Roanoke Property Management: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional - Article Banner

Your real estate investments should be generating passive income with recurring and consistent monthly rents and long-term property appreciation. This is why you invest: to make money. 

You don’t invest in order to chase down late rent, argue with tenants over lease compliance, or scramble to find a plumber in the middle of the night while your rental property continues to flood. 

There’s a difference between investing in a property and managing a property. You need to decide if you see yourself as a real estate investor or a hands-on landlord. 

Managing your own rental property can be time-consuming, stressful, and overwhelming, especially if you own multiple investments, all of which need your attention. 

You have two choices when it comes to property management – you can either manage your properties yourself or hire a professional Roanoke property management company. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and it’s essential to weigh them carefully before making a decision. 

We generally encourage investors and landlords to hand the leasing, management, and maintenance over to professionals who have deep industry knowledge and a lot of experience in the local market. You’ll find that this allows you to have a more profitable, more peaceful investment experience. You’ll bring in higher and more consistent rents. You’ll retain tenants for longer, reducing the turnover and vacancy costs that come with losing a tenant. And, you’ll do a better job of protecting the value and condition of your property. 

We’ll highlight some of the reasons that you might choose DIY property management for your Roanoke investment properties. We’ll also share some of the best reasons to invest in an exceptional property management partnership.


Property Management


DIY Culture is Strong but the Desire for Profit is Stronger


We get it. Everyone is learning new skills and following new passions – especially since the pandemic kept us all indoors and isolated. Maybe you bake your own bread now, instead of buying it at the grocery store. That’s fantastic. Maybe you have taken up gardening and you’re carefully worrying over your tomato plants and your zucchini. Wonderful. 

The DIY culture has its merits. Who doesn’t love the sense of accomplishment you feel when you learn something new or take control of a situation for which you once needed outside help? 

That doesn’t mean that everything should be a DIY-project. 

Property management, for example, should be left to the experts. Especially if you’re hoping to maximize what you earn on your investments. When you want to grow your portfolio and continue earning more while spending less on your properties, a local management company can help you do that.

Plenty of mistakes are waiting to be made by DIY landlords. There are unexpected costs that will leave you with less rental income and a deteriorating investment property. And, the resources and knowledge you leverage when you partner with an expert property manager can help you have a better investment experience. 

There’s no need to do it all on your own. If you’re worried about those property management fees, remember that the cost is tax deductible. There’s less risk and more savings. 


The Desire to DIY Your Roanoke Property Management


Manage Own Property


We can imagine some situations in which you’d decide to manage your own property. 

Maybe you have only one rental property and a super-reliable resident in place, and the entire process is extremely chill. Maybe you have some experience as a property manager and you already understand the laws, requirements, and best practices.
Perhaps you’re looking for an education, and you want to learn more about the real estate and property management industry. It’s possible you’re a general contractor or someone who knows how to manage maintenance and repairs as well as tenant relationships.

When you manage your properties yourself, without any help from a property management company, you might find that you enjoy the following benefits: 

  • Zero professional fees. You won’t have to pay a leasing fee or a property management fee. That’s a little extra cash in your account every month. 
  • You keep your inner control freak happy. You will have complete control over how your rental home is managed and who you rent that home out to. Setting rental rates and choosing tenants? It’s all you.
  • Hands-on involvement. DIY property management allows you to be more hands-on with your properties. You can choose to handle maintenance and repairs yourself, or hire contractors.

DIY property management can be pretty bleak, too, however. You want to prepare yourself for potential downsides such as: 

  • A lot of work. Even an easy tenant and a well-maintained property will require a significant time commitment. You’ll need to handle tenant relations, lease agreements, rent collection, marketing your properties, and more. You’ll need to be available to your tenants at all times in case there’s an emergency. 
  • Additional stress. Being a landlord can be stressful, especially if you have difficult tenants or unexpected repairs. Things will not always go as planned.
  • Lack of expertise. Not sure about the difference between a service animal and a support animal? That could be a big problem. Without the property knowledge, experience, and expertise, you may not be able to maximize the return on your investment. You might also run into some legal problems, which can be disruptive and expensive. 


