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So, you have invested in buy-to-let property for some additional monthly income, or maybe you have inherited a property and you are in a position to rent it out. Either way, you will be faced with the decision of how to manage this new rental property – should you self-manage, or use property management services?
When starting out in property, many people assume they have to do everything themselves. From refurbishing the apartment to managing their tenants. Of course, this has cost-saving benefits, but it is also extremely time consuming and often, can be more trouble than it is worth. There’s no straight answer to the question, as every investor is different. However, it’s worth considering the many different elements of self-managing a rental property in order to make an informed decision.
Self-management means you take on the ‘hands-on’ role of being a landlord. You will take on the day-to-day actions to ensure the smooth running of your property. Your tenant will come to you as the first point of contact for any issues.
Many buy-to-let investors choose to self-manage their rental property because it gives them a greater degree of control. Taking on the role of the landlord will allow you to gain experience that many investors might see as an advantage. Also, the decision to self-manage your rental property will save you money in the long term.
However, with those advantages comes disadvantages. Firstly, self-managing a property is extremely time consuming – especially if you have multiple buy-to-let investments, your duties are multiplied. Also, if you have a lack of expertise in that area, there are certain elements to property management you will not be aware of. As a result, you’re more likely to run into problems.
What does a property management service do?
If you employ a property management service, you assign somebody else the role of managing your property. Probably the biggest benefit of using a property management service is how much time it will save. Not having to answer a phone call on a weekend or late at night means you can rest assured with the knowledge that your tenants are being taken care of.
Also, property managers will have years of experience and expertise. As a result, they are able to deal with issues with much more ease and efficiency. They are committed to understanding best practices, rules, and regulations – they know the ins and outs of the rental industry. For someone who has never self-managed a rental property before, this kind of knowledge can take years to pick up.
Managing a Rental Property
Self-managing your rental property means much more than just collecting the rent every month. There are plenty of day-to-day tasks self-managers need to undertake to ensure their property is performing well. They include, but are not limited to:
Marketing your property
Selecting a tenant
Drawing up contracts
Regularly inspecting the property
Making sure the property meets national legal standards
Handling any maintenance issues and responding promptly to tenant requests
As you can imagine, this requires a lot of time and effort. Some people are passionate about the landlord business and will leap into action to help out a tenant. For those people, self-managing could be a great opportunity to gain experience in the rental property industry. However, for those who are seeking an entirely hands-off approach to being a landlord, a property management service could be the right decision.
While you may think there are plenty of people out there looking for accommodation, you need to make your property visible to any prospective tenants. Meaning, you will need to be responsible for your own marketing and marketing costs.
On top of your marketing efforts, you need to ensure you find the right tenant. You could end up flooded with applications – so how do you know which tenant will be right for you and your property? Many self-managers end up listing their property in whatever advertising streams are available. Whereas a letting agency would use targeted and streamlined marketing to find you a tenant. Or, they often already have a database of potential renters waiting.
Even bad tenants need a place to live, so it is extremely common for self-managers to end up with problematic tenancies. Whereas if you opted for a lettings management service, an accredited agency would have vetting schemes in place protecting both the landlords and tenants. In turn, lessening the chances of that happening.
In order to achieve the highest returns on your investment, having a well-furnished property is essential. A well-furnished property is a difference between a house and a home. If you choose to self-manage your property, furnishing your property could be a timely and expensive process. Whereas if you were to go with a property management service, delivery and installation will likely be included in the price.
Ultimately, if you feel you have the time, knowledge, and patience to become a landlord then self-managing your property could be a great way to develop your property management skills. However, there are dangers that come with self-managing and not doing a good job of it. For example, if you develop a bad reputation as a landlord that is often hard to shake off. Also, if you are not up to date on the most recent laws and regulations, being a landlord can be a minefield. Whereas a lettings agency, especially one that has been ARLA accredited, such as ourselves, will have superior knowledge of the legal side of the property market. As a result, providing a much higher standard of service.
For your ease, CityRise can provide you with a full property management service. We promise to work with you to manage your existing properties, but also help implement strategies that will help you grow your portfolio. Also, as an ARLA accredited agency, you can rest assured that our expert teams are providing professional standards far higher than the law demands. To read more about our lettings and management services, visit our website here.
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