Property management skills

11 Replies

Greetings bigger pockets forum users.

I am a new real estate investor looking to start our partner with a property management company.

Is anyone out there willing to show me the ropes or have any tips for getting started?

Originally posted by @Jason Parrish:

Greetings bigger pockets forum users.

I am a new real estate investor looking to start or partner with a property management company.

Is anyone out there willing to show me the ropes or have any tips for getting started?

The biggest thing is screening.  You get the right people, they pay rent and everyone is happy.  Dont sublet it out to someone who doesnt care or holds up the process.  Do it yourself and investigate old addresses.  

Beyond screening make sure you understand the utility transfer laws.  That can get ugly.  

Have well written leases.   Many can be found at your local realtor websites.  You can tweak them as needed.

Know the codes and inspections needed.  One that is national is pre 1978 needs a lead one.  Your state or county dictate the rest.  More likely if there iscone it will follow the building codes though sometimes existing construction is grandfathered or given more time to comply.

Have a good maintenance team available for on site maintenance.  Have a good lead inspector.

Understand eviction laws to a t.  From what I hear FL is pretty landlord friendly.  That should be a big relief but still screen hard.

Get a property management software going.  I recommend buildium unless your client has hundreds of properties than propertyware or appfolio might make more sense.  Buildium is 45 a month.  You can then give tenants an online portal for payment. Your screening is cheaper then too.

Get to know taxes as you legally should report annually.  Beyond that you should be able to help the owners fill out their schedule e if needed and should be well versed in all the deductions though technically that is accounting it is xertainly helpful.

I cant explain everything in detail.  If i was closer maybe i could help you.  Good luck qith everything down there.

@Jason Parrish Welcome Jason!  Tim is spot on with some of his recommendations.  Doing diligent screening is going to be the line between success and failure of your business.  Second is providing the owners or properties the best data available.  As Tim said, find a super reliable screening solution and be sure to run credit, criminal, and eviction.  Checking past landlord references is just as important and be sure to run an address history report (easily available and super cheap) to verify the tenants don't skip listing a landlord that might not give them a good referral.

Second, definitely pick a good property management software.  There's plenty of good ones.  Tim recommends Buildium, I recommend Rentec Direct (I work for them), and there's dozens of others.  There's tons of Rentec Direct, Buildium, Appfolio, Propertyware, even Yardi clients in these forums who could speak up for each of their pros/cons.  If you are starting out you are probably going to be looking at Buildium or Rentec as the others have simply priced themselves out of the market for all but the biggest PMs.  Good software is going to accomplish the goal of putting the best tools and data in front of your owners to keep them on board.

Hi Jacob

Welcome to real estate investing!  I caught the bug too, while running the country's largest tenant screening companies.  

Good tips above and a question:  why do you want to work with a property management company?  Are there specific reasons or are you assuming you need to?

I manage our own properties (after serving multi-family clients for years I knew I could).  Been pretty easy.  Lastly, please allow a shameless plug for Rent Marketplace, I founded it, for folks like you and me.  Free software, pay as you go for screening and the like (or have your applicants pay).  Buildium and the others are great, this is more economical for someone who has < 20 properties or so...

Good luck and let me know if I can help in any way.

An owner may always manage his/her own properties.  HOWEVER, in most states, you can not have a friend or family member manage property for you UNLESS they hold a brokers license or work under the supervision of one.

As the number of addresses (or doors) goes up, management take more and more time an then there's the issue of using an onsite manager (also state regulated).  As you grown, it makes more and more sense to outsource mgmt to a PM or get qualified to create one dedicated to you.

Top 5 property management tips:

1. Screen well, monthly income 3 times the monthly rent, do local and national background checks. Do eviction lookups in your local county website.

2. Respond to maintenance repair requests quickly and with care. Preferably have a reliable, responsive handyman to take care of it.

3. Know your local eviction laws. Use them strictly but with fairness.

4. Document what you do on a daily basis and create checklists to take the pain of repetition away. You will then begin to observe areas you can streamline and improve.

5. Have tenants pay through or some other direct debit system. This is a major time saver in rent collection.

Good luck!

Thanks for all the Great Tips! I'm going to add them to my punch list. 

I was originally planning to use Quicken or QuickBooks property manager software but I really like the other suggestions that I heard. 

I am currently managing my own property and have been for a few months now. Most (but not all) of the investors that I have met at the local meetings use a property management service. I think that I could use the skills I have now in managing my triplex and scale it up, into a business and step out of my J. O. B. 

My current plan is to get my realtor's license (have to have) a certification as a property manager (nice to have) and building up my contacts (have to have).

After considering wholesaling and flipping as options I am thinking that property management may be the best way to grow my experience in Real estate and make the best of the situation I am in now.

Thanks again. I appreciate the suggestions everyone.


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