Let’s Talk about Professional Property Management in Roanoke


Hire Local ExpertProfessional property management involves hiring a local expert who can handle the day-to-day management of your properties as well as offer advice about the market, the potential investment opportunities that exist, and the investment goals that you’ve carefully carved out for yourself. This option has several advantages, and we’re going to share some of them with you right now.

Less Work!

Your professional property manager will handle all the details that come with leasing your home to tenants, maintaining your home while they live there, and protecting its value. Property managers collect rent, enforce the lease, conduct inspections, and schedule routine and preventative repairs. We are the point of contact for your residents. 

Less Stress!

Property management companies handle all of the stressful aspects of investing. You can expect your management partner to prevent eviction or potentially manage an eviction. We’ll deal with difficult tenants, produce all of the detail and transparency in your financial reports, and take care of any emergency maintenance issues or tenant disputes. 

More Expertise!

Property management companies in Roanoke have the experience, skills, and knowledge necessary to manage properties effectively. We’ll maximize your return on investment. We’ll keep your costs down, whether we’re talking about maintenance or vacancy. You can also leverage our technology tools, resources, and professional networks.

More Protection!

Renting out a property comes with a lot of liability and risk. One of the benefits to working with a property manager is that we stay up to date on all laws, regulations, and requirements. We protect you from disputes and claims. We keep you on track when it comes to security deposits and rent collection. You’ll have more peace of mind.

We know that some owners might hasten to point out the things they don’t like about professional property management, and we see you.

  • There may be out-of-pocket costs. Hiring a property management company can be expensive, thanks to management fees, leasing fees, and other expenses.
  • You have less control over how your property is managed. Most of the day-to-day decisions will be made by someone else. 
  • You’re less involved. Most property managers will prefer for you to be hands-off. This may not appeal to investors and landlords who want to be involved in every decision and action.

Ultimately, the decision to manage your properties yourself or hire a property management company comes down to your specific situation. Smart investors will tell you, however, that partnering with a management company is one of the best decisions they ever made. 

Let’s look at some reasons for why that rings true. 


How Things Can Go Wrong for DIY Landlords in Roanoke


Things Can Go Wrong


DIY Landlords Often Lose Money

Think about the length of your average vacancy. Does it take you weeks and even months to turn a property over between tenants?

If your property is vacant for a long time, you’re losing a lot of money. You’ll need to solve the vacancy problem quickly. Perhaps the price is wrong or you’re not marketing in the right places. Maybe you can’t find time to schedule showings with prospective tenants. 

Property managers have a lot more success in keeping vacancy rates low. We have strategic marketing plans and we can easily access good data to accurately and competitively price your rental property. Sometimes, vacancies become so expensive so quickly that landlords become desperate to get a tenant placed. That leads to inadequate screening and unqualified renters. 

Bad tenants can cost you more money than you realize. They lead to:

  • Late or unpaid rent.
  • Lease violations.
  • Property damage.
  • Lease breaks.

Trying to lease a vacant property is expensive. You don’t have rent coming in, but as a DIY landlord, you’re also spending a lot of time preparing the rental property, advertising it, and showing the home. Time is money.  

Once you get some tenants interested in your property, you have to manage the application process and screen all applicants in accordance with fair housing laws. There’s the lease agreement and the security deposit. The move-in inspection and all the questions that are sure to come up on moving day.

Maintenance Headaches for DIY Owners

Maintenance is getting more and more difficult for DIY landlords to manage. Not only are costs rising for rental property owners all over the country, labor is also hard to find. You might discover that the work you need done right away has to be scheduled weeks in advance. Landlords are often shocked to learn that vendors are so busy they can pick and choose which projects to take on. 

It might not be yours. 

The higher prices and lack of responsiveness from otherwise reliable vendors make it tempting to ignore a small repair issue rather than invest in fixing it. 

