Why I Chose to Manage My Own Property

I’ve heard horror stories from some of my friends who had used property managers. I met with one property manager and it felt like I was going to have to pay insane amounts of money for something that I could easily do myself.

Since most people now are technology savvy, I figured I would walk around my house and take pictures of all the rooms and bathrooms, the outside, the patio and the surrounding area. Once I started the process, it became quite simple. I went to Zillow.com and created an account and began building my own advertisement. Zillow makes it very user friendly to create a great listing for your home. I uploaded my photos and provided a description about the house and included when it would be available. Once I published the listing from Zillow, I went to Craigslist and made an advertisement on there. Lastly, to advertise I posted the links to Facebook for my friends to share and view.

As in any advertisement, people will respond and try to scam you or they will not show up to the specific time for viewing. Those times can be frustrating, but patience is key. I was contacted by a family where the husband was in the military and the wife worked at a local school. I showed the family the property and they decided they wanted to move in. I had them fill out an application which I found online and ran my own background check on the family. Once they were approved, it became time for paperwork; it was simple, I googled a lease agreement in North Carolina and filled out the appropriate information. When I met with the family, I got the security deposit and first months’ rent then we went over the lease agreement and all parties signed.

I have USAA and simply opened a savings account and deposited the security deposit. That way it would not be touched and would sit there until the lease was over or the tenants were ready to move out. Before my tenants moved in, I made sure that the walls were painted and the place was professionally cleaned so they came to a clean, almost new house. I also let them paint the room for their kids in the color of their choice as long as it was back to the original color when they moved out.

I was fortunate enough to have dream tenants! I had moved to Louisiana, rent was always on time and I didn’t hear from them until the AC unit had died. I now live back in Virginia and my tenants had to move so I have a new tenant. My old tenants were so helpful, they showed the house for me since I could not make it down every weekend to show the property.

Managing my own property has saved me lots of money. I know I will take care of my own property and work proactively to get it rented as quickly as possible.

What I learned from this experience that can help you manage your own property:

  1. Make sure to actually run a background check. There are plenty of websites that offer these services. Taking peoples’ word that they are good may in the end not work out.
  2. When advertising, make sure to take lots of pictures and put as much information as possible about the property. Besides Zillow, craigslist, Facebook, there is militarybyowner.com (however there is a fee).
  3. Do pre and post inspections of the house and document any discrepancies. Make sure both the tenant and landlord have copies of all documents.

About the Author:

Sylvia Beck is an Army Veteran who manages her property in the Fort Bragg area.