Some television programs (we’re looking at you, HGTV) can make investing in real estate seem almost too easy. While it’s entertaining to watch, the truth is real estate investment is backbreaking work. What you see on TV is only half of the story.
Every property manager wants to find the right tenant, make them happy, and get them to stay in the property as long as possible. Doing this takes considerably more time than the edited hour you see on the small screen.
So how much time should you really expect to devote to your rental property?
Here’s a breakdown of our property management during an average month — from start to finish — to give you an idea.
Getting a Property Ready for the Market
If we have a vacant property, our top priority is preparing it for a renter.
Pristine properties attract the right tenants so we put in the work to make our properties sparkle. We aim for “hotel ready” properties, meaning a prospective resident should feel like they’re walking into a freshly cleaned hotel room when they visit the property.
Aside from cleaning, we also inspect the rest of the property. We look for chips in the paint, take care of the yard, check for screens on the windows, and make sure each window works correctly. We also test the appliances and clean or replace the carpet.
This process can take several days depending on the condition of the property.
Fostering Strong Relationships
After a property is leased, our job becomes maintaining a relationship with our tenants and vendors (i.e. contractors and other service providers).
Regarding our tenants, we collect rent and enforce all lease terms. We also remain available for late night emergency calls, regardless of holidays or vacations. This job is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Maintenance needs can arise at any time, so we also keep a rolodex of preferred vendors at our fingertips.
We select our vendors very carefully. At minimum we require that they are licensed, bonded, and insured. In addition, we research the fair market value for preventative maintenance and repairs so we can negotiate the very best deal. Vendors can easily price gouge if you’re not aware of going rates.
How Much Time Can You Devote to Property Management?
If everything runs smoothly you should expect to spend at least 15 hours per property in a month on management tasks. You might even spend over 30 hours on a property if something goes wrong. Property management could end up being a full-time job for an investor with three properties, ranging from 45 hours to over 90 hours of work per month.
And, keep in mind, that’s only an estimate. Marketing your vacant rental, communicating with residents and finding good contractors can take you much more time if you don’t have experience.
While this can seem daunting, remember: it’s doable. It’s just not as simple as it sometimes appears. If you have questions on how long it will take to manage a property or if you need help along the way, reach out to us here.