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DIY landlord: your guide to managing your rental

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Your Investment Property | 19 Apr 2010, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Rob Farmer outlines the upsides and downsides of managing your own property as well as insider tips on how to make it work...
  • Glen Wintle | 04 Dec 2012, 12:30 PM Agree 0
    Thanks for the advice, I am taking over the management of my property in January 2013 and was considering doing a Real Estate Course of some type.
    • Kathy Matiu | 18 Aug 2015, 12:17 AM Agree 0
      Hi Glen,
      I am new too this as well, was just reading all these reviews....Did you end up doing the short course? Are you managing your own property?
      Am considering doing the same

      Brand New at Investoring
  • Newlyn | 04 Dec 2013, 11:06 AM Agree 0
    I agree having a property manager manage your rentals can be time saver, but as a DIY landlord myself, if there aren't any real problems to fix around the rentals, you can potentially save yourself 5-10% in management fees.
  • Freda | 30 Oct 2014, 08:30 PM Agree 0
    I have had repeated bad experiences with property managers...just not getting around to doing things. waste of money as I ended up doing everything anyway. Like there access to prospective tenants not much else....
    • Ming | 06 Dec 2015, 12:28 PM Agree 0
      Absolutely agree with you. I've had the same experiences with my agent.
  • Christian | 31 Oct 2014, 12:03 AM Agree 0
    Nice read, very important guide for those renting places to stay like me. I am hoping to earn more and get my own house.
  • Michael Gilbert | 05 Dec 2014, 04:21 PM Agree 0
    Thanks for the read. Thought I'd mention a couple of things I disagree with to help give another view. (4) I'm not big on showing every photo I possibly can on an ad. The ad is to get people in the door and want to inspect the property. (not to sell them the property). (10) I disagree that an agent could ask more rent than a DIY landlord.
    Interested in to know what you mean by google maps search engine for properties?
  • Garry | 25 May 2015, 09:23 PM Agree 1
    i have had numerous property managers over the years , i have not found a good one yet, i v e ended up doing most of the work myself anyway as most of them are lazy and just want to collect a management fee from you and doing little work, i spend most of my time chasing my current property manager for the rent payment and they don t arrange repairs in a timely manner so i have to do it myself to keep the tenant happy, i ve even had one property manager release the full bond to a tenant even though rent was unpaid on tenants leaving and my property was left terrible. i am considering managing my properties myself, i think i can do a better job of it
    • Ian | 26 May 2015, 04:11 PM Agree 1
      We've used property managers over the years. They all start off by promising you the world and telling us that we were 'micro managing' our properties with the previous manager and that they would be a lot better than that.
      Truth is most of them don't have the same level of interest in your property as you, the owner, has. The manager's plan is to build up as many properties as possible so that eventually they can sell off either the business, or the rent roll. You, as a property owner are really just a number that helps the agent achieve their goal.
    • Johanes | 15 Jul 2016, 11:59 PM Agree 0
      Hi Garry,

      Support you for doing DIY landlord. I have two and all self managed. Well done
  • xjki | 20 Jun 2015, 06:28 PM Agree 1
    In my opinion there are almost no benefits for using property managers if you live close to the property (properties) you are renting out. 10% of the yearly rental income is quite a money and you should really consider if you are ready to give it away for the work it takes to keep your property filled with good tenant (that's where property managers sometimes can help) and in good shape (not always property managers will help you with this).

    As for managing day-to-day routines, keeping track on income and expenses, etc. - now when we have smartphones and tablets it's not a big issue. For example, I manage all income/expenses for my 3 rental apartments with a $8.99 iPhone app ( if you are interested), using Reminders and Calendar apps for scheduling inspections and recurrent tasks. Never had problem with finding good tenants as my apartments are well maintained (because I treat them as mine) and in good location, usually tenants come by recommendations from people I know and it worked almost all the time (when it didn't work I was able to see and fix it early on because I visit my properties/tenants myself instead of relaying on someones else opinion).

    When you have tens or hundreds of properties to rent or you are hundreds miles away from your property or you just hate managing your own property (but then why to become landlord at all?) then it makes sense to hire 1) someone you can trust 2) someone who are interested in long relationship 3) someone who has resources and skills. Now you need property manager that fits 1) 2) 3).
  • Nina | 12 Jul 2015, 11:48 AM Agree 0
    I have used 2 property management companies in the past and I spent so much time managing the property manager I could've managed the property myself. Plus the care factor is not the same if it's your own property. I am now managing one of our own properties (brand new when we handed it over to the property manager once the lease on the other expires, I am seriously considering doing it myself. I say if you have the time and ability to manage it yourself, it's going to save you a lot of headaches. Just make sure you know the legislation in your state so you don't get caught out.
  • Haydn | 06 Nov 2015, 01:22 PM Agree 0
    It is hilarious that you compare a property manager with an accountant! All you require is an accredited short course qualification to be a property manager.
    These so called, "professionals" could just as easily be working at McDonalds or Woolworths and have no concept of legal obligations outside of hearsay from the veteran property managers within their office.

    The cost is not reasonable but a function of how much property managers are paid, the profit margin, cost of insurances and overheads and local commercial competition between agencies.