Self-management will almost always be more expensive when it comes to maintenance and repairs. Professional property managers have more buying power. We provide vendors and contractors with a large volume of work and in turn, they give us their best rates and deepest discounts. 

This does not mean that we can magically bring down maintenance costs. But, we can negotiate better rates. We can control the costs that often plague DIY landlords and owners. 

Many of the self-managing landlords we speak with report spending far more on maintenance than they expect. If you have an unexpected emergency, those costs are likely to set you back even further. Every rental home will need maintenance from time to time. If you’re working with a Roanoke property management partner, however, managing those maintenance needs will be less frustrating and less expensive. 

It doesn’t have to be that way. 

  • Property managers know what to look for in a resident. We can keep costs down with strategic and tech-driven marketing strategies and better tenant placement. You won’t have to worry about being stuck with a bad tenant who won’t pay rent or follow your lease terms. You won’t have to worry about long and expensive vacancy periods.
  • Property managers are also likely to invest in preventative maintenance. Instead of waiting for your water heater to slowly leak and rust until it’s no longer functional, we’ll inspect it annually. Service contracts can be put in place for HVAC systems, roofs, and landscaping. We can prepare your home for hurricane season and make sure your investment property is as safe as possible during storms. 

These are only a couple of examples of how things can go wrong for DIY landlords. 

Let’s focus now on what can go right when you partner with Roanoke property managers. 

How Things Can Go Right for Professionally Managed Roanoke Rental Homes


Things Can Go Right


Accessing Property Management Systems

Managing on your own creates extra risk and liability. It also leads to a large opportunity cost, which you likely cannot even see unless you decide to work with a management company later. 

Property managers have systems and procedures in place for everything, including:

  • Leasing your property.
  • Screening your residents. 
  • Move-in and move-out inspections.
  • Routine, emergency, and preventative maintenance. 
  • Rent collection.
  • Lease enforcement.
  • Accounting and financial reports. 
  • Tenant communication.
  • Security deposit collection and return.
  • Vendor management. 

Setting up your own systems will be frustrating and time consuming. You may find it hard to be consistent, and you likely will not have the tools and resources that are necessary to effectively manage those everyday details. 

You need to know how to create a listing.

You need a lease that’s legally compliant in the state of Virginia. 

You need to know when to begin the renewal process. 

Property managers have all of this in place already. 

Leveraging Technology Already in Place

Technology allows property managers to take care of your property more efficiently and effectively. Accessing the best property management technology as a DIY landlord isn’t easy. It’s expensive. It’s not always user-friendly. 

When you work with a property management partner, you can access the technology that’s already in place. We invest in the most innovative platforms and systems available. Our technology allows us to seamlessly:

  • Collect rent online from tenants. This results in fewer late payments, and tenants prefer our convenient and secure online system. They can schedule payments in advance.
  • Pay your rent via ACH direct deposit. No need to wait for checks in the mail. You get your rent faster and you can track it online.
  • Collect routine maintenance requests electronically, giving us a documented history of repairs that were needed and performed at your property. 
  • Offer tenant and owner portals for communication, information, and resources. 
  • Syndicate listings across a large number of platforms during the marketing process, leasing to more exposure and a larger pool of tenants.
  • Provide financial reports and accounting statements in real time with all the detail you need.
  • Generate lease renewals and other correspondence automatically.


Technology provides more transparency, more accountability, and a more efficient rental experience for both tenants and owners. While a DIY landlord can introduce technology here and there while managing a property, getting a comprehensive management system in place is difficult and often cost-prohibitive. 

We understand that it often seems like managing your own rental property will save you money. Sometimes, it can cost you money. 

In addition to all the services you receive when you work with a management partner, you also get decades of knowledge and experience. That’s a lot of value. 

We’d love to tell you more about the professional Roanoke property management services we can provide. If you’ve been managing on your own, let’s talk about it. Please contact us at Lawson Realty Group whether you’re a new investor or an experienced real estate owner. We manage properties in Southwest Virginia throughout the Roanoke Valley, including Salem, Cave Spring, Hollins, Vinton, Glenvar, and Southwest Roanoke County.