I am interested in buying a rental property but am concerned about ongoing maintenance as a single woman. Any ideas for overcoming my fear?

Asked by Kayra, 80127 Thu May 31, 2012

Littleton/Denver, Colorado area

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survey, , Colorado
Fri Jun 15, 2012

I have had a rental property since 2008. I have been very fortunate with my tenants. They have taken very good care of my rental property and I have not needed a property manager. The nice thing about rental properties is that you make the original purchase and someone else pays you and the mortgage for the right to live there.

You can include in the rental agreement that the tenant must maintain the property including lawn maintainance, appliances, painting, etc.

Another option is doing a lease purchase property. You get a large downpayment as Option money, plus you get rent. This motivates tenants to take care of the property because they are looking to purchase it. If they fail to purchase the property in the time frame you contract then the option money is yours, if they purchase the property then the option money can become a downpayment for the purchase. It gives the tenant a chance to purchase the property from you, You get better quality tenants, and you help a tenant that usually is working on getting their credit back in shape. You can get longer contracts like 3 year leases as well.

I just sold my rental this way and the tenant/buyers are thrilled. I got a fair price for my property (higher than current sales) and the tenant/buyer is getting a great home. If you decide to do a lease option sell please be fair to the buyer and put yourself in their shoes. The more fair you are, the better tenant you will get.

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Ron Rovtar, Agent, Boulder, CO
Mon Jun 4, 2012
Hi Kayra:

Rental properties can be a very good investment for a number of reasons. But, as you note, they do take some maintenance. There are a couple of possibilities. First, you might consider hiring a property manager to handle your investment for you. Managers will cost you some of your monthly profits, but this can be a good solution if you don't want help with most of the chores that go with investment properties. The second option is to develop a relationship with a skilled person like a handyman who agrees to be available on an as-needed basis. You would want this person to handle most of the basics by himself or herself, and know when to subcontract more skilled help.

Kind regards,
Ron Rovtar
Prudential Real Estate of the Rockies
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Mark Nelson, Agent, Denver, CO
Fri Jun 1, 2012
Hi Kayra-

You might want to consider the age of the property as well as the type of property. If it were single family, the age might be within the past 10 years or so. Older, what has be replaced as far as the heating sytems, plumbing, roof. Many of my sigle women lean toward condominiums as investment purchases, primarly because there is not quite as much maintenance. If you decide to go that route, please make sure you hire a Real Estate Professional to help sort out which buildings are strong owner occupied vs strong rental.

How exciting to hear people are jumping into the rental market again. Nothing but the best!


Mark Nelson
Distinctive Properties Ltd
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Marina Bay, Agent, Greenwood Village, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
Thank you Michelle! I was beginning to think I am the only one who understands the benefits and rewards of having rental properties : ) Yes, it takes work, so what? I don't even want to deal with a management company. They are impersonal. I have good relationships with my tenants and they are as interested in taking good care of my properties as I am. People want to rent a nice place and they want to have it taken care of. It's that simple!

Marina Bay
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Michelle Hall, Agent, Westminster, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
Although you may have unfortunate "renters", the fact remains that many, many people use rentals as great cash flow and as a hedge against future inflation and working toward either retirement income or selling the properties when you retire to have good cash on hand. In fact, the renters are paying off your mortgage and the interest rates are so low now that you can have cash flow if you are very careful how you buy. The old saying holds true that you make money when you buy (buy carefully buying right) instead of when you sell. You must have a realtor who respects your dreams and wishes and can make that come true for you and who is very experienced in that field. I am trained and educated as well have many years experience working with investors,.Many have done very well to say the least.I can give you spread sheets that show exactly what you will cash flow before and after taxes, your tax benefits, take into account vacancy rate and costs and then give you an exit strategy of when the best time would be to sell. We must take into consideration future value when purchasing so you will be safe and make money. I would be happy to give you those spread sheets and to give you references. Knowledge and experience are key to these smart investments and I personally have cash flow. Many use management companies and are happy with them as they prescreen carefully if you are uncomfortable with the task. They typically want 3 or 3 hundred down and then 1% of the rents per month as their fee. Right now the market is hot for renters,. Explore it more before listening to the bad comments and then make your informed decisions. Call, text or email anytime for your spreadsheets and I would love to work with you!
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Tamara Stodd…, Agent, Longmont, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
My husband and I have a rental property. We put a home warranty on the home, so if the A/C breaks, it is just a $65.00 service call. The cost is $300.00-450.00 annually.
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Nancy Page C…, Agent, Castle Rock, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
I agree with the other comments. However, there are some very good property management companies available. I would be happy to recommend a couple. Actually our company has a property management division.

