Should You Choose Gulf Coast Property Management?
Many people choose Florida's gulf coast as the place to build their real estate investment portfolio. It's a fact that Florida, especially the gulf coast of Florida, continues to see a huge inbound migration of residents—which, of course, translates into a robust housing market. Many see the continuing population growth and strong rental demand as a good reason to choose Gulf Coast properties when looking for real estate investments.
Some rental property owners find great value in hiring a professional property management company to handle the leasing and day-to-day activities associated with running their Gulf Coast real estate investment portfolio. Others prefer to go it alone as do-it-yourself landlords. There is no absolute right or wrong: each case depends on the owner's situation and desire to be either a passive or active real estate investor.
Whether or not you choose Gulf Coast property management or the DIY route, it's a personal choice that only you can make.
How to Choose Gulf Coast Property Management
Before you choose a Gulf Coast property management firm to oversee your gulf coast portfolio of Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, or Bradenton rentals, there are several things to consider:
It's important to know what others say about the Gulf Coast property management companies you're considering. Nobody is going to tell you that they do mediocre work. Every Gulf Coast property management company you talk to is going to tell you how great they are! It's vitally important that you check out both google reviews and Better Business Bureau ratings before signing up with any Gulf Coast property management company.
You want to be sure that other people have found the company to be honest and reliable. Because it's tough to get an accurate read on a property manager that only has a handful of reviews, look for a property management firm with at least 30 reviews, and preferably more than 40 reviews. On google, you want to see 4.2 "stars" or more, out of 5. Look for a Better Business Bureau rating of A+.
Choose a Dedicated Gulf Coast Property Management Firm
There are a lot of "part-time" property managers out there—something you should be wary of. Considering your Gulf Coast rental portfolio is likely worth hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of dollars, it's probably wise to choose a full-time, professional, Gulf Coast property management company. Compare that to a generic real estate brokerage outfit or lone real estate agent who's trying to make extra cash on the side to supplement their sales income.
Professional property managers recognize the complexities of the business and the potential liabilities to avoid in order to ensure a dependable and profitable rental return. Between federal, state, and local laws and regulations, there are countless legal landmines and traps that the part-timers aren't equipped to handle, which may leave you holding the bag for their mistakes.
A professional Gulf Coast property management company has the resources to invest in the right training, communication, reporting, and compliance tools that part-time properties managers are unaware of and cannot afford. Be smart and only go with a professional.
Mom-And-Pop Shop—or Larger Company?
Some people think that going with the proverbial "mom-and-pop" shop somehow leads to better service; in my 30 years experience in the business, I find that such is rarely the case.
If you think about it, what you get when you hire "mom-and-pop" is a guy with a cellphone. While that might sound good to you on the surface, peel back the onion, and you're hit with reality: what you're getting is a jack-of-all-trades, but master-of-none. Nobody is good at everything—and few people can successfully juggle the myriad complexities of property management well on their own. It can be done, but only up to a dozen or so properties before things start falling apart.
Better to hire a professional firm that provides:
- Dedicated maintenance coordinators, on-call 24 hrs/365 days a year, ensuring tenants have emergency access—and your property is well protected.
- Regular walk-through inspections with video, so you can visually see the condition of your property and know that it's being cared for.
- Monthly accounting statements and end of year Form 1099 preparation (Form 1099 is an IRS mandated form).
- Online tenant payment portals to ensure timely rent collection and disbursement.
While these are just a few of the benefits of going with a larger firm, the point is that it takes resources to run a property management firm correctly, resources that small mom-and-pop shops simply can't afford—which leaves you stuck with "a guy and his cellphone." Not the most ideal situation for you and your properties.
The decision of whether or not to choose Gulf Coast property management to oversee your Sarasota, Bradenton, and Lakewood Ranch rentals is a personal decision that only you can make. However, if you do decide to choose Gulf Coast property management, be sure only to select a highly-rated, full-time professional to oversee your Gulf Coast real estate investment portfolio.
About the Author
John Michailidis, JD, is the Broker/Managing-Member of Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee, a Sarasota, FL based residential property management company. Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee provides both Full-Service and Lease-Only services to Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, and North Port area landlords. If you own residential investment real estate anywhere in Manatee or Sarasota counties, do feel free to reach out to our team at 941-216-0005, or through our website.