Should You Hire a Property Manager? 5 Things to Consider

As an owner of investment properties, you're always looking for ways to cut costs so you can increase your profit margin. One of the costs you might be considering is whether or not to hire a property management company. A lot of landlords think that if they manage the property on their own, they can save a lot of money.

However, that's not always the case. So, should you hire a property manager for your investment properties?

Here are five things to consider when you're making this big decision.

1. How Many Properties Do You Own?

There's a big difference between trying to manage one property and managing five properties.

Even with just one investment property to manage, it can feel like a full-time job when things start to go wrong (tenants not paying rent, repairs needed left and right, etc). But when you're juggling multiple properties, it's nearly impossible to manage them all on your own. 

If that's the case for you, then you should definitely work with a property management company to either help with the duties or to take them over altogether.

2. How Far Away Do You Live?

Managing a rental property requires you to visit the property frequently to perform home inspections, complete maintenance tasks, and do repairs as needed. If you live far away, this just isn't possible unless you work with a local property manager who can be your eyes and hands for the property.

If you live far from your property and you work with a real estate manager, you can limit your visits as much as you want. The property manager will report back to you on your property and take care of all the duties that require in-person work.

3. How Knowledgable Are You?

What do you know about the local real estate market, how to market your property, writing a lease agreement, or doing repairs for your property? Unless you're very knowledgable in all of these areas and everything else that you'll need to do as a landlord, you should hire outside help.

Property managers have a deep understanding of everything that goes along with renting out an investment property, and they have a ton of experience handling any issues that may arise. 

You shouldn't leave your investment up to chance and risk cutting corners on things that need extreme care and attention. Leave it to a company that has the knowledge and experience to get the job done right.

4. Are You Detail-Oriented?

One of the most important traits of a landlord is the ability to notice details and small things that can or will go wrong on the property. Without a keen attention to detail, you can easily overlook issues with the property, issues with your tenants, and more. 

If you're not detail-oriented, work with a property manager. Not only do they know what to look for, but they can pick up on small details that you wouldn't normally overlook or ignore.

5. How Busy Are You?

Do you work full-time, spend your free time raising a family, or love to travel a lot? 

Managing properties can become a full-time position, and one that doesn't allow for breaks or time off. You never know when the air conditioner unit will die or a tenant will break a lease agreement. 

If you're busy and don't have time to give your landlord duties the full attention they need, you absolutely need to work with a property manager. That way, you can focus on the rest of your busy life without worrying about neglecting your investment property or your tenants.

Yes, You Should Hire a Property Manager

Unless you want to be a full-time landlord, you should definitely hire a property manager to help with all of your properties. Working with a property management company will save you time and money in the long-run, so it's an easy decision.

Here at Professional Real Estate Management, we will take care of all of your investment property duties including filling vacancies, collecting rent, performing maintenance and completing repairs, and much more. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you manage all of your properties.

5 Must-Know Tips for First-Time Landlords

Being a landlord is a lot more than collecting rent every month and cashing in the checks. It takes a lot of work to be a good landlord that tenants respect and will continue renting from beyond their initial lease agreement.

If you're a first-time landlord, it's important to know exactly what it takes to be a great property owner. Not only will your tenants appreciate you more, but you'll have fewer vacancies and can potentially earn a lot more money from your rental properties.

Keep reading for five must-know tips to become a great landlord and property owner.

1. Screen Tenants Thoroughly

If you want to make your job as a landlord infinitely easier, you need to find tenants that always pay rent and will take care of your property. That's why screening tenants thoroughly is so important. If you don't, you can end up with tenants that don't pay rent and completely trash your property, adding to your long list of things to take care of.

When you screen tenants, you should do a background check, credit check, and application that includes things like pay stubs and past rent experiences. You can contact potential tenants' previous landlords and ask if they paid rent on-time and were responsible renters.

