Turnkey Rental Property Investing

Turnkey Rental Properties

turnkey rental property
If only it was this easy

Turnkey rental properties are good investments, especially if you are short on time. However, there are some pitfalls too. A turnkey rental property may come from a provider, the MLS or any other source. A turnkey property could be fully renovated, ready to rent or currently rented.

I’m here on the ground in the Midwest in glorious Dayton, Ohio. I’ve bought and sold turnkey rental properties, and seen what many people offer as a Turnkey rental. I’ve bought turnkey rental properties in areas thousands of miles from where I lived.

Here is what I have seen and experienced, and how to avoid some of the big problems that come up.

First, you MUST have a good team where you are investing, even if it’s local. I’ve been ripped off by bad property managers, anything from non-performance, to them actually stealing the rents and security deposits.

Contractors seem to have a whole different ethic when someone is not overseeing them. Even a local property manager will keep this in check. I bought a “finished” house from a lady in Florida, who had fantastic pictures showing it the house done. Only two walls had been painted, and a piece of new carpet set on the floor for the photos. Some bath and kitchen pics were from a different house. Fixtures were set in place, but not installed, etc. Then surprisingly, no one could find the “contractor”. She was not happy with the pictures I sent.

Taking even basic steps will save a lot of grief. Check the BBB and Angie’s list. If someone has a ‘D’ rating do you really want to hire them?

Are they licensed in their profession (if required)? Ohio law requires Property Managers be a licensed real estate agent. Are they? I get a surprising number of calls from people with bad managers who aren’t even licensed. Interview several while you visit the area. Personalities differ. Prices vary. Most PMs in our area charge 10% of collected rent. That gives them a good incentive to keep your property maintained and rented. Your Property Manager also becomes a source for rent amounts, values, and other team members.

Look for recommendations from other investors and landlords.

Second, You MUST visit where you are investing. There is nothing like getting you boots on the ground and walking the neighborhood. I am continually amazed by the number of people who will spend $30,000 on a rental house, but not $500 on a plane ticket.

Pay for a property inspection (about $400). You’re about to spend thousands of dollars on a property. Get an independent assessment of the property condition. I tell all my potential buyers to do this too. It’s good business for me and protects them. The last property I sold, as a result of the inspection, I paid and unplanned $906 to have a roof repair done. I didn’t know about it before the inspection, and I do not begrudge it to the buyer. I told him the roof was already repaired. (It was, but not correctly)

Determining value is frequently a challenge, especially in hard hit areas. An appraisal will give you a formal written opinion. An agent can give you their opinion. Using third-party sources like Zillow, gives you data, but mislead you. You can see the price, but what was the condition? Were the nearby sales all finished properties? Or do they need substantial work? Are these even comps at all? Is it the same school district? All factors in determining value.

​What do you do in an area where people are buying cheap properties, putting substantial dollars into renovations, but not selling them? All the sales are low, but the values are obviously more. Ultimately, a property is worth what a willing buyer and seller agree it is worth.

In summary, if you are considering a turnkey rental or ANY rental property you need to:

  • Visit the location and property
  • Interview and build a good local team
  • Stay involved
  • Trust, but verify

Darrin Carey
Homes and More, Inc