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    Key takeaways


    • Columbus has a rapidly expanding rental market with diverse living opportunities.
    • Owning a property involves multifaceted responsibilities, from maintenance to marketing.
    • Consider hiring a property manager when you’re expanding, have geographical constraints, or have problems managing your property. 
    • When hiring, prioritize local expertise, transparency in fees, and comprehensive services.

    The vibrant rental market in Columbus, Ohio, has experienced significant growth over the past few years. As the owner of a rental property in the area, you might be contemplating when or if you should hire a property manager. 

    This blog focuses on hiring a property manager in Columbus, Ohio. We’ll talk about the complexities of managing rental properties, the role of a property manager, and the signs you need to hire one. 



    A brief glimpse into the Columbus, Ohio rental market


    Columbus, more than just Ohio’s state capital, is a flourishing center of culture, education, and economic growth, and Columbus’s population growth rate has outpaced the Midwest region’s average by almost 10%, a testament to its appeal. As the city diversifies, its neighborhoods do, too, each presenting unique living experiences. From the historic charm of German Village to the bustling vibes of Short North, there’s a space for every renter. Notably, with a 0.9% increase in job opportunities over the past year and home to institutions like Ohio State University, Columbus is a magnet for both professionals and students.



    The complexities of managing rental properties


    On the surface, owning a rental property may seem like a straightforward venture — acquire a property, rent it out, and anticipate consistent profits. Yet, in practice, it’s a multifaceted endeavor. Mastering rental property management requires wearing multiple hats:

    • The handyman: Ready to resolve maintenance issues promptly.
    • The mediator: Equipped to settle any renter disputes.
    • The Marketer: On a mission to maintain high occupancy rates.
    • The Steward: Ever-vigilant in ensuring timely rent collection.

    Taking on all of these roles is no small feat, and without the necessary expertise or tools, what might seem like an investment dream can quickly morph into an overwhelming ordeal.


    Recommended: Managing your first rental property: A guide for first-time investors



    Understanding the role of a property manager


    Think of a property manager as your co-pilot, expertly navigating these intricacies. They fine-tune the day-to-day workings of rental ownership:

    • Tenant screening: Filtering to ensure only the most responsible renters.
    • Rent collection: Erasing the hassle and discomfort of chasing late payments.
    • Routine maintenance: Addressing property concerns, freeing you from hands-on tasks.
    • Property marketing: Strategically showcasing your property to ensure minimal downtime.

    Hiring a property manager is more than a convenience; it’s an investment in peace of mind, steady income, and a buffer against potential pitfalls.



    6 signs that it’s time to hire a property manager for your Columbus, Ohio property


    Although it’s perfectly okay, sometimes even advisable, to manage your own property and save those extra bucks in management fees, there are instances when hiring a property manager becomes invaluable. 


    1. Your portfolio is expanding

    As you expand your portfolio, the complexity of managing each property multiplies. Whether it’s tracking multiple maintenance schedules, or managing diverse rental markets across neighborhoods, overseeing multiple properties can quickly become a daunting task. A property manager can help you seamlessly handle this growth, ensuring each property receives individual attention.


    2. Geographic constraints

    Owning rental properties in locations far from your residence can introduce logistical challenges. From responding to a late-night plumbing emergency to conducting routine property checks, distance can impede effective property management. Having a local property manager becomes indispensable in such scenarios, ensuring your tenants have a go-to person nearby.


    3. Multiple commitments

    If property management isn’t your primary occupation, balancing it with your day job or other commitments can lead to oversight. Essential tasks like tenant screenings, addressing concerns, or even routine inspections can get delayed. A property manager ensures your rental operations are ongoing, even when you’re not around. 


    4. High tenant turnover rate

    High tenant turnover or frequent vacancies aren’t just a logistical headache; they can also dent your rental income. Such issues often hint at deeper underlying problems—perhaps the property isn’t being maintained well, or maybe renter concerns aren’t addressed promptly. A property manager can identify and rectify these root causes, enhancing tenant satisfaction and retention.


    5. Lots of maintenance issues

    Even if you consider yourself handy, the constant demands of property upkeep can be draining. From regular wear and tear to more significant issues like HVAC breakdowns, properties demand consistent care. Moreover, third-party services can get costly for property owners with smaller portfolios. Hiring a property manager can alleviate this burden, as they often come with a network of skilled professionals to handle repairs affordably and efficiently.


    6. Problems in rent collection

    Chasing down monthly rents, addressing late payments, or even adjusting rental rates to match market trends can be time-consuming, not to mention mentally draining. A property manager streamlines these processes, ensuring consistent cash flow and reducing default rates.

    Some property managers, like Poplar Homes, even go as far as guaranteeing rent. We ensure you get your rent payouts every third business day of the month, even when Residents are a little behind on their payments. 



    Is a property manager worth the investment?


    It’s undeniable that hiring a property manager comes with a cost, but it’s crucial to consider the broader financial picture. With the potential to improve occupancy rates, reduce legal challenges, and enhance tenant satisfaction, the benefits often overshadow the outlay. Moreover, a skilled property manager can employ strategies to boost your rental income, such as optimizing rental pricing or introducing value-added services. When you factor in the time saved, potential income increases, and the peace of mind that comes from professional management, the return on your investment becomes palpable.

    If you want to find out how much you’re saving when you hire a property management company, you can use our ROI calculator



    What to look for when hiring a property manager in Columbus



    Local expertise and track record

    When delving into the Columbus rental market, it’s paramount to align with someone deeply entrenched in the local scene. A manager with a strong history in Columbus’s property ecosystem can better navigate its unique challenges and opportunities, ensuring your property reaches its full potential.


    Communication and responsiveness

    In managing rental properties, timely communication is pivotal. Your property manager should not only be responsive to your queries but also be proactive in their communication with your residents. This dual responsiveness ensures a smoother operation and averts potential issues before they escalate.


    Transparency in fee structure

    Hidden costs can erode your rental income. Hence, clarity regarding the fee structure is non-negotiable. A transparent property manager will break down their charges, ensuring you’re well aware of what you’re paying for and that there are no unwelcome financial surprises down the line.


    Comprehensive service offering

    A stellar property manager offers more than just basic property oversight. Look for one who provides:

    • Marketing Expertise: To ensure your property reaches the right audience and remains competitive.
    • Thorough tenant screening: This helps in onboarding reliable tenants and reducing potential conflicts and turnover.
    • Regular maintenance checks: To maintain the property’s value and address issues before they become major concerns.
    • Financial guarantees: This shields you from the unwanted cost of eviction or late payments. 


    Up next: ROI on property management: Is hiring a property manager worth it?



    Final Thoughts


    Columbus, Ohio’s growing rental market poses both opportunities and challenges for property owners. With complexities ranging from tenant relations to maintenance, a property manager becomes a valuable ally. Though there’s a cost involved, the benefits, such as higher occupancy rates and tenant satisfaction, often outweigh the expenses. For Columbus property owners, ensuring top-notch care for their property and renters is essential. When hiring, prioritize local expertise, clear communication, and comprehensive services.

    Although a national property management company, Poplar Homes has a local foothold in Columbus through its subsidiary—S4RE. With S4RE’s over 20 years of experience in the local scene and Poplar Homes’ national reach, you have the opportunity to expand your rental property business nationwide while still having that local expertise in different states. On top of that, you can manage all your property on one innovative platform. 




    Learn the ROI on property management using our ROI calculator