Property Managers Suck

52 Replies

I know this is a controversial subject, however, this has been my experience in USA.

I am a foreign investor that has been playing in US since 2011 in 2 different markets and its clear to me that property management services needs an overhaul.  Please don't shoot the messenger.

I have had to guide my property managers on how to property manage my properties and its taken quite a lot of work and some pain. Please do not think I am being precious its just what I see, seems to be too much money grabbing and not enough focus on how to provide a quality property management service to landlords.


We are spoilt for choice in Australia for great property managers.  If they underperform they are out the door as there are so many excellent PM services. In Australia I rarely ever change property managers as I don't need to. 

Don't get me wrong, not really complaining, more like just having a rant....lol, I have learned to work with the system and try to get the best out of it. 

@Marisa R. totally agree! My wife and I have owned rentals and lived in them. Seen PMs from both sides. She worked for a really, really good one in Colorado. We're military so we move a lot, hence we're renting now and the PM is TERRIBLE! Part of the reason we want to start our own PM company. We know what right looks like, how to care for a property, yet providing reasonable expectations for tenants. We'll get there soon enough. Gotta earn that 10%!

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Okay so we have a lot of loser PMs but I suspect There’s a reason you invest in the good old usa rather than in Australia . I’d rather have an affordable market than great managers especially for me since I self manage

Tenants in Australia are not Savages compared to what you find in USA that's the difference.

For example you would never find a war-zone in Australia. Best comparison is your Detroit A area is your average  C area in Australia. 

So you aren't comparing apples to apples. Then Australia has higher priced homes compared to markets in USA. Again tenant quality is going to better with respect to cost of living.

@Dennis M.

Hi Dennis

Been investing in both, Australia and USA. Both markets have been very kind to me. Its all about timing markets in my humble opinion.

Yes......I love US for cash flow, but its been pretty amazing for appreciation, who would have thought the market would have bounced back after a significant crash. Entry point is a fair call, I agree you can buy in at much lower base than Australia. Very fortunate for home owners.

In USA its also kind to foreign investors, you guys allow foreigners to buy, as long as we have the cash. 

In Australia, no way, there are laws that will only allow foreigners to buy a certain product and its been clamped down of late.  Government is tough on foreign buyers. Same as immigration

In Australia we also pay more taxes.... ouch than in US. Would you believe when you buy a property and we are talking average median price in Australia around $500,000 entry point, you will pay around 5% tax on every purchase, its called stamp duty. I call it highway robbery.

But you also probably don't realise we have had continued boom cycles in Australia which has made many very wealthy.  The tide is turning now, and we may soon see gloom and doom in Australian property market due to credit tightening.

Anyways,  back to property management. 

Regardless its not a competition, who is better, Oz or USA, its how investors can get the best out of their property managers, I am sure there are some good ones out there, perhaps just have to dip deeper

Originally posted by @Federico Gutierrez :

Tenants in Australia are not Savages compared to what you find in USA that's the difference.

For example you would never find a war-zone in Australia. Best comparison is your Detroit A area is your average  C area in Australia. 

So you aren't comparing apples to apples. Then Australia has higher priced homes compared to markets in USA. Again tenant quality is going to better with respect to cost of living.

Yes very good points about tenant quality

No war zones in Australia, but certainly higher crime/ undesirable neighborhoods

Define savages?? Sounds interesting....

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@Marisa R.   its generally the tenant base not the PM's  and this is something that many from OZ could not fathom.

IE many tenants in the us have no bank accounts and will never have them and cant get them legally.. too many bounced checks. 

whereas in OZ banking is all electronic  think of the whole country getting payments like landlords get section 8 here.

its all auto matic and happens on a specific day.. simply not the same in the US>  

PMs in my mind are far underpaid for what they have to do especially in the C D class..  and A class PM's will manage for 4 to 6%  its all about how much work is the tenant.. simple fact.. 

