Many rental property owners are experienced in real estate and maintenance, and they are comfortable managing their own properties. Not every owner wants to hire a professional property manager.
However, managing properties in Seattle on your own can be challenging. Hence, we almost always recommend that investors and landlords work with a professional management company. Our clients enjoy the many benefits of professional management.
If you’ve effectively managed a rental on your own but you think it might be time to turn it over to a professional, you’re probably right. Here are five reasons that most self-managing owners come to us looking for help.
1. Your Portfolio of Rental Properties is Growing
As home prices have increased substantially since the 2008 Housing Crisis Seattle is fast becoming a renter’s city. In 2019, renters outnumbered homeowners for the first time in 100 years. If you’re renting out an entire portfolio of rental properties, you need to have those assets managed professionally. Taking care of things on your own may be fine if you only have one or two homes to rent out, but with several properties and a lot of tenants, you’re going to have a list of issues that need your attention.
Hiring a professional Seattle property management company with the necessary staff of experienced managers, leasing agents, administrators, bookkeepers, and maintenance technicians will make sure all of the day to day tasks are handled, so you can focus on more important priorities. You’ll have the time and resources you need to relax and/or focus on your other goals, possibly adding more investment properties to your portfolio.
2. You’re Out of State or Out of the Country
Lack of proximity to the investment unit is also an excellent reason to hire a professional. If you live out of state or even out of the country, it’s going to be additionally difficult to monitor maintenance and any other issues that may crop up. You will have residents, neighbors, and vendors who need your attention, and if you’re more than an hour away, you’re going to have a hard time being responsive.
At such a time, it is critical to have someone local who can get over to the place quickly to investigate and resolve the problem. Hiring a local property manager ensures that your unit is inspected regularly and maintained in good condition.
3. You are Short on Time
A lot of the owners we work with simply don’t have enough time to properly manage their rental properties. It may be possible to find the hours if you’re only renting out one home. However, if you are juggling several properties, it quickly becomes just as demanding as working a full or part-time job.
There are dozens of responsibilities while managing properties, especially in the regulatory heavy state of Washington, from maintenance checks to tenant screening, from lease creation and enforcement to rent collection, and then some. If you don’t have adequate time to devote to these activities, important things may get missed.
For some homeowners, spending time on their career or with their family is a reason to consider handing over the leasing, maintenance, and management to a professional.
4. You’ve Decided to Become a Serious Real Estate Investor
Landlords don’t mind renting out a single home. Investors, however, are interested in creating as much wealth as possible with their assets, and dealing with the day-to-day functions of a property can slow that wealth creation down. If you don’t want to deal with a flood of tenant prospect calls/email/text messages when you’ve got a vacancy, scheduling and providing access to multiple vendors and maintenance tech, and making sure all invoices are received to issue timely security deposit refunds when you have move-outs, you will need a professional.
When the income stream is your most important reason for investing in real estate, it is better to hire a professional who can maximize the cashflow your property is producing and handle the ins and outs of management including all the duties that come with it.
5. Following Seattle Rental Laws Has Become Complex
Landlord-Tenant law in Washington state and especially in Seattle and its surrounding local jurisdictions heavily restrict landlords’ rights and were very strict before the COVID-19 pandemic hit; over the past couple years, they have become even more so.
In the City of Seattle, you cannot evict a tenant during the winter months or if a member of the household is affiliated with the school district during the school year. Since March 2020, late fees, other charges, and many notices have been prohibited under eviction moratoriums. Varied and conflicting requirements and regulations at the federal, state, county, and local city levels have created a complex web that requires a professional who is constantly educating themselves to maintain compliance. Many landlords are unaware of these laws and find themselves struggling to satisfy the notice periods that are now required to increase rents, change the terms of their leases, end a tenancy, and meet security deposit requirements and fair housing laws when tenants move-in and move-out.
Hiring a professional property management company will ensure absolute compliance with rental laws and protect you against penalties, potential claims, lawsuits, and liabilities.
These were some of the most prevalent reasons why investors hire a property manager. If you find yourself overwhelmed, facing any of the aforementioned issues, or just need a professional’s advice, connect with us at ACRES Property Management, your professional management company, providing end-to-end residential & commercial management for owners and investors throughout King & Pierce Counties including Seattle, Tacoma, Burien, Normandy Park, Des Moines, and Federal Way.