So, you want to manage single-family homes? Just what does it take to be a residential property manager?
What does it take?
A property manager has to be a jack-of-all-trades and be a very good organizer of time. You will have all these tenants, clients, and vendors making demands and you won’t have on-site managers that can do things for you like leasing or making sure repairs are being done.
As a single-family property manager, it’s very difficult for you to schedule your day. You will want to be very flexible and be a very good organizer so you can do many things in one trip. It takes a very unique and dedicated person to manage single-family homes. It’s a whole different game than managing apartments. Single-family home management requires the real estate agent to be more involved and have more direct contact with each home renter.
The residential manager wanting to make the move to single-family home management must possess specific skills. You will need excellent self-discipline skills. You will need a real handle on time management and fine-tuned skills in terms of accounting work. It’s also important to be able to coordinate and integrate labor for maintenance work.
As a property manager, you need to have really good communication skills because you will be dealing with multiple owners, some whom may not be the most sophisticated in terms of property management and the Texas property code.
Screening potential clients, as well as tenants, is crucial for a property manager. You will have to interview the client and reject properties that are riddled with liability issues. When interviewing the client, you also need to find out their goals for the property.
Most property managers that have been in the business for some time agree that managing single-family homes can be more stressful than managing apartments. In managing single-family homes, you have to watch your budgets a lot closer because, from the owner’s point of view, if there’s a vacancy, 100 percent of their income is gone. That means there is more pressure involved in maintaining occupancy for single-family homes.
There are, however, several advantages to managing single-family homes as opposed to multi-family properties in that you don’t have the conflict between one tenant and another in an apartment building where one gets new appliances, curtains, etc., and the other doesn’t. You don’t have to worry about raising rents and explaining to the tenants why their rent is higher than the neighbors.
Rules To Live By
Single-family property managers must have rules that are written and easy to understand. If the tenant doesn’t abide by the rules or feels that they cannot at the time the lease is signed, then there’s no reason for the tenant to rent from you. On the other hand, if the tenant abides by the rules, they can be reasonably assured that they will get their security deposit back intact. For the most part, properties don’t cause heartburn, tenants do! You can’t have a nonchalant attitude towards tenants because if they think they can get away with something, they’ll push it.
The first step in a good management program is to obtain the right properties. The next step is to set down a fair, but a tough set of rules in a lease agreement, and have an accounting system designed to keep track of your cash flow.
Finally, leasing the home to the right tenants is essential. The process involves screening tenants to eliminate the unqualified and undesirable, interviewing, explaining the ground rules, handling maintenance calls and minor repairs, and getting rid of those that do not qualify based on your own guidelines.
The following policy and procedures should never be broken:
- Always get cash (or the equivalent in certified funds) for the first month’s rent, deposit, and application fee.
- Never accept a partial deposit before giving occupancy.
- Always use the promulgated rental agreement, or one drawn up by an attorney.
- Never discriminate by changing your lease agreement.
- Always take the time to go over the entire lease and addendums with each tenant.
- Never accept an excuse for a late payment.
- Always serve a 3-day notice the day the rent is late.
- Never feel sorry for a tenant.
- Never let a tenant intimidate you.
Remember, it’s a business. It’s not an amateur’s game.
Small owners in the rental housing industry often don’t understand the extent to which the landlord/tenant statues of Texas apply to them. Many small owners are surprised to learn that nearly all statutes affecting large apartment owners also apply to the smallest single-family rent house owner
For a list of most important landlord/tenant statues in Texas grouped according to those that apply to (1) the owner of one or more rent houses; (2) the owner of one or more duplexes; and (3) the owner of an apartment project with 5 or more units, contact us today.