Property Management. What is it?

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Sometimes people move to a new home for one reason or another and have to decide what to do with the house or condo they're leaving. Some choose to sell, but that isn't always possible, or wise. Depending on the market, they may feel they'd be losing money on a sale and may consider renting the unit out. That will help keep up the payments, continue to build equity in the property at little or no out-of-pocket cost to the owner.

Others may begin a program of buying distressed houses and, after some refreshing, rent them out. Again, while most can't expect a quick return on their investment, a renter builds equity for the owner, and in the long run, the owner will have one or more properties that didn't cost lots of money.

But whatever the reason for renting out a property, a novice landlord is quickly going to get a real eye-opener.

In the past, laws favored the landlord and renters had few rights. This gave the owners lots of protection against tenants who failed to keep up rental payments, which damaged or even destroyed property, and the owner found it relatively easy to evict an unwanted tenant. This was however considered an unequal distribution of rights, and in some senses, it may have been.

Most owners felt that as owners of property, they should be able to decide exactly who they wanted as a tenant, and if the tenant failed to live up to their agreement, they could quickly evict the tenant and move on.

Life in many ways seemed easier. As often as not, a property owner and prospective tenant would discuss the rental, the tenant would pay the first month's rent, they would shake hands, and that was the conclusion of the affair.

Over the years, however, times have not only changed, but the method of renting property has changed as well. Perhaps the first significant change came in the form of discrimination. Many felt they had been turned down for a rental because of their race or religion, so laws were eventually put in place to protect the rights of these. As is common in life, one change leads to another and feeling the need to protect themselves; many landlords began collecting security deposits, and as to evictions, the law again had stepped in and changed the rules. These days, it is not only difficult but expensive and time-consuming to evict a problematic tenant.

Any person who rents out a property today usually does a background check to learn how the potential renter's payment history looks. Even after all that, it is not at all unusual for the tenant to fall behind on rents. If a month slips by without payment, very few renters will ever be able to catch up again. And then there is maintenance. When an owner is called late on a Saturday evening by an angry tenant who complains the unit has no heat or the air conditioning has stopped, or worse, there is no hot water, everyone will be unhappy, and it is easy to become discouraged with the entire idea of being a landlord.

That's where a Mesa company team comes in. For a flat fee, experienced and trained personnel do it all for the property owner.

The asset management group finds a prospective tenant. The group does a background check and all the necessary work to assure itself that the tenant has no significant past rental problems, and then makes certain the prospective tenant fully understands the rules. These may include a discussion of having pets in the unit, having others move in without permission, and so on.

The prospective tenant, once approved, will have a number to call in the case of maintenance or emergency problems and the property manager collects the rent and makes certain it is paid on time. Unless a person is a die-hard do-it-yourself type person, any landlord will appreciate the freedom from having to deal one on one with tenants, dunning them for rent, listening to their complaints or the complaints of neighbors who insist the wild parties and loud music is driving them crazy.

The takeaway here is to remember that for a flat monthly fee, a property management team saves the property owner all the work and concern involved in finding a suitable tenant, collecting the monthly rent, worrying about maintenance and dealing with any and all the problems that will, at one time or another, turn up to plague a harassed property owner. Experienced landlords agree that asset management is the way to go.

James J. Hodl (36 Posts)

James J. Hodl is a career journalist who has worked for newspapers, magazines and trade journals. A graduate of Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism, Hodl began his career as a reporter with the Palatine (IL) Herald and the Morton Grove (IL) Review before becoming editor of the trade publication Appliance Service News. In recent years, Hodl has had articles published in Consumers Digest, Good Housekeeping, Home Remodeling, Kitchens & Baths and Salute; and has contributed to trade publications serving the home furnishings, restaurant and casino markets. A native of Chicago, Hodl relocated to San Tan Valley in 2013.


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