Hiring a property management firm to rent out your duplex

I haven’t been as active on this blog lately, because I haven’t been as active of a property manager at my duplex. There are a few things that contributed to this step:

  • About a year and a half ago I started an exciting new chapter in my life, becoming a mom! As luck would have it, my downstairs tenant gave me notice that they were going to move out pretty much exactly on my due date, which was not going to be terribly convenient, to say the least. My husband could have fielded all of the calls and done the showings, but his day job is a lot less flexible than mine, so we were kind of in a bind
  • My husband owns another rental property, and is far less into the active management portion than I am (he has his rental property by “luck”, as he was unable to sell it during the end of the real estate bubble). He had already been working with a property management company for some time, and was reasonably happy with the results.
  • I had been getting tired of dealing with the inter-tenant issues that had been popping up since I’d moved out of the duplex anyway. My hope was that if my tenants were dealing with someone that they viewed as a “professional” property manager, they would be less likely to bug them about nit-picky he said/she said things and figure it out for themselves.
  • I own an unrelated business (that’s my “real job”), and things had been getting a lot busier, so I was looking for ways to simplify, streamline, and delegate.

tenants in a non owner-occupied duplex

I’ve now moved out of my previously owner-occupied duplex, and the duplex has been a “regular” (i.e. non owner-occupied duplex) now for a little over a year. For a while, the upstairs tenants stayed on; they had started living there while the owner (myself) was still downstairs, so it still had that sort of “owner-occupied” feeling, but now I have a whole new batch of tenants up and down, who are used to the owner being off-site the entire time. I was a bit concerned that things would be different with the owner not around, but thus far haven’t run into any issues…

Cosigners, a signed lease, and a successful turnover

Well, this last turnover turned out pretty well — possibly the best so far. I sent out one cosigner application (I really only needed one additional guarantor), and received a complete application from not one, but two parents of the couple moving in. (Maybe each father wanted to be on equal financial footing if things were to go awry?). I pulled credit reports on both guarantors, and they both checked out just fine. I scheduled a lease signing, got a check for the security deposit, and received signed and notarized cosigner agreements within a week. The couple really seemed genuinely excited about the duplex, and it seemed cute that it was their first place that they would have together.

Decisons, Decisions…

So, I got my first applicants after only a few showings. I love love love getting applications. It’s like a big scavenger hunt, calling references, checking credit, figuring out who these people are and what they’re like… That, and I’m one step closer to getting a lease signed, which means I can take the ad down and stop scheduling showings.

Sorry, I have a maximum of 3 people for that unit

I don’t know how many times I’ve said that in the past week. My unit is billed as both a 2+ and a small 3 bedroom, and totals about 1200 square feet including a large front porch. However, two of the bedrooms are quite small, and there is one common water heater for the whole duplex. That, and I live downstairs. I don’t really want a huge menagerie of people above me, for a multitude of reasons. So, I put a cap on the number of people I’ll accept. And I can’t believe how often I have to enforce it.

Showing the apartment

So far, I’ve had three showings — two groups of two girls, and a couple that’s moving in together. Both of the two-roommate showings were one roommate only, which is always a pain, because it means another showing if roommate #1 is interested. However, it’s looking like neither one of the two-roommate groups are going to bite. One emailed me thanking me for her time, and the other I haven’t heard back from. The couple seemed extremely interested, however, so they may come around.