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Many small to medium-sized landlords want to manage their rental properties themselves, and for good reason.
Most of all, managing your properties yourself means more net income – you don’t have to part with a large chunk of your rental income each month to pay a property manager or company.
Another advantage is that you are closer to your tenants and rental activities. If you are the one who screens the tenants and hires maintenance contractors, you always know exactly who is in and around your properties and you are the first to know about a problem.
However, there are also some drawbacks. You will have to invest a lot of time, energy, and effort into your properties, which not all landlords are able to do, especially those with other responsibilities like W-2 jobs or families. You can also get lost if you don’t have the knowledge required for a specific job. You will have to rely on yourself much more.
With the right tools and technology, self-management is a profitable and very viable choice for many. In this article, we explain how you can limit your spending with five self-management tips.
Related: How to Manage Your Real Estate Business Like a Pro
Syndication of lists
Ad syndication is one of the best tools for hosts. Why? Using list syndication can make rental ads a one-man business.
Listing syndication allows you to write one listing and put it on multiple popular listing sites with one click. Instead of spending time rewriting or typing your listings for sites across the web, you can use a listing syndication service to post them simultaneously.
Listing syndication enables self-management because it limits the amount of time you spend on listing and ad tasks. Posting online in general is a good idea, as it allows potential renters to more easily contact you with questions or general interest. However, syndicating your online listings is the way to go – you can optimize your ads without having to pay a broker to do it for you.
Likewise, automating your application pipeline is another way to enable self-management.
Setting up a candidate pipeline is relatively easy on a given listing platform. For example, if you post on sites like Zillow or Apartments.com, you can choose to send introductory emails to tenants who “hold” your properties or choose to receive more information. Additionally, if a tenant doesn’t respond to your initial message, you can specify that a follow-up email should be sent after a certain number of days.
Ultimately, your goal is a signed lease, so you need to stay in touch with interested tenants and communicate regularly. If you don’t have time to respond to a message for several days or even a week, the tenant has probably already left. That’s why it’s important to automate the process: you don’t have to answer each tenant personally to make sure they get a personalized answer. And you can always choose to answer specific questions yourself or receive calls from tenants who are serious about renting your properties.
Related: 5 property management tasks to automate in 2023
Property management software
Perhaps the biggest way to limit spending through self-management is to use software. Property management fees can be high – most charge a percentage of your monthly rental income, meaning the more successful your business is, the more you’ll have to pay for management.
This need not be the case with property management software. Many software platforms offer low-cost plans with all the basic management features you need. Others, like Innago, are completely free to use. You get access to key features like online rent collection, tenant screening, rent advertising and maintenance management, and you can automate many of these tools as well.
If you want to reduce management costs, software is undoubtedly the best place to start.
Online rent collection
As mentioned, online rent collection is a tool that you can find in property management software that can save you a lot of time and money. Instead of cashing paper checks or cash every month and taking it all to the bank, your tenants can easily submit their payments online. You get them much faster and don’t have to manually track down payments yourself – your software will apply and enforce them automatically. With more time on your hands, you can focus on generating more income, not tracking down income you should already have.
Related: 4 smart ways to lower your property management costs
Seek guidance when needed
While there are many ways to cut costs by doing tasks yourself, don’t let your desire to save money cloud your sanity. If there is a task that needs to be performed and you do not have the knowledge or experience to perform it, you should not attempt to do it yourself at the risk of causing further damage.
For example, if there’s a serious plumbing problem that needs to be addressed immediately, you most likely won’t have time to watch a YouTube video and teach yourself the solution. Instead, you should call a trusted contractor to make sure no further damage is done to your property.
Likewise, if you’re facing what is likely to be a complex eviction and you’ve never attended an eviction court hearing, don’t hesitate to call an attorney. An experienced eviction attorney can provide you with value-for-money expertise when it comes to something as expensive and challenging as an eviction.
Managing your properties yourself is an ambitious but plausible goal for most small to medium sized landlords. There are several resources and tools available for this. Many are based on automation, which is absolutely crucial if you intend to manage your properties yourself. It won’t always be easy, but there’s a lot you can do to become a successful manager of your own investments and save money at the same time.