How many landlords handle property management themselves? | Think Realty | A Real Estate of Mind
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How many landlords handle property management themselves?

Kimberly Smith photo

This week we look and property management and trends among landlords, plus where most landlords get their leasing forms — you may be surprised — and how many actually show property to prospective tenants. This is all from our survey and excerpts from the “By Owner Corporate Housing Annual Report.”

From the survey, 72% of respondents say they do all their property management themselves, down from 80% in 2012 and 86% in 2011. Respondents also used property managers (11%) and friends and family (7%) to manage their properties.

71.7% of respondents say they do all their property management themselves, down from 80.2% in 2012 and 86.2% in 2011. Last year we hypothesized this trend was due to accidental landlords deciding they needed more professional support. This year we expect property owners will be more willing to invest in professional support as their profits rise.

In past years, respondents used the “other” category to tell us that their “condo associations” handle management of their property rentals, so we added “condo association” to the list of possible responses this year. However, only 1.7% selected this response. We will continue to watch this response in years to come.

Fewer respondents

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told us that “Friends and Family” handle management of their rental properties. This number has bounced up and down over the last few years. We believe the fluctuation in this answer is the result of variance, rather than a new trend.

This year there were no additional trends referenced in the “other” category.

Property Management Software

Consistent with last year, the majority of respondents (56%) say they do not use any form of property management software to manage their rental properties. 21% use basic spreadsheets, followed by 17% who use accounting software, such as QuickBooks™.

CHBO is frequently asked about tools that can help property owners manage their rental properties. With that in mind, we added a few questions to the 2012 survey to learn which tools property owners are currently using. We also want to be able to watch future trends.

The responses in 2013 were consistent with 2012 results. The majority of property owners (56.3%) do not use any type of property management software. 21% use basic spreadsheets, and 16.7% use accounting software, such as QuickBooks™.

Rental Documents

We asked respondents, where did you get your rental documents (such as leases)? The most (36%) say they found their documents on the Internet, followed closely by 35% who say they wrote their own documents. Only 13% say they paid an attorney to have their documents drafted.

Profitability in real estate has a lot to do with setting and meeting expectations with your renters and having the written documentation needed to confirm and support these transactions. Real estate laws and regulations are done on a state-by-state basis, and the rules apply differently if you are a real estate agent representing someone else or an individual managing your own property.

CHBO has tried to develop many useful documents that can be found on our website (available in the section called “MyCHBO”), but we have specifically stayed away from posting legal documents – such as leases – that vary on a state-by-state basis. In addition, laws are very different for vacation rentals that are offered for leases of less than 30 days vs. property rentals of 30 days or more.

Because we are frequently asked for lease documents, however, we thought it would be useful to learn how individual property owners handle this need.

Leasing Trends

Many property owners still rely on face-to-face meetings before leasing their properties. 53% say they meet potential renters before leasing their properties (up from 46% in 2012). In 2013, fewer respondents provided tours of their properties to potential renters. 75% of respondents say email is the primary way they communicate with potential renters.

In the traditional serviced corporate housing industry, 70% of all leasing is done without a renter ever touring a specific property. With that in mind, we wanted to learn how the “by owner” corporate housing segment compares.

This year, 52.7% of respondents say they meet their clients face to face before leasing their properties. (This response is up from 46.3% in 2012). Meanwhile, 34.8% say they provide tours to potential tenants prior to renting their properties.

Please leave any thoughts or comments for Kimberly below in the “leave a reply” area.


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