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Maybe you can help with some other questions I have. I know nothing about hiring a management company to keep up a property. I assume there are reputable firms out there who can be verified through the BBB or some such but my concern is not only how much they cost but what I should expect from them. Obviously all of the outside work (painting or whatever) would be handled by the condo association but the upkeep inside the condo such as appliance maintenance, plumbing, electrical, etc. is a big concern to me. When we were younger we rented a number of places where the management company handling things just didn't do a good job. Some of them were supposedly reputable but they certainly didn't live up to our expectations.

One thing we have going for us is that our dauther and her husband live in that area (which is why we vacation there) so they could keep an eye on things for us. I don't want to rely on that too heavily though as it would be imposing on them.

My experience with rentals managed by a management co have not been positive. If you are letting them get your clients for you, there can be conflicts of interest if they also own some of the properties they manage. The management companies I've looked into charge 30-50% of your rent, PLUS fees to clean, maintain, check in on the place, etc. Changing a light bulb can be $75. Fees will vary based on location, and I again have no direct experience in FL.

However, due to the power of the internet, if you have some free time you don't have to be tied into a management company, particularly given that you have someone nearby for when emergencies happen. Setting up a listing has never been easier, and FL in particular has endless websites just for FL. People will come to you with their business, and you can hire someone to clean the property for you, as well as handle emergencies that arise. The employment scene in FL is not good, which means you should be able to find someone who really appreciates the job. This is the approach we will take if we ever manage to close on a property, though I certainly will have also evaluated the management avenue in case anything happens to me. DH has no desire to take this business on, and it will be our hit by a bus contingency plan. I fear the above makes self-management sound too simple, and it is not. It is much more complicated than this paragraph describes, because you are dealing with people and people can be unpredictable. It is however possible, and worth considering.

That said, if you are set on using a management co, and depending on when we finally secure our property I might do that for the first year while I ramp up my property specific marketing, let your fingers do the searching. Google rental management companies for the area, or even just look for a vacation rental in your area and you will be taken to websites of vr management co's trying to get your rental business. Check out the website, see if you think it does a good job marketing the properties. Google the management co website, and look at to see if there are negative reviews. I'm not such a fan of the BBB, as what I've read about them is if you are not a member, good luck getting improper or resolved negative reviews taken off your record.

I am no expert in FL, and can only go by what I've heard, but FL has a lot of restrictions for VRs, many of which get ignored by illegal VRs who can then charge less, because they flaunt the rules. Personally, I wouldn't touch FL with a VR, unless I was interested in living there later. Because of the difficulty in selling homes, many properties have illegally converted to VRs, and the market is saturated. I'll see if I can track down LQuieros, who I believe has experience in this market, and ask her to address your concerns with greater authority.

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