Perfect Homes

My Job as an Owner Landlord or why I might be better off using a property management company!

You’ve snapped up a cushy little property in Chiang Mai and landed what you hope is a decent long-term tenant. You’re on cloud nine thinking about raking in those tidy profits! And you wanna do everything in your power to protect your investment, that’s a given.

Seeing as you live locally and don’t have any other big commitments, you’re toying with the idea of managing the place yourself. You’d sooner hang onto the money than fork out for someone else to run the show; you’d prefer to be in full control of your real estate asset; you know nobody would care more for your property than you; or you simply want the satisfaction of doing it yourself – all perfectly valid reasons for going hands-on!

But wait, you also realise things can go downhill fast if your property’s not managed properly. So what’s in the job description of an owner landlord? What’s it really like to self-manage your own rental condo or house? More to the point, would you be a whole lot happier and perhaps even more well to do if you just went with a property management company?

As should be spelled out nice and clearly in your lease agreement, you’ll be responsible to your tenant in the eyes of the law. You bet it’s their department to keep the place shipshape and pull off small fixes but, so long as the tenant’s not to blame, serious maintenance and any major repairs are very much your territory as landlord. Even if that means being woken up at some god-forsaken hour to tackle a genuine home emergency and not having the first clue who’s gonna sort the problem or what’s the going rate.

Not that you’ll have those concerns using a property management company since it’ll be them not you who’s on standby 24/7/365 with a circle of qualified, reliable and cost-effective local caretakers and tradesmen only a quick phone call away. All the owner need do is give their property manager the nod!

Obviously, your number one priority as owner landlord is to yourself and your property. More than anything that means making sure the tenant sticks to the fine print of the rental contract. No matter if that involves chasing up rent payments, giving up your own free time to do regular checkups on the place or, heaven forbid, having to boot out a troublesome tenant. Not to mention having to wear the hat of accountant so you don’t lose track of what monies are coming in and going out.

Because property management companies only take their cut after the rent’s been paid, it’s in their own interests to make absolutely sure the tenant coughs up what’s due, when it’s due. You as the owner, meanwhile, don’t need to get mixed up and can happily let someone else be the ‘bad guy’! And as crunching the numbers isn’t most folks’ preferred pastime or strong suit, a property management company will usually save the owner the hassle by churning out monthly statements.

Next, you’ll wanna keep the good people neighbouring your rental place sweet and that includes your tenant keeping the noise down. And if your property’s a condo unit or a house inside a gated moo baan, you gotta play by the building’s/estate’s own rules and regulations…or you’re just asking for a fine!

Like it or not, owner landlords also have obligations to the authorities. In a nutshell, you’ll be expected to put in any amount of TM.30 notifications if your tenant’s not Thai; more than probably have to pay personal income as well as land and housing taxes; at the same time as trying to get your head around then keeping to the country’s real estate legislation such as Thailand’s new residential tenancy laws that have not long hit. And if you think you’re gonna be let off the hook for not knowing what’s what, you’d be sorely mistaken!

No local property management company worth their salt would leave themselves in the dark about the ins, outs and realities of Thai property law. And apart from having to square your own taxes, it won’t be you as the owner who has to drop by Chiang Mai Immigration to tell them there’s a foreigner living under your roof!

Sure there are definite pluses to taking on a DIY approach, but signing up a good property management company with tried-and-tested systems already in place can spare owners untold blood, sweat and tears. After all, one wrong decision can set you back a darn sight more than hiring a property management outfit in the first place! Alas, there aren’t any house management companies in Chiang Mai right this second but at Perfect Homes, we do offer a fully-featured pro Condo Management Service for condominium units situated anywhere in town!

Are you one of the stout-hearted souls for whom landlording their own property holds no fear? Or someone who was only too glad to have a property management company do all the heavy lifting? Either way, do tell of your experiences (the good, the bad and the ugly!) in the comments section underneath!

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