DIY vs. Professional Property Management | Dallas Landlord Education

Do you remember the last time you gave yourself a root canal or washed the windows in your office building?

You probably don’t do those things regularly, because you know they are best left to the experts.

Property management also has better results when you leave the day-to-day work to experienced professionals.

There are some good reasons for landlords to take care of their own rental properties. If you only have one or two properties and you’re retired, with some experience in real estate and maintenance and law, and you enjoy enforcing rules and dealing with tenants, you might make a great DIY landlord. However, if you have a full time career, family responsibilities, or other passions you’d like to spend your life pursuing, you may want to hand over the management responsibilities to a professional.

If you’re not able to keep up with the ever-changing landlord and tenant laws in Texas, you’re not interested in staying on top of fair housing and discrimination cases, and you’ve never read the Texas Property Code – it’s time to hire an expert.

Today, we’re explaining why hiring a professional Dallas property manager is almost always the best way to be a successful real estate investor.

Dallas Property Management: Knowledge, Experience, and Resources

Smart investors know that it’s impossible to put a dollar value on the amount of knowledge and experience that comes with working alongside professionals. Your asset is better protected and better positioned to earn you more money.

Professional managers have experience in a variety of areas, and these happen to be the areas in which DIY landlords tend to struggle the most:

  • Finding and placing tenants. If you’ve been managing your own home and you don’t understand why you can’t find great tenants, you probably don’t have a process in place for pricing, marketing, and screening like professional property managers do.
  • Enforcing the lease. It’s harder for individual landlords to collect rent on time and ensure the tenants are following the terms of the lease. Unauthorized residents and pets are more likely to show up in a property when there’s a DIY landlord.
  • Understanding laws. The Texas Property Code requires you to re-key the property before a new tenant moves in. You also have to provide peepholes and deadbolts on all exterior doors. If you don’t know this and you’re unsure about how long you can hold a security deposit or how to know the difference between a service animal and a pet, you need professional management.

Your property manager has access to procedures, forms, and resources that individual landlords simply cannot find on their own. Take advantage of all this experience and knowledge so your property performs better.

Investment Property ROI and Professional Dallas Property Management

Some landlords worry that paying for professional management will mean a reduction in rental income and ROI.

This is not the case. Yes, you’ll pay a management fee, but that fee is usually tax deductible. Most landlords find that the money they save and the extra rent they earn more than pays for professional management. So instead of worrying about what you have to pay your manager every month, think about what you’re earning that you might not earn if you were doing this on your own.

  1. Lower vacancy rates. A professional property manager can rent your home a lot faster than you could on your own. With a lot of experience marketing rental properties, a system for showings and screening, and immediate lease signing and tenant placement, your property manager can save you up to a month of lost rental income by avoiding a longer vacancy period.
  2. Higher rents. You might not know exactly what to charge. A lot of independent landlords will pick a random rental amount that sounds good, or matches the mortgage and insurance payments they need to make on the property. Strategically and intentionally pricing your home according to the market will help you earn more and find a better quality of tenant.
  3. Lower maintenance costs. Professional property managers have relationships in place with vendors and contractors, and we provide them with a steady stream of work. This allows us to negotiate owner-friendly rates for the work that’s done on your property. You’ll end up spending a lot less on both minor repairs and major projects when you’re using the relationships that professional managers already have in place.
  4. Increased property value. With regular inspections, preventative maintenance, and legal protections to ensure your rental property is compliant with all codes and laws, your investment will increase in value. One of a property manager’s jobs is to preserve the condition of your home so you can continue to earn more in rent and eventually prepare to sell at a profit.

Professional Property Management Reduces Stress

As a DIY landlord, you must be prepared to answer the phone and respond to tenant emergencies 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Inevitably, the water heater will burst at 2:00 in the morning on a Saturday. The air conditioning will go out while you’re on your summer vacation. This is stressful, but if you aren’t available and responsive, both your property and your tenant will suffer.

It’s also stressful when someone claims your application is discriminatory or you violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. What do you do when a tenant breaks the lease or cannot pay rent or accidentally drives a car through your garage door? Owning a rental property isn’t always one horror story after another, but terrible things do happen. Even the everyday tasks can be a hassle, whether it’s showing a property to prospective tenants or arguing over the definition of wear and tear when you’re refunding a security deposit.

It’s hard to enjoy the profits of owning rental real estate when you’re bogged down in the problems and the details. A professional manager can keep you above all that. Your property manager will be the buffer between you and your tenant. A good manager will stay one step ahead of everything your property needs, cutting down on the emergencies and the catastrophes.

From Best Case Scenarios to Worst Case Scenarios

Perhaps you’ve been lucky. Maybe you continue to manage your own property because you’ve had the same tenants in place for the last five years, and you never ever hear from them. They pay their rent on time, so you haven’t raised it. Plus, they’ve never requested maintenance and they’ve never complained about anything.

That may sound like a great situation. But, if you’ve never been inside the property to make a repair or conduct an inspection, you have no idea what it looks like. That can be dangerous. And, if you haven’t bothered to renew the lease year after year or raise the rent, you’re probably losing money.

Even the easiest tenants can have a sudden change in life circumstance. That tenant who has been paying reliably on time might suddenly lose a job or get sick. The resident who never requests maintenance might move out and you’ll find thousands of dollars in property damage.

Property managers won’t wait for the worst possible thing to happen. Instead, you’ll have a proactive, businesslike professional who is not emotionally involved with your tenants. That will create the best outcome for your investment property.

Weighing the Cost versus the Benefits

So, for the cost of a leasing fee and a management fee, you’re getting experience, knowledge, protection, resources, and procedures. You’re getting your time back, reducing your blood pressure, and increasing your ROI.

The benefits of professional management go far beyond what we have discussed here. A property manager can help you decide if it’s time to buy a new investment property. You can rely on his or her experience to tell you where you should invest and how much your new home will bring in for rent. If you’re an out of state investor, you can count on your property manager to be your local eyes and ears.

Whether you want to be a hands-on investor who participates in every decision that’s made for the property or someone who sits back and collects the rent checks, a professional Dallas property manager will make the most sense for you. You’ll earn more. You’ll spend less. You’ll have a better experience as a landlord and an investor. Your tenants will be happier, too, and happy tenants tend to stay in place.

Think about your goals as a real estate investor. Are you hoping to spend all your time taking care of your rental property while pinching pennies, or do you want to access the talents of some of the smartest people in the real estate industry to improve your investment decisions and help you earn more on your property? You probably don’t hesitate to get professional haircuts, professional health screenings, and even professional car washes. There’s no reason that you wouldn’t consult a professional when it comes to managing one of the largest assets in your portfolio.

If you need any help deciding whether you’re in a position to manage your own home properly, contact us at Specialized Property Management. We can tell you more about how to benefit from professional Dallas property management.