2. Require a Pet Deposit or Pet Fee

Pets, especially cats, can do a lot of damage to your property. Cats will tear up the carpet at the very least, and dogs can leave a bad smell in rooms that require a thorough (and expensive) carpet cleaning.

If you want to accept tenants with pets, you should ask for either a pet deposit or a monthly pet fee or "pet rent" to cover any potential damages to your property.

If you are renting out a furnished property, you should consider a "no pets" rule unless you want your couches completely torn up by the time your tenants move out.

3. Understand the Fair Housing Act

If you're a new landlord, it's important to educate yourself on the Fair Housing Act to avoid getting into legal trouble. 

The Fair Housing Act protects people from being discriminated against based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, marital status, familial status, or physical or mental disability. 

Prohibited actions by landlords or property managers based on these protected classes include:

  • Refusal to rent housing
  • Refusal to negotiate for housing
  • Set different terms or privileges for rental
  • Deny a tenant a service animal based on a "no pet" policy
  • Make housing unavailable
  • Advertise to a specific group of people

As a new landlord, you need to be very familiar and comfortable with everything that comes along with the Fair Housing Act to avoid any issues moving forward.

4. Create an Airtight Lease Agreement 

Creating a lease agreement is not something you just do on a whim without taking the time to ensure you and your property are completely protected. Your lease agreement needs to be airtight and clearly lay out what you expect from the tenants, and what the tenant can expect from you as the landlord. 

You should work with a property management company to create an airtight lease agreement because they have a lot more experience and know exactly how to put together an agreement. Property management companies work with attorneys to ensure lease agreements comply with housing laws and cover everything that's necessary for an agreement.

By working with a property management team, you won't be putting this very important task up to chance and can rest assured you have an airtight lease for your prospective tenants.

5. Keep Up with Maintenance and Repairs

Do you want to reduce tenant turnover and ensure your tenants are happy renting your property? Then you need to take care of any maintenance or repair requests in a timely manner. 

Whether you go to the property to make repairs yourself, or you hire contractors to do the work for you, it needs to be done right away so your tenants know you're holding up your end of the agreement. 

Are You a First-Time Landlord?

If you're a first-time landlord, you might feel a bit overwhelmed with all of your duties and responsibilities. But if you follow these tips, you can be a great landlord for your tenants.

Here at Professional Real Estate Management, we can help you with your landlord duties including creating an airtight lease, finding quality tenants, repairs and maintenance, collecting rent, and resolving any tenant issues or concerns. Contact us today to learn more about our property management services.

Real Estate vs. Stocks: Why You Should Choose Real Estate Investing

Are you interested in getting involved in the world of investing? If you are, you're making a great decision that will, more than likely, grow your wealth and provide long-term financial stability.

But when it comes to investing in real estate vs. stocks, which is the best choice for you? 

There isn't a universal answer because some people might excel in the stock market while others have a mind for real estate. However, in general, real estate investing is the best choice for short- and long-term value.

Keep reading to learn why you should choose to invest in real estate over the stock market.

Real Estate Provides Passive Income

When you invest in real estate like single-family homes or townhomes, you earn passive income each month from tenants paying rent. This is a huge advantage because through the stock market, you won't really earn passive income. You typically just invest and hope you get a return over time.

Your passive income will pay for any mortgage payments, property tax, and other costs like maintenance. After those costs, the rest of the rent money you collect goes straight into your pocket.

Long-Term Appreciation of Real Estate

The real benefit of investing in real estate is the long-term appreciation of properties. Over time, real estate value goes up no matter where you invest. This is because the real estate market keeps pace with inflation over time, which the stock market doesn't necessarily do.

If you do your research and spend time learning about the local real estate market, you can find great deals on properties. Look for homes that have a low cost but are in an up-and-coming area. If you make a smart real estate investment, your property will appreciate in value multiple times over.

Lower Risk Compared to the Stock Market

Investing in real estate is less risky than the stock market for a few reasons. The first is real estate keeps pace with inflation so the value of your property will always go up over time. 

