Whether you’re an accidental or professional landlord, deciding how to manage your property is a crucial decision.
Do you have the time, enthusiasm and know-how to go down the DIY landlord route? Are you confident with the basics but need some professional support? Or would a full property management service tick all your boxes?
With the pace of legislative change in the property industry recently, it may have become a less straightforward decision than it once was.
Here we explore your options and answer the much-debated question: are property management companies worth it?
Understanding your property management choices
Your property is lying empty and you want income to start arriving fast. You have several options:
Go it alone as a DIY landlord.
Use a letting agent to find tenants and arrange the let.
Use a letting agent to find tenants, arrange the let and collect rent.
Use a letting agent to oversee the entire management of your property.
Pick and mix from a letting agent’s services depending on your needs.
There are pros and cons to each, and there’s no single best solution. What might suit a savvy, experienced landlord will be a time and energy drain on someone else.
Read on to discover why using landlord property management services could be the answer you’re looking for.
Being a DIY landlord
First off, let’s dig a little deeper into the reality of being a DIY landlord. On paper, it sounds appealing: you’re in control and you’ll save money.
If you have the time and expertise to find reliable tenants, deal with their enquiries, stay on top of all the paperwork, adhere to all necessary laws and regulations, and are happy to deal with repairs and maintenance, the hands-on approach will suit you well.
For many of those who consider themselves professional landlords, it’s an arrangement which works well, especially when they live close to their buy-to-let property.
But don’t underestimate the hours you need to put in. Keeping up with the UK’s every-changing property legislation is a major job in itself.
Before committing to the DIY route, ask yourself these questions:
Do you have the time, alongside your existing professional and personal commitments, to efficiently manage a property and deal with unexpected issues?
Are you confident understanding often complex legislation and committed to keeping up to date when it changes?
Are you happy to build a working relationship with your tenant to increase the chances of them staying long-term? And do you have the patience to deal with disgruntled tenants when problems arise?
Are you a good judge of character? Finding reliable tenants, even with the right checks in place, isn’t as easy as you might think.
Do you feel comfortable doing the necessary admin involved? Your paperwork, including everything to do with finance, insurance and maintenance, needs to be kept in order to meet your legal obligations.
Can you manage some maintenance and repairs yourself or will using tradesmen eat into your profits?
Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? You’ll be running a business, no matter how small, and need to be commercially minded to make it a success.
If you can tick these boxes and your property portfolio is your main source of income, enjoy your DIY journey and reap the rewards.
For those who’d prefer professional advice and support, we’ll now explore how landlord property management services can reduce admin, decrease stress and free up precious time.
Opting for a letting agent
When deciding how to manage your portfolio, property management services will be ideal for you if:
don’t have enough spare time to commit to the job
want to limit the possibility of stress
are a new landlord and need professional help
would prefer not to deal with tenant queries and problems
don’t have good awareness of relevant regulations and legislation
are letting out a property far away from where you live
don’t feel confident managing the many aspects of the letting process profitably
From there, you need to decide how much you want your letting agent to do. They can be as hands-on or hands-off as you want.
Some agents offer a simple tenant-find only package through which they’ll market the property, show potential tenants around and draw up a tenancy agreement.
Others offer a range of support options depending on your specific needs and circumstances.
For example, from as little as £15 per month, MakeUrMove’s Good Landlord packages include online advertising, online viewing bookings, tenant reference checks, AST builder, digital signatures, rent collection and a long list of extras to choose from.
Or you can opt for a fully managed package, starting at £65 per month, which includes a full range of property management services .
Why choose full property management?
In a nutshell, opting for a full property management package saves time and reduces stress. Highly valued benefits for anyone with a busy, commitment-packed life.
Packages vary but a comprehensive one could include:
tenant reference checks
tenancy set-up & ongoing administration
deposit collection & lodging
property licence checks
tenancy renewals & negotiations
monthly income statements
compliance and safety updates
managing safety certificates and inspections
reactive maintenance management
planned maintenance and improvements
agency support helpline
document storage and sharing
Additional services may be included or could be available as add-ons, these would normally be:
annual gas safety certificate
electrical installation condition report (EICR)
energy performance certificate (EPC)
smoke alarm installations
legal eviction cover
central heating breakdown cover
home emergency cover for plumbing and electrics
Choosing this option is a hands-off way to run your buy-to-let portfolio, whether you have one property or 100. Your letting agent will simply handle everything for you, keeping you up-to-date and involved without the day-to-day admin and potential hassle.
This not only saves time and effort, it also provides peace of mind that your investment is in the hands of experts who know how to find the right tenants, how to collect rent efficiently, how to meet all legal obligations and how important it is to stay informed of any legislative changes.
Handing over the management of your property doesn’t absolve you of responsibility – you’ll still have some work to do – but it does relieve you of numerous aspects of the process. Instead, you can focus on your job and family, safe in the knowledge your property investment is in knowledgeable and experienced hands.
How much does full property management cost?
Naturally, like any professional service, using a letting agent to fully manage your property costs money.
Expect to pay between 10-15% of the monthly rent collected. Yes, this will dent your profits but keep in mind that the fee is tax deductible. So you can knock off 20% to 40% of your fee depending on your tax bracket which makes this option even more tempting.
And when you consider all the benefits, it’s a small price to pay for an expert service which provides ultimate peace of mind.
Learn more about MakeUrMove’s fully managed property packages.