Taking Care of Your Investment: What’s Your Management Style?
Taking on a rental property can be fun, challenging, and a great investment opportunity! Whether you sign up with a rental company to manage the property for you, or you decide to do it yourself, there are always management issues that come up, and there are different ways to deal with those. Here are 4 styles of management we have seen:
1. “Set it and Forget it”: this property owner sets the cabin up with a management company (or even one of the do-it-yourself companies like VRBO or Airbnb) and basically lets nature take its course. Gives the rental company full reign to oversee and order maintenance and repair issues, guest complaints or questions. Doesn’t set foot in the property until it is time to sell it. The upside is it doesn’t take any investment of time or energy. The downside is maintenance charges can be very high, and there is little accountability for jobs being done well. And, lack of attention to maintenance issues can lead to some bigger problems. At selling time, deferred maintenance raises its ugly head!
2. Quarterly Quality Checks: This property owner sets up the cabin with the rental company, or self-manages but physically comes to the property at least quarterly for quality checks. The upside is it enables owners to catch problems that may be missed and avoid bigger issues. The downside is it takes time and energy to physically inspect your property.
3. Local Minder: Some cabin owners hire a local individual to help manage the property—doing monthly quality checks, arranging for maintenance and repair persons, checking on cleaners, etc. even if they are connected with a rental agency. The upside is this is a good way to have “eyes on” your property. The downside is it adds expense, and you are reliant on that minder person being good at their job!
4. Obsessive Control (in a good way!): If you are lucky enough to live close to your rental property, and you have the time for it, you can opt for frequent visits to the property, and to closely supervise cleaning and maintenance staff. This requires making follow-up “quality checks” after a property has been prepared for a check-in, keeping inventory of supplies and replenishing as needed, etc. The upside is you know for sure what the status of your property is and you can be sure you are providing what you are selling to guests. The downside is it is really time-consuming. Think about the difference in income between paying a rental company or other to help you with this vs. the cost of the time you are spending on it. Some people spend money to save time, others spend time to save money!