One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when you’re renting out a property is whether you want to manage it on your own or whether you want to have a professional Nashville property manager take care of the leasing, management, and maintenance for you.
Think about this from the perspective of your own needs, the needs of your property, and those of your tenants. If you decide to self-manage, you’ll need to make sure that you have the time, skills, vendor relationships, and expertise to manage your home effectively. There are also a lot of rental laws to navigate successfully. The smallest mistake can leave you vulnerable to lawsuits, fair housing claims, and court judgments.
Hiring a professional management company allows you to turn over all the management details to expert professionals. But, you’ll have to let go of some control, inviting someone else to make the decisions and take the actions that will keep your property protected and profitable.
Here are some of the things you’ll want to consider when you’re making this important decision.
Marketing Your Home and Finding a Tenant
Leasing is different when you’re managing your own property. You’ll need to settle on the right rental value, make sure your property is ready for the rental market, and then launch a strategic marketing campaign to get it rented.
You also have to choose a tenant, and that requires a consistent and objective screening process that does not violate any fair housing laws.
Marketing a home effectively requires proper photographs and good technology that makes it easy to syndicate your listings. You’ll need time to market and advertise and show your property.
Screening can be challenging for self-managing landlords. You’ll want to establish some standard qualifying rental criteria and measure all of your applications against the same standards. You’ll consider:
- Credit reports and financial histories
- Eviction searches
- Employment and income information
- State-issued identification
- Rental histories that include interviewing former and current landlords
Professional Nashville property managers have more resources and tools available. There’s more technology to quickly move through the leasing process and carefully screen a tenant.
You’ll have access to a strategic marketing plan, an automated system for showings and applications, and a rigorous screening process that results in a well-qualified tenant. You’ll also have the move-in inspection taken care of and the security deposit collected and deposited according to local and state laws.
The result is a competitive and profitable rental value and a well-qualified tenant.
Nashville Rental Property Maintenance
Maintenance is where there’s a major difference between a self-managed property and a professionally managed rental home. As a self-managing landlord, you’ll need a plan for routine and emergency maintenance. You’ll also want to think about preventative maintenance. A good preventative maintenance plan will keep those emergency repairs to a minimum. You’ll need service contracts in place for your HVAC, plumbing system, and electrical system. You’ll want your roof checked and your gutters cleaned. You’ll also want to keep up with landscaping and pest control.
Can you educate your tenants on their responsibilities as a self-managing landlord? Will you be able to remain available and responsive, even during the night and on the weekends? Who will be the point of contact when you’re out of town?
Think about your vendor relationships, too. You’ll need professionals who you can rely upon to provide high quality and affordable services to your rental property.
If you decide to work with a property manager, you are at a maintenance advantage.
Professional property managers have maintenance plans in place for every potential problem, whether it’s a minor light switch that isn’t turning on or a major plumbing leak. We understand the importance of preventative maintenance in keeping your property well-maintained, and we are quick to respond to tenants when they report repairs.
With property management, you also get better maintenance documentation. Tenants can report their repair needs online, which creates a written maintenance record for all of the systems and functions in your rental property. This helps with preventative work and allows you to estimate when you may need to make replacements rather than repairs.
There are also vendor relationships to leverage when you have a property manager working with you. You’re likely to get more dedicated service and more cost-effective rates.
Lease Enforcement and Risk Management
Renting out a home in Nashville comes with a lot of risk and liability. We’re not just talking about the risks that are inherent with tenants.
There are legal risks, too. If you aren’t fluent in all fair housing laws, you could make an expensive mistake. Federal law establishes seven protected classes of people, and you cannot ask questions or make decisions based on those identifying factors.
Do you know what they are? Do you know why you can’t ask if a tenant has children? These are fair housing issues, and if you’re confused about what you can and cannot do, protect yourself with property management.
You need to know the security deposit laws in Tennessee. You need to know what to do if a tenant does not pay rent and you need to evict them.
Fair housing laws include service animals and support animals. What is an emotional support animal and are you permitted to charge a pet fee when they move into the property with your tenant?
Professional property management in Nashville is often the best choice for owners who do not have the time, knowledge, or expertise to effectively manage their own homes. Don’t worry so much about the management fee; it’s tax deductible, and the amount of value you get in exchange for that fee will leave you feeling like you made the right choice.
We are happy to talk through this decision with you. If you’re wondering whether you want to manage on your own or work with professionals, please contact us.
TCS Management is a full service property management company headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also serving Cherry Hill, NJ, Wilmington, Delaware, Nashville, Tennessee and the surrounding areas. We focus on single-family and multifamily residential property management of homes, condos, townhomes, and apartment buildings.