DIY might be the swan song of Kiwi ingenuity but there are occasions where you should consider ‘calling the guy’. Whether or not to hire a property manager is definitely one of those occasions. Renting out your property, for any reason, is a big deal.
It’s not as easy as ‘oh I will just rent it out, no problem’. There are a lot of factors to consider when renting out a property. There are also a lot of concerns, with the biggest one being lousy tenants who treat your property poorly and cause nothing but financial and emotional issues.
When making the decision whether to go it alone or call in a property manager, consider the following questions:
Are you close enough?
If you are going to look after the property yourself, you should ideally be within an hour’s reach of the home. There are a multitude of things that could happen during a tenancy and more often than not they are emergency issues such as, plumbing, electrical or structural – which will generally need to be taken care of quickly. It helps to be close by so you can keep an eye on the place as well. If any repair or other type of work is done on the property it pays to be able to check on the handy work, otherwise you may be blindly paying for shoddy workmanship. Hiring a property manager becomes key if you live far away from the property, and especially necessary if you reside overseas. It is extremely difficult to organize anything significant from overseas, especially if you end up with bad tenants who may trash the place and it is a legal requirement of the Residential Tenancies Act that ‘A landlord who is out of New Zealand for longer than 21 consecutive days must ensure that the landlord has an agent in New Zealand’. Failure to do so is classed as an unlawful act and can result in a fine up to $1,000.
Have you got the time?
Leasing or renting out a property can be extremely time consuming depending on the type of tenants you get and the type of property you have. If your property is ready to rent then that is a huge amount of stress taken off your shoulders. If not, then it can take some serious time and effort to get the place up to scratch to ensure it is not only safe to live in, but to make sure the property is going to yield a high return. Following this is finding tenants, doing background and credit checks and then finally renting the property and maintaining it. If you own more than one property the responsibilities and tenants you have increases. There will be more maintenance issues and complaints to deal with, as well as vacancies to fill. Hiring a property manager could be necessary if you have a demanding work and family life which would make running the day to day tasks of managing a property difficult.
Do you know the business and know the law?
Knowing local housing and tenancy law can be an enormous asset when investing in property to lease or rent. If you are new to property investment then hiring an experienced property manager can be the best choice to save on costly mistakes and time. Property managers know the law, what rates your property may yield and can provide guidelines on any improvements you may need to make to get the right tenants into your property. Property managers also generally have good, quality repairman on call in case of an emergency or if a timely repair needs to be made.
Do you have patience and understanding with tenants?
You might be a people person, natural problem solver, or merely someone who can take the good with the bad without getting personal, so dealing with tenants and the problems that come with them may not be particularly stressful for you. However, if you are not adapt at dealing with issues like evictions, complaints and maintenance problems then it may be wise to hire a property manager. They are trained to deal with conflict and are not emotionally involved in the property which makes them an excellent buffer for problems.
It is completely a personal choice whether to hire a property manager for your property. Don’t be afraid of tackling it yourself if you are a first-timer, learning on the job is usually the best experience. But there is also something to be said for delegating the job. Whatever your choice, do your research, get advice, and don’t worry, you can always change your mind as your circumstances change.