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November 16, 2012


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Hi Apex! Good advice. Property management has always been one of the scariest things for me, as I'm sure for many people looking to get into real estate investing. I currently only own my own home and at the right time, hopefully we'll fill this one with a tenant when we move.


I can certainly see the benefit of hiring contractors, but what is your thought on management companies handling everything? Rent collection, maintenance, etc...

I know it depends on the investor (weighing the loss in more income vs. time spent managing the property).

Would love to know your thoughts.


I do not use property management companies both because of cost and because I want to control the quality of what is done. That being said I am not opposed to it. It is definitely the right move for some people.

It is very important that you get the right kind of management company if you use one. I can't tell you how to go about that because I have not done it but there are certainly some bad management companies that will not do a good job for you.

As far as management company versus contractors, I will repeat a paragraph that I wrote above in this article:

"If your first call is always to a professional, you will waste money. For those using a property management company this is worth asking about. If the property management company’s first call is to a professional, they will waste your money for you as well."

If it's a management company, they need to have someone who can do a basic analysis (hopefully included in your monthly fee) before calling in the professionals. You can't call a professional every time a tenant doesn't know how to find the correct circuit breaker.

Another great installment in the series. I agree with everything you've said.

Almost all the time a 3 day quit notice will be all you need if a tenant isn't paying rent. They'll either come up with the rent or leave on their own. Its probably less than 10% of the time that you need to go further. I strongly agree with hiring a service if you need to do a full eviction. Most of the horror stories about evictions are from landlords trying to navigate the courts alone for the first time with no clue what they're doing.

I'd also add that I would not let tenants fix problems themselves. Some tenants want to offer to fix things. They may have experience in the area (or at least claim to). This seems like a potentially great idea but I'd avoid it. Key problems are that you don't know how well a tenant can fix things, its hard to hold them accountable and theres liability concerns.

I also don't buy used appliances. For the amount you save its not really worth it. Its hard to find decent used appliances and when you do they're prone to break down as well since they're already old. My dad on the ohter hand pretty much only buys used but he's a lot more capable handy man and he has a lot of properties and keeps extra appliances on hand. That doesn't work for me and won't work for most folks either.


I agree with you about not letting tenants fix problems. They could easily make it worse or turn a minor problem into an emergency. For instance if they have a water drip under the sink, tell them to put a bucket under it and you will look at it in a day or two. If you ask them to put a wrench on it and try to tighten something up, you might end up with a room full of water and an emergency call to a plumber.

And this is not meant to be an attack on tenants. They do not know how to fix most of these things nor should they. I was a tenant for the better part of a decade before I owned a house. I didn't know how to fix anything and certainly wasn't interested in trying.

Right, its not an attack on tenants in general. I'm sure most tenants who offer to fix something can do as good or better job than I can. The problem is I can't take the risk that a tenant will do a poor job or worst case injur themselves. And I don't really know which tenants are / aren't great handymen.

My ex roommate did fix stuff around the house we were renting. He has a long list of certifications, and our landlord actually hired him for other projects as well. Just check to make sure the tenant knows what he/ she is doing before ok'ing that repair, agree to any terms beforehand, same as you would with any contractor.

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