Hello, Real Estate Investors in Hamilton, Ontario! I get questions from folks on social media from time to time… the most recent, about hiring a property manager, which we’ll get into shortly. I don’t mind them; I feel this is one way to give back to the community that means so much to me, and has led to Cherry and I building a seven-figure real estate business and eight-figure real estate portfolio.
My real estate business, iWIN Real Estate, transacts on 100 properties per year, 90% of them are for investment purposes. If you know us, we’re very close with our clients since we provide coaching services to ensure their success.
Investing-wise, I’ve had personal interests in over 40 properties since 2005, so while I don’t know everything, I know a little enough to be dangerous and happy to share my experiences if that helps.
This week we have Duncan, who asks:
“When in your real estate journey did you decide to engage a property manager to be able to focus on other aspects of the business and investing?”
When To Hire A Property Manager
In 2005, the early days of my investing, we self-managed, and my ex-wife was the point person. She and her family owned a plumbing and renovation company and five investment properties, all very close by the reno company in a suburb of Hamilton. So, property management was in-house.
As I worked downtown Toronto, analytical by nature and enjoyed geeking out on the business of real estate, I would do all the virtual stuff: financially analyzing properties, writing rent ads (I got pretty good at it as I used those same skills to write my online dating profile that got Cherry’s attention), review credit checks.
After the divorce and my great reset of the real estate portfolio, I immediately hired help to maintain our properties and boots on the ground. My handyman contractor became my property manager of sorts, who we paid a monthly retainer to maintain the property and provide customer service to the tenants. Cherry and I will still run ads, screen tenants, deal with rent collection issues.
My clients who have the time and skill do self-manage, but they are a minority among our clients. Maybe 10%.
The rest use full-service property management and not just any; they work with the best in the cities for which we operate.
Before anyone asks, our Niagara and Hamilton property managers operate on referral only as they prefer our investor clients. Folks who invest the right way, not slumlords.
It’s not easy working with property managers either. A couple of them closed their doors only recently all over Ontario. One in Barrie, Adam Kitchener, one in KWC.
CLICK HERE listen to my interview with Adam on why he’s quitting project management, but not real estate investing. I’ve personally hired and fired 4-5 property managers over my career.
Duncan is also worried about cost overruns.
As a professional real estate investor and ex to a renovation company owner, I know my renos quite well. A good property manager will save you time and money. Mine have internal staff for handyman stuff, so turnaround time is fast and often cheaper as we don’t need a licensed professional, e.g. a plumber for a leaky sink.
To save us all time, I’ve instructed my PMs if the cost is under $300 and makes the tenant happy to go ahead. This saves me from having to approve pest control, gas leak, broken door locks service requests. I tell my PM in no world can I say no to these requests, and if I did, I would expect to be fired as a client.
On a Monday morning, we received a text from my handyman stating, “there was a mice problem at X property and gas leak at Y property on the weekend, but I took care of them.”
Providing basic services to one’s tenants does take time and money, but my weekends are packed with kids’ stuff, so I don’t have time to deal with low-paying tasks I don’t have skills for.
I hope that helps Duncan, and a couple of you out there.
If you enjoyed this episode, kindly leave me a review stating so, and I’ll keep doing these episodes between our regular weekly interviews!
Happy Hamilton Investing Everyone!
Till next time. Hard Assets FTW!
PS. Our Real Estate Meetupis this Saturday, March 26th, and tickers are selling out fast. Don’t miss out; grab a ticket and come network with like-minded folks in person!
PPS. If you’d like to receive details of upcoming events so you don’t miss a thing, join my email list by filling out the form below.