Use a Property Manager When Retired Early?

3 Replies

I was fortunate to be able to retire early at 32 from the sale of a business. So I am free most of the day while my kids are in school and I generally have a flexible schedule. I am working on building a portfolio of homes, but for now I just have one long term rental (closing in a week) and an Airbnb rental above my detached garage.

My question is should I still get a property manager for this type of situation? I want to maximize cash flow/return and would probably fix or address most issues myself starting out to avoid paying contractors. I am fairly handy, and remodeled my previous home myself, as well as fixed simple to intermediate electrical, plumbing and HVAC problems.

Part of me thinks that a good PM can help mitigate liability or legal issues, and that hiring licensed contractors will also help with liability, and it’s just the price to pay to keep things with a paper trail. But then the other part of me feels like I would be paying for things I can do myself, which would help me with costs.

Would it still be worth it to get a PM? And why?

It sounds like you want to be busy. You only have two rentals which should require very little work. I would use your free time to self-manage and educate yourself on how to better manage. Are you prepared to handle a tenant that refuses to pay rent? That abandons a property? That moves in an unauthorized Tenant or pet? Do you know the difference between a pet, service animal, and emotional support animal? How will you handle a tenant that doesn't water or mow the grass?  I would spend your time learning how to manage, developing policies and procedures for managing and handling problems, and preparing for the growth to come. Management is easy if you prepare. If you wait for reality to slap you in the face, it can kill your desire to be in this business.

When you hire a PM, you have to manage the manager, or else how do you know they are treating you fairly and not skimming off rents and/or getting kickbacks from contractors?

If you have fewer than 5 units, I'd self-manage.  Hire a helper if desired to do low-value, "go fer" tasks.  But I'd still want to do the tenant screening/approvals.  Also, be sure to get "eyes inside" at least 2x per year so you know the tenant is taking good care of the place: most PM companies won't do that.

Congrats on your FIRE.