Regardless of the size or composition of your real estate portfolio, a professional property management firm can help support and grow your business. But not all property management companies have the experience to help investors at every stage of their journey. If you’re thinking of enlisting the services of a professional property management firm, make sure it has helped other investors succeed at these critical junctures.
Stage 1: Getting started with your first property
One of the most important skills a professional property management firm offers novice investors is objective and expert advice. A family member or handyman might be able to fix a leak or collect rents when due, but a larger, more experienced firm can also help assess and qualify prospective tenants for your properties. Vetting a tenant appropriately requires experience and an objective eye for specific details. A professional property management partner provides a level of accountability.
Most new real estate investors have full-time jobs and other responsibilities, so even moderate maintenance issues can become hassles. If a tenant isn’t shovelling the walkway, salting the sidewalk or tending to the lawn and gardens, a property management firm can step in and take over these important, time-consuming tasks.
Proper maintenance increases curb appeal and the value of your investment, ensures that you are complying with various municipal bylaw regulations, and improves relations with your neighbours.
Stage 2: Multiple properties, multiple locations
Often, investors with multi-location portfolios believe they must work with multiple property management firms scattered in different cities or hire local handymen to do the work. This kind of management approach is not typically conducive to achieving the passive income most real estate investors are striving to attain.
Partnering with a single firm for all your properties provides simplicity and guarantees a consistent level of service. A nationwide company such as Veranova brings with it an established network of contractors who can handle any possible issue that might arise related to property maintenance, repair or tenant issues and/or disputes. A firm that also provides in-house real estate representation and legal support services can be an invaluable resource for investors looking to expand their holdings.
The right professional property management firm can also assist investors with renovations by recommending the right upgrades for the right price. A larger property management firm will have the breadth and capability to manage renovations and oversee contractors and trades. They can also help you navigate through a cost benefit analysis to determine what type of improvements will maximize the value of your property and boost your rental income.
Stage 3: Multiple locations, multi-tenant properties
The composition of your portfolio might change over time, from single-family homes to multi-tenant dwellings, such as a triplex or an entire apartment building. This kind of complexity and diversity will increase your need for a professional approach to property management. The consequences for investors with multi-tenant properties who try to go it alone can be serious: Non-compliance with changing bylaws, unreasonably long repair times and tenant disputes can all lead to catastrophic losses. Access to a nationwide company with a large contractor portfolio and a wide array of integrated services can eliminate much of the risk involved with owning so many doors.
Imagine that seven tenants in one of your buildings have repair issues. Time is of the essence in this situation if you want to be viewed as a good landlord. If the building is falling into disrepair, you run the risk of having disputes with your tenants that can escalate into larger problems if not dealt with quickly and properly. This could result in higher turnover rates than those factored into your multi-year investment plan.
The right property management partner will also be vigilant in complying with building and fire codes. If a fire, flood or other disaster should arise, the property damage could be vast, and you could run the risk of having to dip into your savings in the event of legal proceedings and/or an insurable claim that has been denied because a coverage policy requirement was missed.
Emergencies aside, multi-family investors need a company that will employ the right services to maintain their buildings – and the people in them – on a day-to-day basis. This includes a regular disposal plan, onsite management, regular cleaning of the common areas, laundry facilities, snow removal, landscaping services, etc. Your chosen property management firm can determine which services need to be rendered and will set up a specific timeline for them to be accomplished.
Maintain your bottom line, too
The majority of real estate investors build large portfolios because they are looking for a stable rate of return over the long term. Your portfolio might represent the majority of your investment assets or even your primary retirement strategy. Leaving the management of those assets to chance isn’t a risk you should willingly take.
Most investors are pleasantly surprised to learn that professional property management is not that much more expensive than hiring a handyman or individual contractors. It’s important to think beyond costs when opting to engage a professional property management firm. Focus instead on the returns. An experienced property management firm will help you select the right tenants for your property. It will hold them to a high standard and ensure your tenants have access to a property manager, as well as the guarantee of a timely and dependable response, at any hour of any day.
A professional property management firm will keep your portfolio healthy, growing and protected. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Veranova is the leading provider of property management and legal support services for Canadian property investors. To learn more about the benefits of Veranova’s one-provider approach, visit veranova.ca.
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