Self-Managing vs. Hiring a Professional New York Property Management Company - Article Banner

The rental market in New York City is unlike rental markets elsewhere. It’s fast-moving, it’s expensive, and it requires constant management of the marketing, leasing, and maintenance processes. Tenants have high expectations. Buildings have their own unique requirements. 

Self-managing a rental property can be done easily enough in some areas. In Manhattan and throughout New York, however, it’s a huge risk. 

You need to be intimately familiar with the market and the competing properties and the tenant trends. You need to know the state and federal rental laws as well as local requirements and condo rules. You need to have excellent relationships in place with reputable and affordable vendors who can respond quickly to maintenance emergencies. You also need to provide the services your tenants expect, including online rental payments. 

Unless you’re feeling like you have a lot of free time and a lot of expertise when it comes to managing rentals, professional New York property management is probably better for you and your investment than self-managing. 

We know that a lot of investors and landlords struggle with whether to manage their own properties or hire a professional to do it. The best answer for you really comes down to your own time, resources, and experience. 

Maybe you’re worried about management fees cutting into your earnings. That’s valid. But, you should consider that owners often earn more and spend less when they’re working with property managers, even when that management fee is factored in. This is possible because of expertise. Your property management expert will know how to reduce vacancy, accurately price your property, and save money on maintenance. 

With professional management, you also have support for your investment goals. 

DIY culture is strong in our society, and we understand that some owners simply have a strong desire to do everything themselves, even if it costs them a little more or takes more time. Everyone approaches their rental investments differently.

When it comes to your rental property, here’s how to know whether you should hire a professional or do it all yourself. 

Property Management Costs in New York 

Usually, owners are concerned about costs, and that puts them off of professional management right out of the gate. Yes, hiring a New York City property manager will cost you money. 

Remember that you spend money on professional services every day. You spend money when you have your car repaired or even washed. You spend money when you go to the dentist or when you decide to go out to dinner and have someone else cook and clean up for you. 

You can do a lot of things on your own to save a few dollars, but what’s your opportunity cost? 

Mistakes are easy to make when you’re renting out a property, and those mistakes are often expensive. You might think you’re saving money by managing on your own, but one fair housing mistake will cost you more than double what you would have paid to have a property manager help you avoid that mistake.

Your return on investment is likely to be higher when you think like an investor rather than a landlord. With someone professionally managing your property, you’re likely to earn more. 

Sure, you can find a tenant on your own, but can you do it as quickly as a property manager? Can you keep maintenance costs down with a preferred vendor list? Contractors who work with property managers give them volume discounts all the time. Self-managing landlords simply cannot maintain those relationships or access those savings. 

So, ask yourself what the trade-off might be. Think about what you’re getting for the cost of professional management. A good property manager will give you more value than what you’re paying. If you’re currently using a property manager and you’re not getting that value, you should probably shop around. 

Leasing Challenges for New York Landlords 

Leasing your property requires you to prepare the unit for rent, price it competitively to attract great tenants, and marketing. Your listing needs to stand out in a crowded market. Then, you need to be available to show the property. 

Once you have interested prospective tenants, you need an application and a consistent screening process. 

Then, you’ll need to negotiate and sign a lease agreement that’s legally enforceable in New York.

If you have the resources, knowledge, and tools to do all of this on your own, self-managing isn’t a bad idea. But, think about whether you can find a better tenant, execute a stronger lease, and enjoy a lower vacancy loss with the help of professionals. You probably can.  

Finding Tenants for Manhattan Rental Properties

Maybe you’ve heard stories about what those nightmare tenants can do. 

Professional property managers have a consistent, compliant, and rigorous screening process to ensure only highly qualified tenants are placed in your property. This makes a big difference in both what you earn and how you feel about your rental experience. 

You also have to be careful of the laws involved in screening tenants. Fair housing laws do not allow you to treat one application different from another. You’ll need a consistent, well-documented process and a set of written rental criteria that all of your applicants are measured against. 

Inadequate screening puts you at risk. If you’re worried about the tenants you’re placing, work with a management company

New York Rental Property Maintenance 

Maintenance can be a headache. You’ll have the occasional emergency. You’ll have routine repairs that tenants report. You’ll have preventative maintenance that protects the condition of your asset and keeps your costs down. 

Good maintenance and vendor resources make professional New York property management well worth the management fee. 

Keeping your units in good condition is important to the preservation of their value. Responsive maintenance also contributes to tenant retention. Property managers can keep a close eye on the needs of your property. We have systems in place to respond right away to emergency and routine repairs. 

We have relationships in place with vendors and contractors, and this will help you when you need a plumber in the middle of the night to respond to a leak or an HVAC technician who can keep your air conditioning running during the hot, humid New York summers. 

New York Property Management and Liability 

As with any investment, there are risks to renting out a property. Especially in New York. 

We’re not just talking about the risks that are inherent with tenants. 

There are legal risks, too. If you aren’t fluent in all fair housing laws, you could make an expensive mistake. Federal law establishes seven protected classes of people, and you cannot ask questions or make decisions based on those identifying factors. Do you know what they are? Do you know the difference between a pet and a service animal?  

You need to know the security deposit laws and you need sound accounting practices. You need to understand the rules and regulations of the condo association your rental units may be part of. The laws, regulations, and requirements are always changing. You have to keep up, otherwise you’ll make unintentional mistakes and put your property at risk.  

Professional New York property managers can minimize your risk. We have the experience, the systems, and the procedures to keep you, your tenants, and your property safe. 

There’s also the time commitment required of self-managing landlords. 

Would you rather spend your time on your career, building your investment portfolio, or taking care of your family? It can get tedious, chasing down rent and responding to maintenance requests over the weekend and late at night. 

It takes time to manage a rental property effectively. It takes resources and tools that aren’t always available. 

Save yourself time, money, and frustration. Partner with a great property management company in New York. You’ll have a better and more profitable experience. 

If you’re still struggling with the decision about whether to manage on your own or work with a team of professionals, take a look at how many properties you own and think about whether you’d like to invest in additional rental homes. Consider how much time you’re spending and whether you can keep up with maintenance. 

Are you a landlord or an investor? 

Contact Property ManagementPlease contact us at Krieger Property Management. We’re a full-service property management company in lower Manhattan serving SoHo, West Village, Greenwich Village, Tribeca, and Chelsea.