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time required to be a landlord

My partner and I are starting the process of buying a multi-family unit with the intention of renting out two of the units but are unsure as to whether we should hire a property manager or do the "landlord-ing" ourselves. To those of you managing your properties directly, how much given time in a month do you spend taking care of your property or dealing with tenants?   thanks!  -emir

I have four properties all in good shape.  I spend about 1-4 hours a month on average.  Except when I turn over the property for a new tenant then that can be 10-60 hours of course I do most of the work myself painting, repairs, etc.
I will agree with the above response. Having your units in great shape to begin with is a real plus. We also are equipped to do all maintenance and repairs.
The hardest part is screening and finding GOOD TENANTS.  If you have good tenants being a landlord is fairly easy.  But be warned it seems like renters have more rights than the landlord does and that will vary from state to state.  I own a duplex, living upstairs and renting out the lower unit.  So I can keep a fairly close eye on things and it does help make the mortgage payment.  Have a good screening policy and a good lease agreement.  Document everything!  I agree with Scott, about 1-4 hours per month and 10-60 hours per month when you are looking for new renters and do all advertising, screening new renters and the maintenance repairs yourself.  Good Luck!
Why should I use a professional to manage my home? While the reasons our clients choose professional management vary, here are some of the key reasons many people elect professional management over self-management:  We know the local market. This allows us to effectively market your vacant home to prospective residents to get it filled. We handle maintenance and emergency repairs, allowing you to sleep at night.  We enforce collection of rents and serve the proper notices upon failure to pay.   You'll often make more money than if you managed the property yourself!
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