The Who’s Who Of Landlording
There are many players in the landlording game and each one has an important role to play. It’s not necessarily a supply chain, but more like a supply web. In the middle of the supply web are the real estate investors, property managers, and landlords. Above them would be suppliers of materials, services, and utilities, while below them would be the customers, or tenants.
A Real Estate Investor is a person who buys and sells real estate for profit. They can either manage the properties themselves or hire a property manager to do it for them. I wouldn’t consider someone who only buys Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) a real estate investor because their performance is dependent as much on the management of the trust as it it on the underlying assets. Likewise, I wouldn’t consider a homeowner to be a real estate investor, because earning a profit was not the primary reason for purchasing their home.
A Property Manager is a person or company that looks after the day-to-day operations and administrative duties of a property on behalf of the owner. They don’t necessarily own real estate. In fact, many property management companies derive the bulk of their revenues from only property management.
A Landlord is a person who owns rental properties. They can either manage their properties themselves or hire a property manager to do it for them. I tend to consider a real estate investor who manages their own properties a landlord.
A Landlord or a Property Manager may also hire a Superintendent to look after an individual property. Superintendent’s are typically only used in larger properties. This person usually lives at the property and acts as the landlord’s representative. Their duties could include general repairs and maintenance and even showing apartments to tenants and collecting rent. Their compensation could include free rent or partial rent, or even a salary.
Tenants are the people who occupy your units, and pay you rent (if you didn’t know what tenants were, you probably shouldn’t be here). Your job as a landlord or property manager is to find and keep the good ones. This is easier said than done, but you will have to learn how to spot each one fast.
There are those I would consider suppliers to landlords. These are telephone, cable, and utility companies, as well as skilled trades and professionals like accountants, bankers, and lawyers. We also can’t forget about real estate appraisers and Realtors.
While you may, or may not, have to deal with each of these suppliers as you progress throughout your career, it’s helpful to get to know some of them before you actually need them. That way, you already have a working relationship and can act quickly if you need help from one of these people.