Landlording A-Z

Should You Hire a Property Manager or Do It Yourself?  

Once you’ve identified a property to purchase, you then need to focus on the property management aspect. In this installment of Landlording A-Z, we’ll discuss the process of weighing whether you have the time, ability, and desire to manage your property yourself or if you should hire a property manager. 

In an earlier episode, we discussed the various tasks you’ll need to cover, and skills you may need to learn when self-managing, such as: 

  • Finding tenants 
  • Navigating laws and rules 
  • Managing maintenance 
  • Bookkeeping 

Here are some other things to consider whether you should hire a property manager: 

  • Geography: What is your proximity to the property? 
  • Size/scale of rental business: How many properties and units? 
  • Time constraints/commitments 
  • Lack of expertise/complexity: What skills do you have, or possibly lack? 
  • Focus on investment/other aspects of portfolio rather than operations 

How Much Does Hiring a Property Manager Cost?

Usually, property managers will charge percentage based, meaning they’ll take around 8–12% of total rent. Some of them will charge a fixed rate, flat fee, which is typically around hundreds of dollars per month. However, they also charge additional fees, such as placement, lease renewal, setup, vacancy fee, travel surcharges, maintenance coordination fees, eviction fees, and termination fees.

To see how much a property manager may cost for you, visit the property management fees calculator on our website.

internal link Also Read: How Much Does a Property Management Company Charge?

Pros of Hiring a Property Manager

  • A property manager can handle the marketing, screening, leasing, and maintenance of your rental property, saving you time and hassle. 
  • They can deal with tenant issues, complaints, and requests, ensuring a positive relationship and reducing the risk of conflicts and disputes. 
  • A property manager can collect rent, enforce lease terms, handle evictions and legal matters, protecting your income and your rights as a landlord. 
  • Property managers will keep your property in compliance with local, state, and federal laws and regulations, avoiding fines and penalties. 
  • A property manager can provide you with regular reports, financial statements, and tax documents, keeping you informed and organized. 

Cons of Hiring a Property Manager 

  • A property manager will charge you a fee for their services, typically a percentage of the monthly rent or a flat rate per unit. This can reduce your cash flow and profitability. 
  • He or she may not have the same level of care and attention to detail as you would have for your own property. They may make decisions that you disagree with or overlook issues that you would have noticed. 
  • A property manager may have conflicts of interest or loyalty with other clients or vendors. They may favor certain tenants or contractors over others, or sometimes even receive kickbacks or commissions for referrals. 
  • A property manager may have limited availability or responsiveness. They may be hard to reach or communicate with, or fail to address problems in a timely manner. 


We believe in self-managing and believe that this results in long-term benefits, increased profitability, and better alignment with your goals. However, we have identified these major pain points of self-managing: 

  • Finding renters : Lots of steps including advertising, responding to inquiries, showings, screenings 
  • Managing Maintenance : Making repairs, dealing with emergencies, finding/working with vendors, etc 
  • Evictions: Rare (hopefully) but time-consuming, many legal potholes, very costly 
  • Bookkeeping : You are operating a small business. All financial transactions need to be tracked and reported. Even if you are hiring an accountant to do your taxes, you still need to do a lot of prep in order to hand off to them.  

Hybrid Approach to Self-Managing

A hybrid approach can be done through services that combine software, centralized coordination, and local professionals. This allows landlords to choose which tasks they want to do themselves and outsource the rest. Here are some examples:

  • Hemlane is a free property management software product, with options for maintenance triage & coordination, as well as either self guided or in-person showings using a local real estate agent. 
  • RentalRiff provides local “property specialists” who will make or arrange for repairs, and is your boots on the ground when you need someone who can be at the property for one reason or another. 

The benefits of having a hybrid approach are that it’s cheaper and there is lots of flexibility, while still having as much control as you prefer.


In terms of property management, we think you can and should self-manage your rental properties. It improves profitability, while also giving you control of a significant investment. However, you should consider getting help with certain aspects that you can’t or don’t want to do. This may include hiring a handyperson, agent, or bookkeeper. We also firmly believe that you should use a property management software tool, as it makes every aspect of management easier, faster, and smoother. Our landlord toolkit provides reviews of all the leading products, so check it out to decide which is best for you. We also offer tons of additional advice and information on our website to help ease this process for you.

Landlording A-Z Series

Our Landlording A-Z series will walk you through each of the stages, tasks, and issues involved in rental real estate investing. In our next installment, we’ll discuss getting your new rental property ready to rent.

Spread the love

About Eli Secor

Eli Secor, Co-Founder, Landlord Gurus Eli purchased his first rental property at the age of 20, a fourplex in Gold Canyon, Arizona. He was lucky to have the advice of a shrewd real estate investing grandmother, as well as special incentives for first time buyers following the savings and loan meltdown in the late ‘80’s. In 2004 Eli and his wife purchased their first property together, a triplex in Portland, Oregon. The neighborhood was improving, light rail was coming in, and the property needed a significant rehab. They traveled back and forth from their then home in California, improving and managing the property. Eli did a full remodel on the biggest unit, living in the construction zone while doing so. The property has been cashflow positive since day one, and is now worth 3-4 times its original purchase price. Eli has been involved in residential construction since 2001, having remodeled several houses from top to bottom, rehabbed or improved rental units, and built his family’s primary residence. He leverages his knowledge of buildings to improve and maintain rental properties cost and time-effectively. Since 2007 Eli has been managing property in Seattle for family members, and now oversees 20 apartments and 3 commercial spaces. He has a great handyman, who helps make repairs, maintenance, and improvement smooth and easy. Otherwise Eli is a DIY landlord, and single contact for all of his tenants.When Eli isn’t managing rental property he is working on home projects, sailing, mountain biking, skiing, or spending time with friends and family. Once or twice a week Chris and Eli get together to run their dogs, Lola & Peanut. These meetings do double duty as Landlord Gurus planning sessions!Credentials: - BA in History from Whitman College - General Contractor (Ex) - USCG Licensed Captain (UOPV Six-Pack)
View all posts by Eli Secor →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *