Understand The Legal Side Of Becoming A Property Manager
The first step of learning how to become a property manager is understanding what your states legal requirements are for becoming qualified to manage properties. The legal and licensing requirements you will need to follow will vary depending on which state you live in. Many states require you to first get a real estate brokers license, while other states only require a property managers license.
There are some states where managers are not required to obtain any qualifications. In these states, it is possible to start working as a property manager without any qualification, but you may have difficulty competing against more qualified managers.
Do I Need To Hire Staff For My Property Management Company
A massive decision youll need to make is whether or not to outsource operations or hire in-house for tasks like cleaning and maintenance. You may also find youd like assistance with managerial responsibilities and will therefore need to take time to assemble a committed and capable team. Of course, solo vacation rental managers can do very well for themselves as long as they have the right tools to aid them, which brings us to our next step.
Should I Trademark My Property Management Business Name
Just because you set up a Pty Ltd company or registered your business name with ASIC, this does not protect your brand name. Any business can use your brand name. The only way to protect your brand name and restrict its use, is to register it as a trademark with IP Australia.
This concept is one of the most misunderstood aspects of starting or running a business. And business owners frequently contact us because someone has started using their brand name which they thought they owned!
Trademarking is not overly expensive or complicated, however, some business owners who are just starting out and are on a tight budget choose not to bother with it. However, as their businesses grow, most business owners reach a point that it makes sense to register and protect their trademarks.
For more detailed information about trademarking, read our feature article: How to Trademark Your Business Name and Logo.
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Become A Certified Property Manager
In some U.S. states, youâll have to be a real estate professional that has been certified by the National Association of Realtors, have their Realtors License and attend at least two IREM Chapter meetings or events within a year. Once you get your CPM or Certified Property Manager approval, they also have to have an interview and then also be approved by the local IREM Chapter for the area. Thatâs when youâll be given their CPM certification.
In order to get a Realtors License, youâll have to go through the pre-licensing course, as well as taking the test. Once the test is taken, you then need to pass to obtain the license. The property information has to be something that the person understands and knows in order to pass and become certified to sell and buy homes. Becoming a part of the National Association of Realtors is also highly recommended, as this shows youâre a professional in the real estate field.
You have to learn the ins and outs, the regulations, insurance, safety, and rules that go into not only selling and buying homes but also vacation properties and short-term or long-term leasing. These specifics are required to ensure that the person is able to handle all of the regulations and paperwork that is required depending on the transaction that is going to be made between the people that are selling, buying or renting the property.
What Are The Risks Of Not Using A Property Manager Contract
Without a written Property Manager Contract, the terms of the arrangement between you and the owner of the property will be unclear. If the owner chooses not to pay you, you may not have any way to show that you were entitled to payment. Therefore, there may be nothing you can do about it.
However, if you have a Property Manager Contract in place, then this should set out the terms of payment, and should give you various rights that you may use to ensure that you are paid, including the right to sue the owner if necessary.
In addition, a Property Manager Contract can be a way to limit your liability. For example, if the property is flooded because the owner failed to maintain an exterior drainage system, and there is no Property Manager Contract in place, then there may be confusion about whether or not it was your responsibility to manage this drainage system. The owner of the property may successfully argue that this was your responsibility, and you may become liable for all of the owners resulting losses.
A good Property Manager Contract can protect against this, by clearly setting out what is and is not your responsibility.
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Landlord Tenant Series Q& a: Do I Need A Business License For My Rental Property
When deciding how to proceed with a rental property you need to know your regulations. You may have heard that some property owners need business licenses. This isnt fully true.
While Washington state does not require business licenses, most cities require either a City Business License and/or a Washington State Business License. The best way to ensure youve met all your local requirements is to check the laws in the city your property is located in.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Property Manager
You dont need any formal education or degree to become a property manager. However, you do need to have a deep understanding of the vacation rental industry and the challenges involved in hospitality operations.
If you dont have experience as an Airbnb host, do some research. There are lots of online resources and blogs that can help you prepare. You can even take an online course like the VRMA Vacation Rental Management Certificate Program. Once you complete it, you can use the certificate to demonstrate your expertise to property owners.
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When Is A License Required For Property Management
An individual or corporation is required to hold a broker license when they perform any of the following services on behalf of another in exchange for a fee:
- listing real estate for rent or lease
- listing prospective tenants for the rental or lease of real estate
- locating property to rent or lease
- selling, buying or exchanging existing leasehold interests in real estate
- managing income-producing properties or
- collecting rents from tenants of real estate.
A licensed sales agent may also perform the above property management activities. However, they are required to be employed and supervised by a licensed broker.
As always, real estate sales agents may never act or market themselves as independent agents, whether they are representing a seller or buyer in a sales transaction, referring or acting as a mortgage loan originator , or performing property management services.
While a broker license is required when performing property management services on behalf of an owner, a broker license is not required of anyone who manages their own rental property.
Importantly for this discussion, CalBRE broker licensure requirements do not apply to:
What Is The Difference Between Airbnb And Vrbo
These two vacation rental channels are widely popular and offer many of the same benefits and features to homeowners, but they have two prominent differences:
- Rental types: In addition to mainstream vacation homes, Airbnb allows homeowners to rent out city apartments, private rooms in a shared household, and unconventional stays like boats, treehouses, and even castles. On the other hand, Vrbo features traditional vacation homes, like beach condos, mountain cabins, or lake houses. Plus, they only allow homeowners to rent out the full property, not just a room.
- Audience: Airbnb is especially popular with millennial travelers looking for unique, local experiences. Airbnbs city homes are well-suited for travelers who want to be in the middle of the action and business travelers looking to be close to urban centers. Meanwhile, families and large groups looking for multiple rooms and beds under one roof like to turn to Vrbos collection of private, full-rental vacation homes.
If you want to rent out your entire home, consider listing on both channels to reach the largest audience possible. At Vacasa, we list all our vacation homes on top booking sites, including Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, and of course our own platform, Vacasa.com. Select properties are chosen to be listed on Homes & Villas by Marriott International as well.
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Find Your First Clients And Establish Your Reputation
The final step in discovering how to become a property manager is learning where to find clients and build a good working reputation. You may feel unsure about how and where to find your first clients when you start out as a manager.
One resource that connects Airbnb hosts with property managers is called the Cohost Market. Managers sign up to register profiles on the site, and from there hosts can seek managers and vice versa. If you are looking to manage Airbnb vacation rentals, this would be a good option.
If youre looking to manage rentals on other hosting platforms as well, there are social media forums and communities online where you can market your business services. Once you have found your first clients, you can use things like referral programs and positive client reviews to attract more business.
Always remember to keep a professional, but friendly tone in your marketing and communications with clients. They want to know that a real person is managing their properties, not just a brand image.
Its fine to be honest if you have just learned how to be a property manager and only recently joined the industry. Let hosts know this and, perhaps, offer a lower monthly rate until you gain more experience. As long as you can demonstrate that youre qualified to do the job, most hosts will not mind and will even appreciate the lower fees.
What Happens If I Have A Disagreement With The Property Owner
The Property Manager Contract will set out the terms of the relationship between you and your client. If you have a disagreement, then you should refer to your Contract first. If it addresses the matter, then follow the Contracts stipulations.
Many matters, however, come down to interpretation. You might think that the Contract says one thing about your situation, but your client might think that it says something else. If you are having difficulties with interpretation, then you should seek legal advice.
But what happens if my client and I cant resolve the issue?
A good Property Manager Contract will outline a dispute resolution process. This usually involves mediation first and if this fails, then youll have to seek a resolution through the courts. The outcome of any court proceedings will rely heavily on the contents of your Property Manager Contract. So this is another reason why you should make sure you have a well written Property Manager Contract in the first place.
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What Should I Do If The Property Owner Sues Me
Seek legal advice immediately!
If you have a signed Property Manager Contract with your client it should include a Limitation of Liability clause. In the unfortunate event a claim is made against you, a well-written clause should limit your financial downside. To limit your liability further, you should consider setting up and running your property management services under a Pty Ltd company.
What You Should Expect From Your Property Manager
In the online search results, you will see a lot of listings for property management companies, full-service rental agencies, vacation rental managers, and full-service vacation property management in Kissimmee, and Cocoa Beach. There are many vacation rental managers in Central Florida to choose from. Some only handle the physical property and cleanings, some only handle the rentals, and others are “full-service” and do it all. There is no singular definition for any of these terms, so you need to do your homework to make sure the firm you choose is truly “full-service”. If that is what you are looking for.
