The Ultimate Guide to Rental Property Management

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Rental Property Management

Rental real estate is an investment that requires proper management to maximize its profit potential. While some choose to manage these assets themselves, others choose to outsource to professional third party companies. Either method can be effective, but both involve overseeing a large scope of tasks such as tenant screening, rent collection, and handling unexpected maintenance repairs. Since management companies charge anywhere between 6-12% of rent revenues for their services, it is best to thoroughly understand what is required for successful rental property management beforehand.

Property Management by Property Type

Property Management Services

Property Management Services

Property management services are the duties executed by property managers to successfully operate a rental property. These services can include overseeing a property’s entire operations with everything from rent collection to maintenance repairs, or only handle one component such as leasing vacant units.

Rental Property Rent Payment Collection

Rental Property Rent Payments

Collecting rent for a rental property is a simple, yet essential task that is vital to determining the success of an investment property. A well-structured strategy, often bolstered by technology, can streamline this process while minimizing delays and disputes.

Security Deposits

Rental Property Security Deposits

Rental property security deposits are to be treated with great responsibility. These tenant-provided funds provide a safety net against tenant damages or unpaid charges. Implementing clear guidelines on the collection, holding, and return of security deposits fosters a transparent landlord-tenant relationship and can mitigate potential disputes.

Tenant Screening

Tenant Screening - RentPrep
Tenant Screening - SmartMove
Tenant Screening - Avail

Proper tenant screening is the force behind every successful rental property. When done correctly,  tenant screening ensures that the landlord is getting the most qualified tenant. The screening process is usually done through third-party tenant screening softwares that provide reports such as credit checks and criminal history.

Property Management Fees

Property Management Fees

How much property management companies charge and how they structure their fees, is one of the first questions that property owners want to know when assessing a property management company. Understanding how property management fees work and the rationale behind them is a powerful concept that landlords should understand to better help plan, budget, and decide on services.

Rental Property Utility Management

Rental Property Utilities

Some rental property utilities are covered by the tenant, while others can be covered by the landlord. This ongoing expense can influence rental rates, lease terms, and marketability of the property. Effectively handling utility management is a key component to maintaining operational efficiency and maximizing returns in the rental business.

Property Management Documents

Property Management Documents

Rental property documents are the foundation of property management. From leases to maintenance requests, these records form the backbone of every rental transaction and interaction. Additionally, they provide necessary legal protection and transparency for both landlords and tenants. Understanding and mastering the use of property management documents is indispensable in the rental real estate industry.

Property Maintenance and Repairs

Rental Property Maintenance

All rental real estate properties require property maintenance and repairs. This component of rental property management entails preventive measures, timely responses to repair requests, and strategic upgrades, all of which preserve and potentially enhance a property’s appeal.

Property Management Software

Property Management Software - Doorloop
Yardi Voyager
Property Management Software - Appfolio
Property Management Software - Buildium

Property management software helps property owners, property managers, and tenants handle various aspects of administration such as rent payment, scheduling property maintenance, and owner reporting. Programs specifically designed to accommodate different types of rental properties’ (e.g. parking lot property management) specific needs are also available.

Property Management Jobs

Property Management Jobs

For those interested in a stable and rewarding career in real estate, consider a job in property management. Property management is a diverse field that provides exposure to many other fields such as real estate leasing, rental property financial management, personnel management, maintenance, construction, and more.

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Rental Property Management FAQ

What is Property Management?

Rental Real Estate Management

Property management (also known as rental management) – is the comprehensive oversight of rental real estate which includes tasks such as maintenance, operations, and marketing. This can be done by a property owner, property manager, or property management company.

What is a Property Manager (PM)?

A Property Manager (PM) is a person whose job is to manage the daily routines of rental properties and preserve the value of the properties while generating income. Generally, property managers oversee management activities such as rent payments, repairs and maintenance, security, and general property upkeep.

Self-Manage or Hire a Property Manager?

Self Manage or Hire a Property Manager?

One of the most common questions in rental property management is “Should I Self Manage my property or hire a Property Management Company?”. The answer to that question depends on many different variables – Your industry knowledge, available free time and the type of rental property (e.g. a single family rental home vs a self storage property) will all help determine which is the best choice.

How to Choose a Property Management Company?

How to Choose a Property Management Company?

Choosing the right property management company can have a direct impact on the success of your real estate investments (positive or negative). The decision should be made by thoroughly assessing many factors such as the company’s reputation, and experience with your property type. Secondary factors such as fees, contract terms, range of services offered, and responsiveness should also be taken into consideration to find the right company.

Full Service vs Partial Service Property Management

Full Service vs Partial Service Property Management

In rental property management, there are several structures of service agreements  offered by property management companies. The 3 most common types are: Full Service Management, Partial Service Management, and A La Carte. Each has its own sets of pros and cons, so it is best to choose the one which best aligns with your goals as a rental property owner.

How to Start a Property Management Company?

Starting a property management company requires strategic planning, covering aspects like market research, business licensing, and portfolio development. A robust operational structure, incorporating cutting-edge technology, and forming reliable vendor relationships, can significantly enhance efficiency and competitiveness.

How Long Are Property Management Contracts?

How Long Are Property Management Contracts?

Most property management contracts are for 12 month terms. Some companies may do shorter or longer contracts, but the common industry trend is for companies to require a minimum 12 month term to start, with subsequent annualized renewals thereafter. For longer term contracts or renewals, keep in mind the potential for industry changes or changes that you may want to make such as selling your property or transferring ownership.

About the Author

I’m an investor, real estate developer, and property manager with hands-on experience in all types of real estate from single family homes up to hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial real estate. RentalRealEstate is my mission to create the ultimate real estate investor platform for expert resources, reviews and tools. Learn more about my story.

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