Also I believe a lot of rent in OZ is paid weekly is that correct. ?

And you see how unpopular it is with many to control our boarders yet in your country its highly controlled same with Canada.  

@Jay Hinrichs

So true Jay

Been hard for me to get my head around it all

So why war zones in US?

 I dont get this?  You guys numero uno nation, GDP no one comes close, best technology in world yet you have war zones??

Yes, rent weekly in Oz - 52 weeks, makes a massive difference

@Marisa R. , at risk of triggering a political discussion, the US may be the wealthiest nation in the world and drive technological innovation, etc., but there's also a high degree of income inequality and poor economic mobility; hence the poverty, crime, drugs, etc., and "war zones" where these things occur.

@Marisa R. They're referencing D- neighborhoods as war zones. High crime. I've seen the what Detroit and Atlanta have to offer, definitely some war zones in those cities, but just as many A/B neighborhoods too.

Low barrier to entry.

(1) Self manage or (2) price extra vacancy, turnover, and repair costs in your financial models or (3) scale to professional apartment management.  I started with #1 and now am doing #2 and #3.

Having fewer properties and more rent and/or more doors per property helps.  It's a lot easier to manage one 20 unit property than 20 individual properties.

Originally posted by @Ben Lanman :

@Marisa R. , at risk of triggering a political discussion, the US may be the wealthiest nation in the world and drive technological innovation, etc., but there's also a high degree of income inequality and poor economic mobility; hence the poverty, crime, drugs, etc., and "war zones" where these things occur.

The USA has the greatest economic mobility in the world.  People don't come here for the meatloaf.

Originally posted by @Marisa R. :

@Jay Hinrichs

So true Jay

Been hard for me to get my head around it all

So why war zones in US?

 I dont get this?  You guys numero uno nation, GDP no one comes close, best technology in world yet you have war zones??

Yes, rent weekly in Oz - 52 weeks, makes a massive difference

 52 weeks of rent is 13 months.. or do you say the rent is 1000k a month X 12  is 12k for the year and divide by 52 = 230.00  a week or are you picking up an extra month each year..  some in the states would be smart enough to figure that out others would be clueless that's why resident hotels do so well they charge by the week.

Also cant answer why we have war zones.. could be there are 1 billion guns in the US.. could be so much reliance on social welfare could be there are just lawless people.. don't really know the answer.

but it is regional.. and normally started in Urban core settings.. and becomes less acute in smaller towns through out the US>.  Like here in Portland if you have never been.. there is no real war zone like you would see in other rust belt cities or Atl that you are familiar with.

Originally posted by @Marisa R. :

@Jay Hinrichs

yes we are picking up an extra month each year

 Ok just opened can of worms for us landlords.  :)   There will be a run on weekly rent 

Sorry you have had that experience. My PM in Huntsville, AL has been exceptional...
Originally posted by @Marisa R. :

I know this is a controversial subject, however, this has been my experience in USA.

I am a foreign investor that has been playing in US since 2011 in 2 different markets and its clear to me that property management services needs an overhaul.  Please don't shoot the messenger.

I have had to guide my property managers on how to property manage my properties and its taken quite a lot of work and some pain. Please do not think I am being precious its just what I see, seems to be too much money grabbing and not enough focus on how to provide a quality property management service to landlords.


We are spoilt for choice in Australia for great property managers.  If they underperform they are out the door as there are so many excellent PM services. In Australia I rarely ever change property managers as I don't need to. 

Don't get me wrong, not really complaining, more like just having a rant....lol, I have learned to work with the system and try to get the best out of it. 

Hi Marisa,

That's a very interesting perspective….but to be honest, I'm not surprised by your experience. I own property overseas myself and property management in that country for SFR's generally consists of your real estate agent doing it for you as a courtesy at no extra cost. Why? Because once you place the tenant, you generally do not hear from them for years. Often, the only time you hear from them is when they are ready to move out….and I would estimate that people generally stay for at least 5 years….often much longer. The complimentary PM services provided are also a good way for the agent to represent you again for any future transactions. War zone wouldn't apply at all in this country because poor areas aren't any more dangerous or prone to crime than the richest areas.