Please feel free to call us to give you the information that you will need to make an informed decision.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Sue Priest
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Robert McGui…, Agent, Denver, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
Hi Kayra,

I would sy this, "Be afraid, be very afraid". No, seriously I am a married man and don't wont to work with hose hassle any more. Get some references for a good Property Management Co. Get some referals for 'Rent a Husband' or some good handymen who will be willing to work closely with you to keep up the maintenance of the property. Build that in to your expenses early on so it doesn't come to a shock to you down the road. The answers are good below as well. I liked Lillian's thought of starting out with a condo or a townhome in a nice development and a reasonale maintenance fee. You could wind up paying less for maintence through HOA fees than monthly actual costs of home maintenance. You can also write into the lease agreement as much of the maintenance as possible if that works for the particular renters you would have in place. Let me know if I can help further.

Robert McGuire ASR
Your Castle Real Estate
1776 S. Jackson St. #412
Denver CO 80210
Direct – 303-669-1246
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Julie Montgo…, , 80238
Thu May 31, 2012
Yes -- don't buy a rental property!! Seriously, unless you have a family friend or relative who is a handyman who doesn't mind being called out at 2 a.m., because the hot water heater just broke, just say "no." If the rental looks like it needs work, it probably needs a LOT of work. If you are going to invest in a rental, try a townhome -- no yard, no snow maintenance. I live and work in Littleton, and your best investment dollar is in SouthPark, which is at the corner of Santa Fe and Mineral. Beautiful area, easy to rent, close to everything, values still appreciating! If I can help further, don't hesitate to contact me at 303-906-3150 or jmontgomery@coloradomasters.com or http://www.jmontgomery.com. Thanks and good luck! Julie Montgomery, RE/MAX Masters, Inc.
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Lillian Live…, Agent, Lakewood, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
I am not sure you SHOULD overcome your fear. Having the time and the resources to rent and maintain a property is a valid concern. Mistakes can be very costly.

I can make several recommendations for dealing effectively with the concern:
1) Make sure you are working with realistic figures and estimates
2) Plan on using a good property managemnent company for your first investment property. They will do the work of finding (likely) reliable tenants. It will cost a little more, but will be well worth it
3) consider buying a townhouse or condo for your first investment property, then you don't have to worry about grounds maintenance, roofing, etc

Happy hunting ! And, oh, of course, work with a Realtor who has experience in investment property purchases.
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Jon Roberts, Agent, Denver, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
Excellent question. Great to hear someone that has the foresight to anticipate that Property Maintenance is a must consideration. Several good pieces of advice below.

Two that stand out to me:
(1) Hire a Property Management Firm. Can be difficult finding a good one, but they're out there. I have a good one to recommend. But that cost can be tough on a Single Family Home rental. Property Managers are typically better suited for a multi-unit property or someone with a portfolio of single family homes.
(2) is mentioned below: Find a good and reliable handyman. In addition, consider hiring routine services like yard care for regular upkeep and maintenance.

Also second the suggestion to start with good tenants. That is advice I use and give to all my investor clients. Do the work on the front end putting in the best tenants. That will save you a lot of repair and maintenance costs.

