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Success During Recessions When You Have a Condo for Rent in D.C.

EJF Real Estate Services - Thursday, July 9, 2020

A recession is one of the hardest times to be a rental property owner. This is even more of a truism when the property you happen to own and rent is a condo that is subject to the additional rules which govern community living in the D.C. area. These additional restrictions you must grapple with when you have a condo for rent in D.C. put you in a difficult position when attempting to manage your continued success, keep communication strong, and triage any partnerships you've developed to assess your next steps as an investor.

Forecasts of the financial crisisMaintaining the success you've enjoyed prior to this point would be difficult anywhere during a recession, but the pressure is far higher in our nation's capital. Property values here—and maintaining those property values—makes being a rental property owner a delicate art and science. Holding onto your victories becomes a challenge that requires a sound strategy, a positive attitude, and a professional perspective.

As a note: This post is not a substitute for proper legal counsel. When in doubt, it's best to reach out to the local experts at EJF Real Estate Services or to obtain guidance from a skilled attorney.

Gather Insight Before You Proceed

There exist a great many benefits to working with a skilled and well-established property management partner to guide your actions during this time. You may have hesitated in the past when you considered working with an expert due to the perceived cost involved. However, when you have a condo for rent in D.C. during a recession, the value of a property manager's expertise becomes readily apparent.

  • A seasoned professional works directly with your renters to ensure streamlined communication and rent collection—even during times of hardship.
  • They protect you as the property owner from the worry and stress that accompanies attempting to market your rental during a recession.
  • Experienced property managers understand the logistics and execution of maintenance or repairs on community dwellings like condominiums.

Property management companies bring expertise, knowledge, and on-the-job experience to the table. All of this put to work for you enhances your peace of mind and ensures your ability to maintain a successful rental.

Guidance from a property management partner extends beyond your rental home: it can be equally applied to any plans you intend to develop to respond proactively to a recession or other crisis.

Develop Contingency Plans

When you think you have everything sorted out as a property owner, that's generally when you get thrown a real estate curveball. While there are often minute changes to the economy that signal a recession may be on the horizon (think inverted yield curves), most of these 'tremors' are so small that recessions often become black-swan events that take property owners by surprise. Contingency planning gives you the advanced preparation in place you need to pivot in a downturn.

Black swan

We've already addressed some of the items every property owner should include in their planning in one of our previous articles. Starting there is a great way to maximize expert insight if you choose not to work with a property management professional. However, we still recommend that you seek out real-time guidance when preparing your response to a recession or other disaster that directly affects your income.

Proactivity vs. Reactivity

The goal of any business owner—recession notwithstanding—is to be proactive. You need to always be one step ahead of what is going on in the world. If you see the signals of a recession lurking in the wings, or unfolding events are worsening, try to make a calculated move ahead of time that will assist you in your efforts. 

  • If you think you will need the assistance of property management to navigate the murky economic waters ahead, hire them before trouble arises.
  • Having a partner on hand now will enable them to enact swift action on your behalf, including changes that may be mandatory as the result of a disaster.

The last thing you want to do during a recession is to react. You want to make your property recession resistant! A reaction is an admission that you are already behind. This can put you in a strained position financially as a property owner, so make it a personal goal to prioritize proactive thinking and action.

Outwardly, owning a condo for rent in D.C. during a recession is a challenge for many reasons. You may face the struggle of navigating temporary legislation concerning rent collection and evictions as your renters are losing their jobs. The ability to adapt during this time is crucial—or to bring in the aid and support of someone who can.

You can start now by considering some of the insights we provide with our Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook. As always, we're here for the D.C. community during these tremendous times of change should you need hands-on guidance.

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