Time Required To Manage Rental Properties

Feb 14, 2013 Comments Off by

For 5 years, Mr. Cannes and I have been managing our own rental properties. People tend to think that managing properties take a lot of time, sometimes as much as a full time job. We manage 6 rental properties and typically spend 2-6 hrs each month for most of the year. There are however peaks. Typically, most of this time is spent going to the bank to cash rent checks.

In my experience, managing properties don’t take very much time once I have bought and prepared the property to become a rental and have found tenants. On a month to month basis, I rarely spend more than 4 hrs a month dealing with issues.

Buying a property (4 weekends+5 evenings)

When I am adding a property to my portfolio, it takes quite a bit of my time to search for a property, get my finances in order for a mortgage and do all the paperwork that is required to close. On average, I would estimate that this takes 4 full weekends of my time and 5 evenings in order to look at many properties with my agent and go through the buying process.

Renovating (4 weekends-2 months)

Every single property that we have bought has required some sort of renovation to bring the property up to our renting standards. This includes adding more rooms, adding a second unit, painting the walls, bringing the property up to the fire code standard or even getting rid of the terrible smoke smell. When I bought my first house, I did all the renovations myself and started with zero experience. I reno’d the kitchen and bathrooms in order to increase the valuation of the house for refinancing. This took me a lot of time and can’t begin to estimate how many hours I put in as I wasn’t fully productive all the time. Now that I have extra funds when buying a house, I hire a contractor to do the bulk of the renos and take care of the small things such as painting. At a minimum, I spend 4 full weekends renovating or checking up on my contractor for any new property.

Finding tenants (4 evenings)

Once tenants give me their 60 days notice that they are leaving at the end of their lease, finding new tenants become a high priority job. On average, I spend 3 evenings per property to show several tenants the property. I align my showings back to back in 15 min time slots. Putting ads online, updating them every day and answering calls and emails to book showings adds 1 evening per property. All of my properties have leases that start on the same month every year. Due to the nature of my tenants, I get 50-100% turnover every year which keeps me busy for a few weeks.

Move-in/move-out inspection (4 hrs/year)

As part of my renting policies, I do move-in and move-out inspections which takes 2 hrs each on average and includes travel time. These inspections take place on the last day of the month and the first of the next month. I am usually fully booked on both of these days.

Regular month to month (1 hr/month)

On 11 months of the year, I typically spend 1 hr per month on each property. This time might be spent dealing with a failing appliance at which point I go to the property to troubleshoot. If I can’t fix it myself (such as checking the fuse box), then I call a contractor and it is hands off for me from there on. Cashing checks don’t take me much time now as most of my tenants now pay online through their personal banks.

Other scenarios

Serious emergencies such as pipes freezing have never occurred to my properties but I can’t rule it out for the future. I don’t budget time for these issues as they are random events that are unlikely to happen. Other activities that can take significant time and mental energy are dealing with evictions. Due to my good property management skills, I have only had to threaten evictions 2-3 times in the last 5 years of managing properties at which point the problem is quickly rectified. I do this if rent is late or if there is willful damage to the property. There is one exception where I had to evict my first group of tenants due to willful damage to the property and this took significant time to deal with the legal system. Looking back, I found myself with high risk tenants for my first property and have since then changed the way I manage properties in order to avoid future evictions.

Are you a landlord? How much time do you typically spend on each property?

Lifestyle, Real Estate, Strategy

About the author

Clara Cannes, the chief author from Goldeneer is a Canadian that works as a full time employee in the engineering field. Her passion is real estate, entrepreneurship and sustainability. Clara has finally reached financial independence in her late 20's and is on the path to a comfortable retirement by 35.
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