    Apart from the low bar defining who can be a property manager, there are some excellent ones out there and there are many who are terrible.

    If it is something you would like to do for yourself, know that the accredited short course is not just a crash course in basics but will give you as much minimum qualification as a property manager.
  • Jade | 28 Dec 2015, 10:58 AM Agree 0
    I've been managing my investment properties for years. It's a great lesson in people management and business especially for a kid straight out of school. I am lucky my parents pushed me towards renting out my rooms while living near the university while I studied as it was a great intro into private property management. I've always kept up with changing legislations and improved my agreements. I think the biggest lesson was to learn who are the best tenants from asking the right questions and from gut feel and to learn to give my tenants their privacy and detach emotionally. I look at it as a business now - with clear transparent communication and expectations. Processes for termination to manage risk but haven't had to use that yet touch wood!! Regular 3 monthly inspections and yearly maintenance spring cleans ready for new tenants in the new year. What's really sad is I did a cert IV in property services and am now more qualified as most agents. Most only have cert of registration which is a week rather than the year long Tafe course. Good luck all you diy property managers out there!
  • Tim | 01 Jan 2016, 08:52 PM Agree 0
    I found to be a great website, gives an online platform for private landlords to advertise their rental properties
  • nickg198 | 25 Feb 2016, 11:27 PM Agree 0
    We believe that Management Rights in NSW has to grow and prosper like its Queensland counterpart. So we need EVERY one of our NSW operators to be enormously successful.they need to be a shining light in the management of their particular building.and a beacon of excellence for NSW Strata Governance.
  • Maggie | 22 Jun 2016, 05:03 PM Agree 0
    My experience with property managers over the years has not been positive. I found dealing with them is frustrating and counter-productive. I feel like they are a bottleneck because they withheld information and only told me what they wanted to tell me. I was paying someone to disadvantage myself. Managing the property manager becomes a full-time job.
  • Robert | 02 Jan 2017, 06:56 PM Agree 0
    Great reading! it inspires me to save my 7% going to property managers, kindly let me all where do i start from and what it entails. Please list out what is required to move over from a property manager to self manage. Thankyou
  • EmmaJ | 20 Feb 2017, 09:53 PM Agree 0
    Well, people always try to save as much money as they can when renting. Every new apartment or house require a lot of expenses from moving to furnishing a home. I was amazed by the prices of apartment rents when I was searching a new home. It is always better to do a little research and be prepared for all the things that you can forget or do not think of. Finding these types of information is easy but it is helpful. I was reading about apartment rents and found so many great things but in the end, you just need to find something that is most suitable for you and your family.
  • Henry | 05 Jun 2017, 11:33 PM Agree 0
    Wow so many negative comments and experiences with property managers! Kudos to those DIY property managers and shame on those who caused those bad experiences.

    Personally, we absolutely love our property manager. My wife and I have no time or interest is managing this side of our investment property. In truth, I would enjoy it if I had the time, but for our sanity and peace of mind, we have been more than happy to outsource this.

    However, I think we must have been lucky with our property manager, we literally went with the same agent that we bought the house through at auction from the previous sellers. Their fees were on par with others in the area, but everything from the get go has been a breeze. They've saved us money on a number of occasions by through their preferred supplier and trader network, all the inspections and paperwork are professionally supplied on time, as of course is the rent.

    The tenants they shortlisted and recommended were fantastic and haven't had any issues, fingers crossed.

    I like the idea of saving the additional expense, but personally when I factor in the amount of time it saves me, I find our property manager to be excellent value for money.
    • Mohamed | 03 Jul 2018, 08:54 PM Agree 0
      True that you save the time, but saving 11% in fees plus claiming appropriate amount of stationary and fuel to manage your property is also to be looked at (for instance $3000 yearly in your pocket is significant)
  • Lanie | 20 Aug 2018, 08:36 PM Agree 0
    Thank you for this comprehensive article, Nila!

    Managing your very own real estate can be very demanding, especially if you have no prior knowledge about how things run around. I love how you pointed out the owner-client approach especially when it comes to dealing with property problems such as damages, rent, and more.

    Aside from your article, which is a good resource, I also have here several real estate checklists that your readers might want to look at. It's got tenant screening, manager screening and onboarding, and some really useful checklist that I know can make real estate business more efficient.
  • Marianne | 15 Oct 2018, 05:03 PM Agree 0
    I have just taken over management of my property as I have long term tenants who always pay their rent on time. Please can you tell me if this affects the insurance. Thanks
  • Brooke - | 04 Feb 2019, 07:49 AM Agree 0
    Great Read! And insight
    Most of what you stated is very true. As an ex property manager and Business development Manager who has transitioned into a sales role in realestate I can relate to
    Many of the concerns from property owners. There are great property managers that will assist you, sometimes
    It’s not about the fees and charges but finding someone who you trust and who works well with you personally. Everyone is different and you just need to find a good match.

    Self managing is great with those long term tenants paying rent every week.... until circumstances change or you get into trouble with new Tenants, this is where I have seen some terrible
    Experiences. Tenants know the legislation and their rights, more than you think and they will have no problems using that to their advantage regardless of how accomodating you have been as a landlord. Know when to Reappoint a professional to assist you.

    Good luck 😊
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