Originally posted by @Marisa R. :

I know this is a controversial subject, however, this has been my experience in USA.

I am a foreign investor that has been playing in US since 2011 in 2 different markets and its clear to me that property management services needs an overhaul.  Please don't shoot the messenger.

I have had to guide my property managers on how to property manage my properties and its taken quite a lot of work and some pain. Please do not think I am being precious its just what I see, seems to be too much money grabbing and not enough focus on how to provide a quality property management service to landlords.


We are spoilt for choice in Australia for great property managers.  If they underperform they are out the door as there are so many excellent PM services. In Australia I rarely ever change property managers as I don't need to. 

Don't get me wrong, not really complaining, more like just having a rant....lol, I have learned to work with the system and try to get the best out of it. 

 Obviously in any industry there will be good & bad actors. Do you think it's more likely that all Property Manager's in the USA are bad actors or is it more reasonable to assume that the assets you've invested in here in the USA are lower quality than the one's you've invested in, in Australia? Hands down the location & type of property you buy is going to be the biggest determining factor to the type of experience you have.

@Marisa R.

An answer from a professor who I have met during Uber job. He said that because USA just too diversity make community driving crazy. So he sent all his children to private school for safety. I agree with him thou safety first.

@James Wise

Asset plays a part in it for sure. But I don't buy in war zones.... investing101.

I am working with a couple of good property managers in Atlanta and Detroit, but my point was it took some time to find suitable PMs and I am not spoilt for choice.

One PM gave me notice, as I was considered too difficult...… OMG... I just wanted them to do their job, what they are paid for. What any landlord would expect.

At the end of the day I am sure many investors have a bad story, but hopefully we all want to find good PMs that work for us and not just to line their pockets.

Originally posted by @Marisa R. :

@James Wise

Asset plays a part in it for sure. But I don't buy in war zones.... investing101.

I am working with a couple of good property managers in Atlanta and Detroit, but my point was it took some time to find suitable PMs and I am not spoilt for choice.

One PM gave me notice, as I was considered too difficult...… OMG... I just wanted them to do their job, what they are paid for. What any landlord would expect.

At the end of the day I am sure many investors have a bad story, but hopefully we all want to find good PMs that work for us and not just to line their pockets.

 Are you sure any landlord would have the same expectations that you had? The fact that they "fired" you, the customer seems to say otherwise. No? Most businesses aren't in the business of refusing your money.

I too have both rented and own investment property and experienced bad (and good) PM's from both viewpoints. I work with a central FL PM, a great guy who has a well-run operation and happy investors. He is thorough, diligent, and treats properties like his own. Firing a client happens rarely, usually due to excessive, unreasonable demands or micromanaging or sometimes poor/disrespectful behavior towards the PM. (Not saying that's what happened). Working with a PM is a two-way partnership and it takes some work to find the good ones. The biggest name PM in the area isn't always the best choice. If you spend enough time asking around and doing due diligence, you can usually sniff out the bad and save yourself some headaches.

Originally posted by @Mary K. :

I too have both rented and own investment property and experienced bad (and good) PM's from both viewpoints. I work with a central FL PM, a great guy who has a well-run operation and happy investors. He is thorough, diligent, and treats properties like his own. Firing a client happens rarely, usually due to excessive, unreasonable demands or micromanaging or sometimes poor/disrespectful behavior towards the PM. (Not saying that's what happened). Working with a PM is a two-way partnership and it takes some work to find the good ones. The biggest name PM in the area isn't always the best choice. If you spend enough time asking around and doing due diligence, you can usually sniff out the bad and save yourself some headaches.

Lets clone him:)

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