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November 06, 2021

Ok, ok, we'll hire a property manager

Owning a property, particularly a second home in the U.S. Sunbelt, and using it to generate rental income may sound like an easy way to make money.

It isn't. Just ask the poor souls who haunt this landlord forum.

Vacation real estate demands an investment of not just money, but time. And that’s why so many people get someone else to do things for them.

If you’re thinking of using a property management service for your home or condo rental, there are some key features you should look for before making a commitment.

The normal costs involved with hiring a property manager include a one-time set-up fee (normally around $100.00 per property), a leasing fee (an upfront 6% percent of the annual lease amount) and a management fee (10% percent of the rental income, paid monthly), says Wendy Fedoruk, a Calgary-based consultant who helps snowbirds look after their out-of-country properties.

The other must do? Make sure the person responsible for the rental and sight inspections of your property lives or works on the same side of the city that the property is located, she adds.

And beware of real estate agents who may be new to the game. More and more struggling brokers are entering the property management game to supplement shrinking incomes, particularly with buyers who’ve become accidental landlords of distressed properties.

Tell us: Do you have someone that looks after things when you're away? Does it work?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...