Best of luck!
Web Reference:  http://www.jonrroberts.com
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Michael Huff…, Agent, Englewood, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
You could check into hiring a property management company, they can handle all the maintenance, rent collection, and other issues that come up.
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Bill Pearson, Agent, Denver, CO
Thu May 31, 2012

My solution has been to have a great handy man for projects that I can't do or have the time to do as my focus is on selling property for my clients. I'm happy to share his information if that might be helpful to you. He has done things for me on my own personal property as well.

My concern is always with getting a great tenant first so they take a bit of care of the property. Let me know if I can help.

Bill Pearson
ERA Herman Group Real Estate
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Joetta Fort, , Arvada, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
As a married woman who has owned rental properties for the past 10 years, I can tell you that what everyone said previous to me is good advice. My husband is a do-it-yourself type, but believe me - he does NOT appreciate it when he has to spend weekends at rental houses. My point is, even if you weren't single, you should do whatever you can to reduce the amount of time you have to put hands-on into your investment properties.

If you're skilled at some things, like painting or tiling, and you enjoy it - sure, save some money and do it yourself. But it's awful to feel tied to a rental property, and stuff never breaks when it's convenient.

Having money in the bank and a list of reliable and well-priced contractors is what you need. I've heard of a lot of property managers that did a terrible job, so don't hire a property manager and think you never have to check up on the property. A good property manager is well worth the cost.
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Marina Bay, Agent, Greenwood Village, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
Hi Kayra,

I understand your concern. I am a single woman managing my 3 rental properties (all single family homes) plus running a full time real estate business. I was very afraid at first, but I knew that I definitely wanted to invest in real estate. So, I talked to other people with rental properties and went for it. Most of the time things go smoothly, but once in a while I get maintenance issues, sometimes all 3 at once.. ouch! I use Craigslist and Angie's list lot to find repair people. Some of them I've used for years now and refer them to my clients, because they do such a great job. It is a learning process and you can do so much better than some man I know.. LOL

If you'd like my help, please let me know.

Marina Bay
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Martine Addi…, Agent, Englewood, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
You'll probably get lots of answers about how to buy a rental property but my response will be about making sure that you have enough cash in a rental savings account to ensure that you have ample funds for things like a new furnace, replacement of carpeting, painting, etc. that is required to maintain a rental property and optimize the amount of $ you can charge in rent. It also takes the pain away from having no renters for a period of time so you can cover the mortgage. When you have this put aside, the fear of buying a rental home will be lessened automatically. Your realtor will have lots of contacts for good service providers to take care of any issues that arise - mostly handyman type of things. If you need any help, feel free to contact me.

Martine Addison
Classic Colorado Homes Group
RE/MAX Professionals
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Toby Waters, Agent, Denver, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
My advice is to team up with a management company. They usually will have maintenance companies they work with. Feel free to call or email me with any questions.

Toby Waters

Mobile: 720.300.5114

Office: 303.302.3622
Fax: 303.333.4080


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Ray, , Denver, CO
Thu May 31, 2012

There are things you can do to minimize your involvement as a landlord. You can hire a maintenance person, add a homebuyers warranty, property manager....

You will want to make sure you scrub tenants, and treat it as an investment. Meaning if you have to evict, you have to evict. So emotion is detached from the home.

It can be a great thing to do, but takes time out of your life. You cab also buy a condo rental to minimize involvement as well.

If you need any advice let me know. I have been a landlord for 5 years and am in the mortgage industry.

Ray Williams
Branch Manager
Summit Mortgage
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Tim Klein, Agent, Littleton, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
Your fears can be allayed bby employing a property management company to handle all maintenance issues. Their fees are well worth the peace of mind you'll have. Feel free to contact me for assistance.

Tim Klein
Metro Brokers - The Realty Werks
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Ethan Besser, Agent, Englewood, CO
Thu May 31, 2012
Dear Kayra,

Thank you for your quesiton. You should hire a property manager who will take care of the maintenance for you. Call me if you need help finding a property to invest in. I have a special service that I offer to help investors find properties that meet their needs and goals.

Thank you again,

Ethan Besser
Keller Williams

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