If you’ve floated around the idea of becoming a property manager, you’re probably making a good choice. There are over 2,000 new renters every day, and the increased demand for rentals means there is also a growing need for property managers. Not only is demand high, but job satisfaction is as well. Forbes recently ranked property manager as the second happiest job in America.
But what will you need to do as a property manager? And how will you succeed? Becoming a property manager for large apartment communities typically involves a lot of training and a lot of time. But becoming a property manager for your own investment properties is actually pretty simple when you use automation and landlord software.
In the past, property managers would have to drive checks to the bank, spend time on the phone coordinating with maintenance workers, and hand-deliver late notices or other rental info. Now rental investors can collect rent online, screen tenants, and maintain apartments through property management software, which makes it possible to be your own boss.
We’ll break down the tasks you’ll need to do as a property manager and how property management software will do (almost) all of it for you.
When you begin your career as a property manager, you’ll need to start small. You can’t expect to manage 100 properties without prior experience. Most people who are interested in becoming career landlords start by investing in a single 2-4 unit property, but it will depend heavily on your financial situation and your location. Real estate experts even suggest living in one unit while you manage a rental to help save money on your first investment property.
If you’re serious about managing multiple properties and expanding your real estate portfolio, many new property managers choose to apply to work at a property management company or as an assistant property manager. That way, you’ll gain experience and get paid to do it.
Learn the laws
An important aspect of becoming a property manager is learning landlord-tenant laws and fair housing laws for your state. You’ll need to know the legal way to advertise a vacancy and evict a tenant. Rental contracts and other forms should be written carefully or downloaded from a trusted source to make sure they comply with all laws.
Not knowing the laws can cost you your job or lead to a lawsuit. Make sure to study up.
Once you have your first property to manage, you’ll need to find tenants to live there. Finding tenants can be difficult and time-consuming. Make sure to take quality pictures of your property and spend time writing an effective ad. List your property online to get it in front of as many potential tenants as possible.
More important than finding a tenant to rent your property is finding the right tenant. Bad tenants will be late on payments, damage your property, or violate rules set in the contract. These bad tenants can be costly. TransUnion reported that costs related to eviction can be as high as $10,000.
So how do you avoid bad tenants and thousands of dollars in fees?
The answer is online property management software that has the ability to perform background screenings. Screenings will allow you to see a tenant’s credit report, eviction history, criminal history, and prior bankruptcies. Knowing this information will allow you to confidently select the best tenant and avoid evictions.
Now that you’ve found the perfect tenant for your property, you get to do the best part — collect rent. Gone are the days where you had to go collect a check from each tenant individually at their apartment or wait for money to arrive in the mail. You don’t even have to take a monthly trip to the bank anymore.
The best property management software will allow you to collect rent payments online and have them deposited in your bank account within three days. It will help both you and your tenant save time.
Your tenants will also love the ability to build their credit history just by reporting their rent payments. Rental property software can also set-up payment reminders or autopay to prevent late payments.
Maintain the apartment
With tenants living in your apartment, appliances and other household items will start to fall apart or break due to normal wear and tear. As a property manager or landlord, you will need to take care of these yourself or hire someone else to do it. Plumbing issues and items that fall under your local safety code need to be fixed immediately. Plus, you’ll need a way for your tenants to reach you.
Property maintenance software will allow your tenants to make a maintenance request that alerts you right away. Tenants can upload photos, videos, and other documentation so you know the specifics of the problem and how urgent it is. You can also upload receipts, invoices, and more for easy documentation.