel that signing up with one PM puts in an obligation to continue with them. Any thoughts on getting eyes on this property from several contractors without getting PM's involved- or do I just need to get a property manager that is willing to put a lock box on without signing a contract with us. Is there anyone in that area willing to do that?

Thanks for your help with this.

Do you really want a PM managing the Reno? I’m sure there are some companies that are good at both renovation AND property management, but I’d assume most aren’t.

I’d rather find a good contractor to handle the Reno, then pass off to a good PM to manage the property, bring in tenants, etc.

You do not want a PM what you need is a GC (contractor) to bid, estimate, supervise your reno not your property. You do not need a PM until you have or are looking for tenants.

I wouldn't think a contractor would go to the house  break in and put a lockbox on it for me .  Just so I can have other contractors come and get bids .  I need eyes  and boots on the ground  for this property .  What do you suggest in lieu of a property manager ?

So you want the PM to be your "boots on the ground" for the renovation etc? Then you are going to have to sign a contract that makes it worth their time to do that.

Its going to be hard to find someone to do this as a shirt term contract.....its not worth their time

Did you use an agent to buy the place? Some will be willing to put a lock box on the house for you....still a fee

They do have electronic locks now that you can continually change the code remotely.... via wifi/internet.....that allows you to give temporary codes for each contractor you want to let in. That still requires you to have internet/wifi at the property

You need to be in charge of the renovation.....not some random PM you never worked with before....... you need someone local that can check on it, but not be in charge of it....its your $$

@Jenny Moore I would be careful having a PM do this for you. Sounds like a possible recipe for  a negative outcome. 

Agreed. Thank you for the feedback. I need to contact some additional people and get that going. I love the bigger pockets community. You guys are awesome!

Why don't you put a lock box on yourself?  That is what I do with mine. Screw one onto the pole and put a key in it. If it is a vacant property give the contractor a code to go in and look around.

I would, but we are buying this remotely. We are in Washington.

Finding contractors is equally as challenging as finding PM's, if not harder, when you are out of state.  It is not a bad idea to partner with a PM, and especially if in good faith intend to work with the PM, then there is no harm in going into a contract with one if you ensure you can back out of with 30 days notice if you are unhappy.  Yes they might charge you some labor if their time is required, ie: to go to the home to put on a lockbox - I've seen that before.  Once there is a lockbox on the door, then you can give your own contractors the code to go in there, it doesn't require the PM to get involved every time.  If everything moves forward, then visit when the work is being done or when it is done to make sure all is good, and if you are unhappy you should have the opportunity to end your pm contract and find a new one.

However, did you say you only have the property under contract, and you don't own it yet?  In that case, I would think the seller or seller's agent would need to be the one to facilitate access to the house to allow your due diligence (ie: estimating rehab).  Or are you definitely going through with purchase, and looking for contractors to give you estimates after it closes?  What's your timeline to close, and does the property need a lot of work, or just a little bit?

When we've made purchases like this (in 2 different out of state markets), in the due diligence phase (and even after closing) my realtor always facilitated this and had contractors that they knew go in there to give estimates.  Are you using a realtor, and if not, how did you find the property?

Join up online with local REIA's - you'll find good local contacts that way too.

@Jenny Moore send me a message. I'll give you my address & go put a lockbox on the property. I'm an investor not a PM or GC. 

@Jenny Moore You may need a property manager to oversee the contractor (whether general or subcontractors) to make sure they're doing what they need to do. Some property managers won't charge you a percentage of the rent until it's filled anyways. Though, you may need to give some money upfront to get the contract started. Try the National Association of Residential Property Managers for referrals. Good luck! 

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