What is a property management service and do I need one?
Property managers in La Paz are individuals or businesses that offer services to look after and maintain your La Paz area home. Typically used by part-time and seasonal residents, property management services in La Paz can include housecleaning, gardening, repairs, maintenance and pool cleaning service. Some La Paz property managers will also rent your home out for you, listing it on rental sites, screening potential renters, and managing check ins and checkouts and everything in between.
Do I need a property manager?
Whether or not you need or want to hire a property management service depends on your personal situation and needs as a homeowner here in La Paz. You may need a property manager if:
You’re a seasonal resident or part-time/vacation homeowner. Many homeowners come for the winter season and go back north in the summer months. Or, you may just come for a few weeks on vacation, and the rest of the year the home sits empty. A property manager can look after your home while you’re gone, making sure your utilities are paid, checking on the home, turning lights on and off, cleaning your pool, and taking care of any regular maintenance that is required. They can also prepare the home for your arrival (have it cleaned, have supplies available, set up private chef service, etc.) so you don’t need to do anything except arrive and start enjoying it.
You want to rent your home out when you’re not here. If you live in a private community with an HOA, check your HOA rules on renting your home. As long as it’s allowed in your community, you can rent your home either short-term or long-term, and a property manager can assist you with advertising your home on vacation rental sites like VRBO and AirBnB. They can also screen potential rental applicants, manage check-ins and check-outs, make sure the home is furnished and equipped for rental, and clean the home before and after guest arrival.
Note: Be aware that renting your home means you are generating income from your Mexican property, and you must pay taxes on that income here in Mexico. You should consult a local accountant to help you understand your tax liabilities associated with renting your property.
You’re a full-time resident who could use the extra help. Property management is not just for part-time residents. Many full-time residents employ some or all of a property manager’s services including pool cleaning, home care (maintenance and repairs), gardening service, and even paying utility bills. You may consider this option if you want to make the most of your time here in La Paz without the headaches of maintenance, or if you simply need help navigating the local business community and don’t speak enough Spanish to confidently tackle those transactions yourself. (We do encourage new residents to learn at least some Spanish, as it helps you to successfully navigate everyday situations here.)
What does a property manager do?
Property management services vary widely, depending on the individual or business you use. You can hire an individual just to clean your pool, for example, or engage with a full-service business that offers pool cleaning, home care, rental services and much more. (See our Spotlight on El Centenario for a local property management business we recommend to our clients.)
Property management services can include:
- Home care, including regular checks on the home to ensure everything is working properly, spotting any potential issues, etc.
- Housecleaning service
- Pool cleaning and pool equipment maintenance
- Appliance repairs and maintenance
- Structural repairs and maintenance
- Painting and minor upkeep
- Security checks, turning lights on/off
- Gardening services
- Paying utility bills
- Rental management
- Storm season preparation and cleanup
Some property managers offer a wide range of services and will also book tours for you or your rental guests, provide car service to/from the airport, offer cooking or catering services from a local chef, arrange for rental equipment like kayaks, paddleboards, and much more.
How much does a property manager cost?
Again, it depends on how much you want your property manager to do for you. Some property managers work by the hour, and others offer packages of services depending on the level you want. It’s really up to you. Expect to pay between $75 and $125 a month for basic property management service. Other services may be available for small premiums or hourly rates. If the property manager is renting your home for you, they typically will charge a small percentage of the rent income you receive.
Where can I find a property manager?
There are several individuals and businesses in town that offer property management services in La Paz and El Centenario. To find one you can trust, ask your real estate agent for a recommendation. (See our Spotlight on El Centenario for our recommendation.)
Can’t I just do this stuff myself?
Of course you can. It all comes down to your budget and how you want to spend your time. When you are new in town, a property manager can provide invaluable assistance in helping you get oriented and settled, making sure your utility bills are paid on time, and keeping your pool sparkly clean so you can enjoy the Baja lifestyle you’ve been dreaming about. If you don’t speak any Spanish, the service can be especially handy until you start to pick up a few words and phrases on your own. If you want to rent your property out, a management service can help you navigate the legalities and avoid some of the common pitfalls of renting your home here. You may want to use a property management service until you get comfortable, then take some of those things on yourself when you’re ready.
For more information on our recommended property management firm, read our Spotlight on El Centenario here.