Property Management 101
What Second Home Owners Need to Know
Most of the homes in Port Aransas are second homes for vacationers. Most, but not all of those owners want to generate some rental income from their property in addition to the benefit of having a place at the beach for their family and friends to enjoy.
Unless the owner lives nearby and has the time and resources to manage the property himself, he/she needs to secure a qualified property manager. This is an important decision and comes with a fairly hefty price tag. Most of the property management companies are locally owned and operated and can attend owners, renters or properties in a timely manner.
IN-HOUSE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
The condominiums that have a front desk that checks in guests are known around here as condo-tels. Buyers need to realize that these mandate the use of their designated property managers—some of which are onsite. Generally this costs quite a bit more than a third-party management company: 37-50%. Smaller family-owned management companies are often cheaper and more attentive just because of their size. Rates are more like 18-21% vs. 20-25% for larger local companies with lots of properties in their rental pool.
Condos, townhouses and houses without a front desk usually permit the owner to choose their own management company, but that is changing. Some complexes are unifying the property management end by specifying a third-party management company, too.
So what does the owner get in return for this cut of their rental revenue? Mostly convenience! Some of the services they offer are:
• Secure online booking and payment
• Online guest comments
• Marketing through professional website with high quality pictures and descriptions of all properties
• Facilitate guest relations
• Professional housekeeping service –guests pay for this
• Inspection of property after each rental
• Stocking and restocking of needed supplies like soap, paper towels, trash bags, linens and toilet paper
• Professional service technicians and sub-contractors to address issues like AC, plumbing, lighting, etc.
• 24/7 access for renters and owners
• Unique access key codes for entry for heightened security and guest tracking (some but not all have this)
• Provision of a rental history to owners to determine amount of gross rental income generated
• Maintenance of burglar and smoke detectors
• Changing air filters
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:
• Extra linens
• Hurricane/storm refunds after the rental has commenced
• Liability for renters’ personal property
The convenience of having a second home rented and maintained frees owners to enjoy the property when they want—provided they place their intended stay dates on the calendar.
Some people choose to manage their own properties but must be available 24/7 to attend to guests and maintenance issues. Most owners of vacation homes do not live in or near the area and find this to be an impractical solution. Some companies like VRBO and Home Away offer online booking and management services for a fee and are considered middle-men. Most local management companies in Port Aransas pay these companies a fee to help them find vacation renters. It is usually cheaper to book directly with the management company instead of going through these vendors, and the customer has more control/recourse–much like finding a cheap air fare on Expedia, etc., then booking directly through the airline.
PROPERTY MANAGERS WITH REALTOR AFFILIATION:
There are several excellent property management companies here in Port Aransas, many that work in conjunction with a Real Estate brokerage so that when an owner wants to sell their vacation home or buy one they’ve stayed in, they can contact the realtor through the management company. Most notably:
• Port A Escapes: http://www.portaescapes.com/site/Home/31837/default.aspx —Coldwell Banker
• Port A Beach House: http://www.visitporta.net/ —Keller Williams
• Silver Sands Rentals: https://www.silversandsvacationrentals.com/ —Silver Sands Realty
• Starkey Management: http://www.starkeyproperties.com/ —Starkey Properties
The link to their real estate side is on their websites.
OTHER GREAT LOCAL COMPANIES ARE:
Barefoot Property Rentals: http://www.barefootrentalsporta.com/
Life in Paradise http://www.lifeinparadise.net/
LONG TERM OR ESTATE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
Another option to consider if the property is not used as a short-term rental, is a long-term rental or estate property management. This is a specialty concierge service for luxury homeowners who do not live here full time, but do rent their property for two weeks or more.
Contact my friend Christian Taylor at http://islandtimepropertymanagement.com/
Her website gives a thorough description of the many service options available.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK FIRST
As when choosing any product or service, the buyer should do the necessary due diligence—check online reviews, get a personal recommendation and/or interview the property managers on the phone or in person. This is a highly competitive business and a huge expense to the home owner. The consumer has lots of choices and should do their part by being informed. Bigger isn’t always better. Management companies that are small and/or family owned sometimes provide a higher level of personal service because they have fewer properties to oversee. And when you or your guests call/text, it’s often the owner of the business whom you’ll speak to.