I had the strangest dream – there was a bell that kept ringing and ringing. How annoying! I wish someone would turn off that stupid bell.
And then I woke up.
My phone was ringing and I woke up and turned on the light. It kept ringing as I looked at it blankly. I was still a little confused and in the fog of sleep. “Oh, my phone was ringing and it wasn’t a dream…” I eventually thought. Who on earth is calling me at 1:15 am?
I picked up to hear the frantic and breathless voice of the HOA president of my condo which used to be my home but is now my rental property. “Just great” I thought, “something is wrong at the condo, AGAIN!”
“There is some kind of major leak over here and we think it is your condo and we have the fire department and we need to get in but we don’t want to break the window and there is a waterfall…”
I must admit I stopped listening at the word “waterfall.” That is about the worst word you want to hear as the owner of an upstairs condo which has previously leaked on a lower unit.
The long and short of it was that the HOA president needed me to come to the condo ASAP to open up and make sure that one of the pipes hadn’t burst. My condo had been vacant for a few months but I had put the thermostat on 60 and was pretty sure there was no issue – but I figured it would be better to be safe than sorry and I needed to take responsibility and be on site to resolve any issues. The HOA president was frantic and didn’t know what to do so I figured I would help.
The only problem was that this was all happening in the middle of a winter snow and ice event. If you’ve ever spent any time in the Mid-Atlantic region you know why I am making a distinction between a snow storm and a snow and ice event. We often get periods of snow changing to ice changing to rain changing to snow again – all in the same 24 hour period and making an absolute mess of the roads.
I got my coveralls on and shoveled off some ruts in the driveway in order to get my car up the hill and headed off slowly and carefully into the darkness. The snow was actually beautiful and the excitement of the phone call still hadn’t worn off so I was alert almost the entire ONE HOUR DRIVE out to my condo. What a pain. The time I had spent driving to the condo alone over the past year to show it to prospective tenants was probably worth hundreds of dollars. The most frustrating part of it was to make the drive and show the condo to a tenant that clearly hadn’t read the listing. “Do you take smokers?” “Can I bring my pet?” Didn’t you read the listing? NO!
When I got there I didn’t see the fire department – they had apparently just left. I actually wasn’t sure why they were there but in any case I located the HOA president and we put the key in the lock and turned the handle… what were we going to find?
Thankfully, nothing! I admit, I was absolutely overjoyed to find out that my condo was completely dry and had no signs of any leaking. The downside was that I had driven an hour in the middle of the night in a raging storm just to open my condo to see there was no problem. We walked to the end unit that they couldn’t get in and could clearly see water starting to soak a larger and larger area of the carpet. The end unit was more exposed to the elements and was a soon-to-be bank owned property whose owner wasn’t paying the mortgage or condo dues. Apparently she wasn’t paying the utility bill either and a pipe had burst.
All of this ended up taking me about 45 minutes and I hopped in my car for the hour drive home. I told my wife on the way home that there was no problem. It took me a good long time to fall asleep after all that and I lost about 3 ½ hours of sleep over the ordeal.
So clearly I am a little biased but here are my 10 reasons for using a property manager for rental properties:
- No phone calls for minor or moderate issues at the property
- No time spent showing the property to prospective tenants
- No time spent screening deadbeat prospects with background checks
- No time finding new tenants
- No sob stories from the tenants
- Management of any repairs or maintenance using an existing trusted network of contractors
- Automatic notification to tenants who are late with payments
- Perfect for a person who is not a “handyman” and won’t be doing repairs on their own (don’t make me tell you the toilet story…)
- Monthly .pdf statement in your e-mail
- Year-end statement for ease of reporting taxes
And I could keep going but I won’t overdo it. I can’t imagine not using a property manager. My experience with my property manager has been so positive that I’m now pursuing purchasing another rental property.
What are your thoughts on using a property manager for your rental properties?