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Are You The Right Fit For Vacation Rental Management
While the idea of starting a house rental property management business seems like a lucrative venture, you want to make sure that its the right move.
Make no mistake, vacation rental business owners are entrepreneurs by trade and must have that fighting entrepreneurial spirit to ensure that their businesses thrive.
When it comes to running a successful vacation rental business, the work never stops. It means attracting guests to your listings, ensuring they have a great stay, chasing down reviews and then cleaning up and starting all over again. Thankfully, there is vacation rental management software to help you manage all of this more easily, but you still have to be dedicated.
If youre up to the challenge, read on to learn about the first steps to becoming a vacation rental property manager.
Vacasa Vs Airbnb And Vrbo For Homeowners
Airbnb and Vrbo are undoubtedly two of the most popular vacation rental booking sites around. But, after youve listed your home on one of them and wait for the reservations to roll in, theres still plenty more to do. How will you manage multiple booking calendars and overlapping requests? How will you screen guests and support them during their stay? Who will clean and stock your home after every stay? Which marketing methods will you use to give your home constant exposure online?
This is where vacation rental managers come in. Listing your home on Airbnb and Vrbo is just a small portion of the work required to run a flourishing vacation rental. To cover the rest, you can go either of two ways: self-manage or hire a vacation rental management company.
Weve examined both to help you decide whats best for you.
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Do I Need A Business License For My Vacation Rental
If you make over $12,000/year off it, then yes. Washington law considers vacation rentals short-term rentals and defines them as lodging provided by an owner or operator for less than 30 or more consecutive days in a dwelling or residential unit for a fee. If you have a vacation rental and rent on sites such as Air BnB and/or VRBO, this is considered a short-term rental in Washington.
Several cities now also require city-specific licenses or registrations for short term rentals. Most major cities in Washington including Bellevue, Kirkland, Kent, Burien, and Tukwila require either a City and/or State Business License. Check your local city website for more information.
Dimension Law Group has experienced Washington Landlord-Tenant lawyers that are ready to help. If you are a landlord and you have further questions, please contact our office to schedule a phone consultation.
Disclaimer: Washington Landlord Tenant Laws have changed substantially over the last few years. This information may not be up to date. The information on this site is general information and not a substitute for legal advice. Please contact Dimension Law Group to schedule a consultation on the most up to date information.
Automate Your Tasks Using Vacation Rental Software
As you scale your Airbnb property management business, youll learn that automation is the key to efficiency. Once you start to manage other peoples properties, not just your own, youll have an even greater need to save time by automating repetitive tasks.
Basically, you need to find a way to automate the most time-consuming aspects of vacation rental property management, including guest messaging, adjusting rates, and updating channel calendars.
It allows you to save time and increase your efficiency by:
- Automating your pricing. You can set up smart prices with the help of a rule-based Airbnb pricing tool and push them to all the channels you advertise on.
- Automating your guest communication.You can create automated messages using message templates and Host Tools will automatically send them to your guests and cleaners.
- Automating your smart locks. Host Tools sends automatically generated, unique access codes to your guests so they can unlock the door to your homeowners property.
- Automating your channel distribution. Host Tools integrates with Airbnb, Vrbo, and Houfy, allowing you to sync your rates and availability in real-time.
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Annual Vacation Rental License Fees In Florida
Annual license fees are based on the county your vacation home property is located. Hopefully, you are in a cheaper county! For this purpose, is divided into 7 districts. Licenses for districts expire at different times. Next, how much is the application fee? New and change of ownership is a $50 application fee. To clarify, this fee is in addition to the license fee.
Licensing fees for my Florida vacation rental
Annual license fees and due dates vary depending on what county your Florida vacation rental is located in. Additionally, I have included the link for annual license fees here and you can find your licensing district and due date here.
If you started your vacation rental in the second half of the year, you only have to pay a half-year fee.
Also, you will be notified 60 days before expiration to renew your Florida vacation rental license.
Florida Vacation Rental License Fee Calculator
To calculate your fees, you can click the link to this DBPR approved calculator.
Most importantly, things to remember…
- Do not forget to renew your license annually
- License must be conspicuously shown in lobby or be made available on request to your guests
- If you buy another vacation rental, please report
- Licenses are not transferable between individuals
- If you provide cribs in your vacation rental, please be sure they meet safety standards
Finally, I have attached the Florida vacation rental guide here from the Division of Hotels and Restaurants.