Time is money, as Benjamin Franklin is believed to have said. And some rental property managers will find the aphorism undoubtedly true, as they often have too little of the former at the expense of the latter. But what can you do if you find yourself too busy to manage your rental property portfolio yourself?
There are many solutions for those who find themselves over-extended in terms of time committed to managing their rental properties. Time-saving answers abound, including selling underperforming assets, outsourcing aspects of their business where warranted, and finding a strategic partner. Of course, if all else fails, owners can always simply hire a property manager. Some fixes will cost nothing to implement. Others will have a potential price that causes some property owners to pause and consider.
If you don’t think you have the money to make some of the changes outlined below, try lessening business expenses in other areas. This will help free up cash for projects that will give you more time. One easy way to do this is to take a scapple to any part of the budget that has fixed costs, such as insurance. Finding a more affordable policy has never been easier. You can simply check costs online. Find the best rate, and you can easily put the money you save on insurance towards automated systems that will save property managers time in the long run.
If you have more properties than you find you can manage, consider offloading some. Not only will doing so help strengthen the rental property portfolio overall. But still, it will force you to look at what properties are providing the best return on your investment and resources. After all, most rental property owners are individuals who own less than five total assets. If even one rental underperforms, that could mean that 20% of the business is struggling—dragging down more successful properties in the process.
Outsource Aspects of Your Business
Some property owners love to obsess over the financial aspects of the business. Others will enjoy rehabbing their units. Nothing says that you have to handle all aspects of your business. This is especially true if someone can do the task more efficiently.
So, if it takes you eight months to do your taxes, consider hiring a real estate accountant. The NAREC is an organization of professionals dedicated to helping those working in real estate with various specific accounting and tax services. And if you seem to break more toilets than you manage to fix, consider outsourcing maintenance. It’ll save you money and porcelain in the process.
Find the Right Partner
The right strategic partner may be able to lift some of the burdens when it comes to managing your properties. A strategic partnership is when two companies agree to share resources. In this case, two nearby property owners could band together to provide custodial services for two adjacent buildings. Being able to combine costs should provide a savings benefit. Look for such partners in your area.
In most localities, rental properties must be badged with information about the leasing company. Use this info to find like-minded businesses that may be amenable to sharing costs for something like a live-in superintendent or building manager. (Just be prepared to consult your tax and insurance professionals about potential changes to consider when deciding the particulars of your partnering.)
Hire a Property Manager
If all else fails, it may be time to hire an additional property manager. Many rental owners pride themselves on doing it all. But at a certain point, this just isn’t viable. In such cases, hiring a property manager or using a property management company may become necessary.
In cases where the owners are out of state (or even just across the metro area), using a property manager can even be cheaper than the owner having to travel back and forth to provide continuous maintenance. But a good property manager will be able to do much more than just maintain a property. They should take on all aspects of client relations. Property managers should be able to screen tenants, interface with residents, handle everyday tasks such as move-ins, and handle emergency situations as they arise—as well as routine maintenance.
If You’re Busy, Slow Down and Consider Options
In short, if you’re a property owner whose business is busy, that can always be a good thing. Property owners in this situation have options. They can consider selling parts of their portfolio to make it more manageable. They can outsource aspects of the business they prefer not to do. Owners can even choose to pursue a strategic partnership or hire a property manager.
Whatever an owner decides to do, they should make sure they take the time to slow down and appreciate the chief aspects of the process. Of course, doing so can be easier said than done for owners that are already short on time. Luckily, the time spent making the right decision will come back in untold benefits for the business. So, don’t rush a decision; take your time and good luck!