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Property Management Blog

Published on Saturday, November 22, 2008

Property Managers Are Jacks Of All Trade

Do you know what property managers do? It sounds like a pretty wide term, right? And probably comes with a job description that is too complicated to understand. Well, it does not have to be. It is true that there are many different areas of expertise that property managers have to be knowledgeable in. But if you are willing to push your limits and extend your knowledge and experience, drawing all your talents and education into play, this might be a job that would appeal to you.

Most property managers will have a college degree of some kind, either in business or in some similar field of education. Many agents in the housing market nowadays are self employed, as are many investors and business owners. This means that you are your own boss, and can develop your own management style and guidelines.

There are several different reasons that people in this field do what they do. One is that when you are employed in this kind of job, you have enormous potential for high amounts of income and profits, whether on properties or otherwise. Through your hard work, you can develop and increase the value of the properties that you manage, making your job that much more profitable. Another take on good reasons for going into this line of work is the more personal aspect. You get to work with people, many times one on one, and help them perhaps find the home of their dreams, maybe help them find a rent or mortgage that is manageable and affordable to their budget. In short, you get to help, in your own way, people become happier with certain aspects of their lives, something that might never have happened through a bigger company or people they speak with constantly on the phone.

There are certain aspects as well that some might consider the tedious side to a property managers job. These include things like the day to day management of budgets and the overseeing of bookkeeping, the overseeing of any possible associates who work beneath them, the negotiation of contracts for various things such as grounds-keeping, trash services, etc., among many other things that seem to add up.

There are of course governmental rules property managers have to abide by and enforce. People with disabilities have to be considered properly, discriminatory practices cannot be even hinted at when taking on renters whether it be discrimination against age, race, finances, or otherwise. The buildings and grounds themselves have many different codes that someone in this position would have to make certain are followed, from local to State to even Federal codes. Depending on your qualifications with this position, you may be responsible for personally inspecting the grounds and buildings for safety issues. If not, it would be responsible to hire someone to do this job.

Establishing the rates that will be charged in rent could also fall under your responsibilities with this position, as well as the hire of leasing agents and organizing detailed and effective advertising campaigns. There are many more responsibilities associated with this type of job, but if you enjoy a challenge, have a mind for business, and enjoy seeing the fruit of your work on a day to day basis, this might be a very reasonable option for you to consider.

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Landlord Knowledge Base

If you’ve ever considered investing in a few rental properties in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA now might be a good time. Prices are still low in Philadelphia, but have been on the upswing. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home in a US metropolitan area grew 13.7% between July 2012 and July 2013, the latest in a 17-month streak of year-over-year price increases. 

New landlords can choose from properties that are likely to appreciate and a large pool of potential renters.Licensed realtor Pat Mueller cites a few reasons for this trend: “Many families have lost their homes to foreclosure and are entering the rentals market for the first time in years. Mortgages are also harder to get now, so fewer people are qualifying for a new one.”The more skills you bring to the table to get into Houses for Rent in Philadelphia Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA and the more time you have to devote to your properties, the faster you can make a return on your investment. 

But investing in rentals can also be disastrous (or too stressful to be worthwhile) without expertise. Here are three professionals you may consult about your new rental properties, and what you can do to mitigate how much they cost you:Handyman:  You may need to hire a specialist for some work on your rental. If you need new outlets or new pipes, for example, hire an electrician, plumber or licensed contractor. Handymen usually tackle smaller, more manageable tasks, like:

  • Painting and paint removal
  • Drywall repair
  • Minor appliance repairs (fixing a leaky toilet or faucet, among others)
  • Installing tiling or flooring, moldings, windows, doors
  • Refinishing decks, cabinets and other wood items

When You Could Skip It: You could do any (or all) of these projects yourself if you have the time and interest in learning. Of course, this only works if you live relatively close to your rentals and are flexible enough to service them on short notice. And if you’re willing to respond to the occasional 5 AM basement flooding.

Average Savings: Any base rates or costs-per-hour vary from location to location in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA , but nationally, you can expect to spend an average of $60 to $85 per hour for repair costs. It general costs less to hire an individual handyman than a handyman employed by a company. Expect an additional charge if your job requires a trip to the store for materials.

Resident Property Manager As the owner of a handful of rental properties, you may be able to manage them yourself, but if you want help, a single resident manager would probably be more cost efficient than a property management company. Resident managers may:

  • Serve as a handyman
  • Advertise vacancies in your units
  • Show apartments to prospective tenants
  • Review rental applications
  • Collect rents

When You Could Skip It: Again, the closer you live to your properties and the more spare time you have, the less likely you are to need a manager. The obligations of being a boss will also cut into the time you save on maintenance.

Average Savings: The national median wage for residential managers is just over $25 per hour. Research the wages in your community and adjust according to how much responsibility your manager will take on. 

Real Estate Agent: Once you’ve gotten your financials in order and done your own research on the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, you might contact a realtor to show you potential properties. You can also arrange for a realtor in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA to show rentals once they’re ready to rent.

When You Could Skip It: It depends. Even if you’re a local, or have thoroughly researched the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, a realtor is a great resource for a first-time rental buyer. Realtors have access to data and statistics not necessarily available to the general public and first-time buyers may not know all the right questions to ask. Using a realtor to fill your Houses for Rent vacancies is less of a no-brainer, depending on your other time commitments or whether you plan to hire a resident manager who could do the same thing.

Average Savings: As a buyer of rental properties, as when buying your own home, sellers typically pay most, if not all, of the buyer’s realtor fees. In this case, Mueller points out there’s little reason not to work with a realtor. For help in filling your units in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA, the services of a realtor would set you back between 10-20% of the unit’s rent per month.  Mueller recommends interviewing with several brokers before making your final decision to invest into Houses for Rent .

The Bottom Line: As a new landlord, you can’t necessarily control the flexibility of your schedule or the amount (and cost) of unexpected repairs to your properties. Rentals are a long-term investment. However, to maximize profits from your Houses for Rent, new rentals, you can buy close to home and start small. It is best to begin with just one or two properties. This will allow you to maximize the time you spend on your properties’ needs, and minimize the amount you’ll have to pay anyone else.

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