Property management charging steeply/not on maintenance items ?

8 Replies

Hello everyone,

I recent acquired a fourplex in fort worth area and hired a professional property management firm to manage my property. I am seeking your opinion on how reasonable my property management is in terms of pricing the maintenance ticket items. I have an impression that labor in fortworth is not that expensive and general pricing over the google search came out way below the pricing my property manager charged me. e.g. For mowing a front lawn and blowing in backyard and parking area, my pm charged me $300. This is one time fee. My property is in 0.28 acres including building and google search gave an estimate of around $100 on higher side.  Anybody who is local to fortworth, please provide your opinion on how cost effective it is ?

Other one was electrical work , where The loose breakers were checked and wiring was adjusted and validated if appliances are working. Again $300 was charged for this.

is it normal fortworth property management firm charging in this range or I am getting ripped off ? I appreciate you taking time out and sharing your opinion here. Thanks in advance.

Lawn maintenance is wholly unreasonable in my area. Electrical work -- it depends on what kind of inspections had to be done -- I'm not in Ft. Worth.

This forum gets at least three posts a week with a similar story: a turnkey property manager obviously ripping off an absentee California landlord. It's a business model for thousands of small-time property managers the gurus always fail to mention when they hype the benefits of running rental properties far from home. Sure, they tell you to "build your team" but they never mention that you're going to have to go through the experience of getting burned quite a few times in order to build your team. All they do is put up a disclaimer on the overhead projector that reads "ASSUME THAT MOST PEOPLE MAKE NOTHING" and hope that you don't read it.

The lawn seems very high unless there was some crazy jungle they needed to address. The breaker are on the high end of normal. 

@Anant Garg
Take a flight and meet some local prop mgt companies. You will get a better idea of how different pm companies operate
As Yours is a Multifamily rental , you will need to keep a tight leash on operating expenses

I think you know what your gut is telling you. I'm not sure about the electrical, but the lawn seems very high. There are a gazillion reliable lawn care providers in Texas metro areas, so prices are generally on the low end from my experience.

Lawn mowing for me (not in dfw) costs about 30 bucks for around .18 acre lot.

If I’m understanding you correctly and they just reconnected wires in the electrical breaker that costs me 50 bucks. So yeah you’re getting hosed most likely

You’re getting overcharged. 

I would connect a bunch of IP cameras and hire your own people. 

Go make your own contracts with a landscaper. You can keep a eye on when they get there by using he cameras remotely. 

The repairs you can get your own tradesmen have them send a pic of the damage and repair. Set up a billing plan. 

Ultimately I sold all my out of state rentals simply because the return is very dismal. 

There are 2 possibilities, 1) you hired a small time PM company and they are upcharging you or they just dont know what they are doing and didnt get bids from other contractors. 2) You hired a big firm and they use a commercial landscaping company that charges more because the PM company is a commercial client. 

Most landscaping companies will do one time services but they cost a lot more because they want you to sign up for a regular service plan. But unless it was very overgrown, $300 is a lot for one mowing. What, however are you doing about the regular lawn mowing? If it is $300 for the rest of the year, then you got a killer deal. The electrical seems right to me, an electrician is going to run $50-100 per hour and if they checked 4 boxes and all the appliances in each unit that is easily $300. 

If you want to PM me the details I can check it out but seems legit to me. PM companies are sometimes going to tack on GC fees for things like this (in the 10% range) so that could have factored in. Just call them and ask them to justify the charges. 

Last, most "deals" I have seen in FW over the past few years have been extremely overpriced for the condition or location or both. So my gut tells me this is not in a good area, it has a lot of deferred maintenance, and that you will be paying much more in the future to fix more issues like this. But I don't know the specifics so maybe you found a diamond in the rough.