It's also less risky because you can learn a lot about specific properties and make better decisions about which property to invest in based on what you think renters value. When investing in individual stocks, you really don't know a lot about the businesses you invest in and you can easily lose all of your money before you know it.

Even if you make a poor real estate investment, it'll always have value and, at the very least, you'll get the same value in return. That is inherently a lot less risky than the volatile stock market. 

Real Estate vs. Stocks: The Choice Is Easy

When you compare real estate vs. stocks, there is no question that real estate investing provides more short- and long-term value to the investor. Also, there is less risk when investing in real estate if you take the time to do your research and work with people who have a lot of knowledge on the local real estate market.

Here at Professional Real Estate Management and Investment Services Inc, we know how to find the best investment deals in the Pinellas County area. Our goal is to help you make the best investment so you can earn money now and in the future as your property appreciates in value.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you make a smart real estate investment in Clearwater, FL.

How to Be a Real Estate Investor: 5 Tips for Success

There's always risk involved when it comes to investing, but there are ways to limit risk and become successful if you know what you're doing. 

When it comes to real estate investing, there's nothing more important than taking the time to develop great habits before getting started. If you put the necessary time and effort into learning how to be a real estate investor, you will find success.

Keep reading for five important tips to practice to become a successful real estate investor.

1. Have a Detailed Plan for Investing

Becoming a real estate investor is a lot like starting your own business. Therefore, you need to create a detailed business plan that outlines your short- and long-term goals. This is important so that you stay motivated and focused on what you really want to achieve.

Without an investment plan, it's easy to get caught up in minor setbacks or to completely lose sight of what you're trying to accomplish through investing.

2. Research the Local Market

Understanding the local market is essential for finding success. If you invest in a property before doing the necessary market research, you can end up making a terrible investment and losing money or limiting your profit margin.

Before investing, spend time researching the market in-depth and learn all about current trends, such as spending habits of local consumers, mortgage rates, and unemployment rates. You should also learn about new developments being built in the area (businesses and neighborhoods) as that can say a lot about the future of the real estate market.

3. Have a Specific Property Niche

You can choose to invest in a ton of different types of properties such as townhomes, beach houses, single-family units, and so on. But when you dip your toes into a number of niches, it's difficult to become an expert in any of them.

That's why choosing one property niche, such as single-family homes, is the best route. You'll become knowledgable in the niche and have a deep understanding of what renters are looking for. You can also invest in multiple properties in the same neighborhood to make managing the properties a whole lot easier.

4. Understand the Risks

Investing in any way inherently carries some risk. But ignoring those risks and hoping for the best is not a good habit to practice because you won't be prepared when inevitable setbacks occur. 

By educating yourself on the risks of investing in real estate, you can make more educated decisions and better protect yourself from risk. 

5. Find Help 

Becoming a real estate investor is not something you should attempt all by yourself unless you want your life consumed by it.

Investing in a property is more than just renting out a unit to tenants and watching your house appreciate in value over time. There's a ton of accounting involved, property management, screening tenants, dealing with tenant issues, making repairs and performing maintenance, marketing your property, and much more. 

That's why you need to find help if you want to become a successful real estate investor. Consider working with a local real estate management company that can handle all of the tasks that you don't want to spend time doing. They have expertise in property management so you can rest assured your investment is protected and in good hands.

How to Be a Real Estate Investor and Find Success

Anyone with a little money can learn how to be a real estate investor, but if you hope to find great success through investing, you need to take time to develop good habits and skills. The tips listed above are essential if you want to build your wealth significantly by investing in real estate. 

Whether you're new to real estate investing or you've had some experience, it's always a good idea to seek help because it's not a one-person endeavor. Here at Professional Real Estate Management, we offer all the services you'll need to find success in real estate, including property marketing, screening tenants, property management, and accounting services. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get started in real estate investing.