Property managers and real estate agents occupy different niches in the real estate world, although the former may work with the latter when a rental unit needs a tenant. You won’t need a property manager unless you have rental properties, but most people will enlist the use of a real estate agent when selling a home or looking for a home to purchase.
State licensing defines the difference between property managers and real estate agents. Both perform different functions within the realm of real estate. Don’t expect one to act in the capacity of the other.
What are Property Managers?
If you’re a landlord and don’t live near your rental property, or own several units, you may want to hire a property manager to oversee your investments. Property managers don’t come cheap, as they generally charge between 5 and 10 percent of the rent revenue. But if distance, time and other factors interfere with your ability to properly manage your rentals, a property manager can prove to be a lifesaver. That’s especially true if your units are part of an affordable housing program, which involves strict rules and regulations. A property manager specializing in affordable housing will navigate the thicket of regulations to ensure you are in compliance.
Work as a Property Manager
A property manager’s duties run the gamut when it comes to rental units. They not only collect rent, but also take care of basic repairs and maintenance, market available units, screen tenants, deal with tenant complaints, draw up lease agreements and, if necessary, pursue evictions. The property manager inspects the properties on a regular basis, making sure the buildings are up to code, and have cosmetic issues fixed. The property manager takes care of all relevant paperwork including documents needed for tax purposes, hires certified contractors, keeps abreast of legislation affecting the properties in question, makes sure units are cleaned and repaired when tenants move out and keeps the landlord informed.
If the landlord hires a property management company rather than a person serving as their employee, the landlord does not have to deal with the issues that come with being an employer. A good property management company is worth the premium the landlord pays, because all he or she has to do is cash the tenants’ rent checks and the property manager does all the rest.
Hire a Real Estate Agent
If you’ve ever bought or sold a house, you likely used the services of a real estate agent. Yes, selling houses is what the real estate agent does, but that’s just one aspect of the job. The real estate agent knows the local real estate market and the approximate cost and availability of the type of house his client wants. If you need recommendations for professionals in the house buying process, from appraisers to lenders to contractors, the real estate agent should have good contacts. If you’re selling your home, your agent will arrange not just for the marketing of your home, but for professional photography and videography and staging. Buying or selling a home requires massive amounts of paperwork, and your agent stays on that top of that, as well as necessary deadlines.
Understand Real Estate Agent Commissions
Real estate agents work on commission. The agent generally receives 6 percent of the house’s sale price, although these commissions are negotiable. However, in San Francisco, where prices are very high, real estate commissions are slightly lower, averaging between 4.5 and 5.25 percent. Keep in mind that the real estate agents must share part of their commissions with their brokerage agencies and split the commission with an agent representing the buyer.