Choosing the right property
Finding The Right Investment
Finding The Right Investment, Choosing the right property is the first decision you make as a new landlord. Determining the best way to manage the property should be the second. A caretaker might be the way to go, especially if you can’t or don’t want to be on call 24/7 to maintain your investment.
At its most basic, the caretaker’s job involves routine maintenance such as keeping up the yard and doing minor household repairs. The caretaker may also inspect the property now and then to make sure the tenant takes good care of it. A caretaker works for the landlord and may serve as a liaison between the landlord and the tenant. A multifamily home might have a live-in caretaker who works in exchange for free or discounted rent plus a stipend. Otherwise, you’ll pay your caretaker an hourly wage or a yearly salary.
A landlord who needs a higher level of service might consider hiring a property manager. Property managers’ duties range from leasing to maintenance to collecting rent. Your manager may perform maintenance herself or hire outside vendors to do the work. Property managers are often licensed real estate agents who collect a commission for leasing a property and a monthly fee for managing it. A property manager can work onsite or from a nearby office.
Which to Hire
A caretaker may be all a hands-on landlord needs, particularly when the landlord owns just one rental property. If, however, you’d rather someone else take on the administrative duties and face-to-face contact with tenants, consider hiring a property manager instead. You’re best off with a property manager if you expect to own more than one rental property or if you buy a multifamily house but can’t devote yourself full-time to landlord activities.
Hiring a Caretaker
At the very least, your caretaker must be a responsible, reliable individual who can do routine maintenance indoors and out. If the caretaker will also lease the property and collect rent for you, she should have prior real estate experience with similar responsibilities, especially if she’ll work with little or no day-to-day supervision. Good connections with local repair technicians are major plus for caretakers of multiple, or multifamily, properties. Sooner or later, you’re going to need an emergency repair late at night or on a weekend or holiday — times when it’s tough to find a stranger to come out.