Property management companies manage the rental of residential homes, apartments, condos, commercial spaces and retail spaces. Property managers can oversee just a single unit or many properties, whether those sites are inhabited full-time or are vacation rentals. A property management company helps a property owner or landlord find tenants; collects rent; takes care of accounting, property maintenance and repairs; handles on-site management; and manages vacation rental check-in and checkout tasks. Although many property owners or landlords successfully manage their own rental real estate, a property management company can help you handle tenant issues and maintenance problems, especially if you are not located in the same city or state. Most property management companies deal with tenants directly, and their tasks include:
- Marketing the rental property
- Collecting rent
- Handling repair problems
- Responding to tenant complaints
- Evicting tenants
A property management company may be a good choice for property owners who have several investment properties, live far away from the rental property, or don’t have time for hands-on management.
A home inspection is a visual inspection performed by a trained professional to determine the condition of a home’s main elements. The inspection usually takes several hours, during which the professional takes multiple photos and notes, tracking information for a final report. After the inspection, the pro will create a printed report, complete with photos and detailed information, summarizing the condition of the house. A home inspection is often used by potential home buyers prior to purchase to determine if there are larger issues (such as dry rot or a faulty foundation) that are not immediately visible to the untrained eye but that would cost a lot of money to resolve. Home inspections are also used by real estate agents and home sellers to address any concerns before putting a home on the market. Longtime homeowners can also schedule a home inspection to get a snapshot of their current home condition and identify any issues that need to be addressed. A home inspection is not a legal document that can be used for divorce or estate settlements, nor can it be used to secure loans or mortgages.
A home inspection should tell you the true condition of a home. A competent home inspector closely inspects your home’s structure and foundation, looks for termites and signs of problems like mold, checks the wiring to ensure it’s in good condition, and investigates the HVAC system, among other items. To find a good home inspector, first research whether home inspection is licensed in your area; not all states require licensure.
If there is no regulatory body that licenses home inspection in your state, there are other ways to make sure you are hiring a trustworthy professional. Carefully look into the person’s reviews and ask for references. Ask if they are committed to continuing education, and whether they are active members in any reputable home inspector organizations. Some organizations that recognize and/or certify home inspectors are the American Society of Home Inspectors, National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, and American Home Inspectors Training. Don’t be shy about asking to see credentials and licensing.
A complete home inspection involves a visual investigation of all major elements that make up your home. A home inspection is a vital part of buying or selling a home to ensure you’re not accidentally buying a termite-infested home or one with major structural defects. Paying for an inspection before purchasing a home can save you a lot of money in the long run. The national average home inspection cost is $310, with prices ranging higher or lower based on your location and the square footage of your home. After performing a walk-through inspection, the pro should provide you a printed report — complete with photos and recommendations — detailing what’s in good condition, what would benefit from minor repairs, and what needs immediate attention. Home inspection pros know how to spot trouble areas, but they’re not licensed contractors, electricians or plumbers, so they may suggest you hire a licensed pro to address specific problems. Here are the main components that a home inspection covers:
- Home structure
- Foundation, grading and drainage, roof covering, roof structure, interior and exterior attic walls, ceilings and floors, interior and exterior doors, windows, stairways, fireplace and chimney, porches, balconies, decks, attached carports, and crawl space.
- HVAC system, heating equipment, cooling equipment, ductwork and vents, fixtures and switches, branch circuits, receptacles, service entrance and panels.
- Water heater and equipment, drains, waste systems, vents, and plumbing fixtures.
- Garage door openers, garbage disposal, dishwasher, exhaust range, range hood, bathroom exhaust fans, cooktop, oven and microwave.
A property management company can be a landlord’s greatest asset. As a neutral third party, the property manager handles the day-to-day operations of a real estate investment, from a single vacation home to a large apartment building or several rental properties. A property management company can be especially helpful to landlords who own several units and can’t manage each of them individually, or those who live too far from their investment properties to meet with renters and oversee maintenance. Property management is particularly important if your rentals are part of an affordable housing program. To receive financial assistance from the government, the landlord must comply with a complicated set of rules; property management companies should have both experience and expertise in complying with the rules specific to each housing program.