Being a landlord in Nigeria can be a difficult job, especially if you have decided to put up your property for rent.
Aside from having to sift through potential tenants, promote and manage your property, you also have to ensure that you can maximize your return on investment without breaking the law or allowing your properties to fall into disrepair.
This can prove to be a very daunting job if being a landlord is what you’ve decided to do full-time, let alone if have a regular daily job you have to be at.
As a result, hiring a property manager will be one of the biggest decisions you will have to make regarding your property (use).
If you want to not just maintain but optimize the value of your property, you will need to consider hiring a ‘property manager’.
I have an elderly friend who once owned a 4 bedroom apartment in Ilupeju, Lagos. A nicely built house in a gated estate with excellent features. The kind of house most Nigerians dream of owning.
He lived there for almost 6 years, before, fortunately for him, he was transferred to Netherlands by his employers to work in their branch there. His small family were all factored in by the company and arrangements were made for them to join him a month later.
So without putting too much thought to it, he handed over and tasked his immediate younger brother with the care of the property. He didn’t know he was in for the shock of his life.
To be quite fair, his brother did the best he could, but because he didn’t have the knowledge of how to manage a property and wasn’t able to handle the excesses of the tenants who lived there over time, the property soon fell into a state.
To cut the long story short, his house that had looked so beautiful just few years before, had suddenly just become a shadow of itself when he decided to come on a short visit to Nigeria.
What he saw was disheartening to say the least. The windows were all broken, the gate was almost fallen off its hinges, doors were creaking all over the house, every inch of the property wall (both interior and exterior) that had previously been nicely coated with paint was covered with huge stains, green shrubs and dirty markings.
The weed that had grown all over the property as well as the stench that oozed as soon as he stepped in through the door was palpable. The whole property had an unkempt feel to it.
Believe me, there is no worse feeling than seeing the property you paid through your nose for just fall into a state of mass disrepair that could easily have been avoided.
The heartache was so much that at some point during his visit, he decided to just sell off the property before returning to his base abroad.
I repeat, all this could have been easily avoided by enlisting the services of a good property manager.
In a bid to make this very clear, I will be highlighting the major roles a property manager plays and how it can be of immense benefit to you.
If you’re a landlord, or are considering investing in a rental property here are great reasons why you need a property manager:
No More Wake-Up Calls
If there’s a sudden problem at the property, it naturally falls on you as the landlord, to fix it. With a property manager, you’ll be able to say goodbye to late-night emergencies. When a problem arises, the property manager will get the call and respond accordingly.
Improved Tenant Sourcing and Screening Process
Property managers have access to a wealth of resources that enable them to find new tenants faster, helping you to keep those vacancy rates down. Not only that, but they’re also able to thoroughly screen tenants. They know what to look for, what questions to ask and how to identify a would-be troublesome tenant through observable behavioral traits.
Regular Maintenance and Repair Help
With a property manager, you don’t have to be the on-call maintenance person anymore. Your property manager will perform routine maintenance for you, preventing small issues from getting out of control. When repairs are in order, the property manager will show up on-site at the first sign of trouble.
Also since they deal with this type of thing all the time, they’ll have a database full of vendors and contractors who do reputable work at fair prices. That way, you’re able to make more money by minimizing costs.
Avoid Messy Legal Problems
Keeping up with landlord-tenant law can be tedious and quite costly if you’re not up to speed. New regulations are constantly coming into effect, and staying out of trouble depends upon your compliance with these laws. A professional property manager should be experienced with landlord-tenant law and able to navigate the various complexities to make sure you stay on the right side of it.
Make You More Money
With a property manager on your team, you have a better shot at making more money, because of their unique market knowledge and ability to sniff out threats/opportunities.
Refine Your Image With Your Tenants
As landlord, it’s your job to enforce the terms of the lease. Unfortunately though, this is easier said than done. When a tenant starts misbehaving or mismanaging the property, there is a tendency for things to get ugly.
With a property manager, you don’t have to show up and try to reason with the tenant who’s arguing the merits of converting the property front into a mini-store all of a sudden. Instead, let your property manager handle it.
Watch The Property With an Eagle Eye
Whether you’re a long-distance landlord or just down the street, keeping a close watch on your property is important. Having a property manager means that your home will be checked routinely. This is especially important during vacancies, as empty properties are prime targets for burglars. A property manager will be able to keep the property well-maintained, giving it a lived-in, occupied appearance.
Deal With Late Rent Payment & Defaulters
As a property owner, you depend on the rent arriving each time on time. When this doesn’t happen, there’s often a tremendous amount of time and effort involved with tracking down the rent.
Your property manager will be your no-nonsense rent collector and will take immediate action if the rent is late. They’ll document all steps taken and remain in compliance with the law.
Make Enough Money To Enable You Invest In Another Property
Finally, property managers make life easier — so much easier, in fact that you may be tempted to get yourself a few more rental properties in other areas.
With a property manager, you’ll even be able to invest in properties that are out of town; since you won’t be managing them yourself, it won’t matter where you invest.
Hiring someone to manage your investment is a big decision, so you need to do it right. Here are three tips to help you find the best fit for your property.
Get Referrals From Different Sources
The first tip for finding a property manager is through word of mouth. By talking to real estate agents and other property owners in your area you may be able to find some great options.
Do an Online Search for Property Managers
The next tip is to do your own research. You can also do an online search for property management companies. This will allow you to learn more about the company and see additional reviews.
Check Out Their Current Work
Look at some of the properties they have managed in the past. Are they professional, compelling and free of discriminatory statements? Are the properties clean and well cared for? If possible, speak to the landlord and tenants in those properties.
How long does it take for a repair or maintenance issue to be fixed? Does he respond to issues in timely manner?
By now, it will have become obvious that owning a property can be a great investment. But, as you can also see, having the right property manager can make your life so much easier.