My Property Management Journey

My degrees are in Child Development, so when I became a host with Airbnb I did not expect to grow into a property manager. I had rented my home in Jonesborough, TN long term when my husband and I got married and bought a home in Nashville. However, using a property management company was not a great experience for me. I did not like giving so much of the rent coming in to that company. Even for the work they did, I still felt like the home was not cared for like I would have hoped. So, I began to manage it myself. What a hassle! I believe that this was because it was a long term rental, I was not in the area to monitor the renters, and people straight up lie sometimes. We had a huge water bill come in one time and wondered why in the world it was so high. Well, even though we stated no pools, the tenants bought a large pool and obviously filled it. We also had a septic issue for the first time ever and could not figure out why when there were only four people living there. Turns out that extended family moved in and we were not informed. Seven people living there almost cost me a new septic system. Anyhow, I wound up selling the home and was relieved when that happened. No more managing long term properties for me! So, how did I get into short term property managing?  

Be sure to check out my previous blog ‘Why I became an AirBNB host” for more back story on how I got started. Being a host was much easier in my opinion because the guests’ stays were short term, I was able to see guests and know the property was cared for, and did not have to worry about what was going on far away. That was when we were renting our campers out on our own property through Airbnb. When I began managing my tiny cabin ‘Unbearably Cute’ in the Smokies, I knew that I had to step up my property management role. I hired trustworthy cleaners, blocked off one time a month to go visit and deep clean or fix any maintenance issues, and set up my auto responses on the app to streamline my work. The cabin was grossing around 15k when I bought it. The first year I managed it we grossed around 44k. I believe this is because of the loving touches, better marketing through the Airbnb app and on social media, and the great reviews and ‘Superhost’ status. These factors helped guests learn about our cabin and feel more comfortable visiting.  

One day, a friend from my church was asking about my cabin rental and how I manage it. That sparked interest and eventually filled a need for both of us. She owned a property in Nashville and needed to change property management companies and I had prayed for more income to be able to support my family, yet not take too much time away from my son. We ventured together and I began to manage her property and listing. It is called the ‘Timeless Tudor’ and is located in the West End area of Nashville. This new opportunity was challenging at first because I wanted to get the kitchen updated with a new coat of paint, a few additional Nashville touches, and needed to make a whole new listing. All has worked out great and so far the listing has done well. Even with the challenges of COVID and many cancelations of short term stays, we were blessed to have a long term rental from a family. As my friend was thinking about selling a rental property she had in Franklin, TN and was asking about where to get another possible Airbnb, I definitely recommended the Smokies. She and her husband went and stayed at ‘Unbearably Cute’ and liked the area so the hunt was on for a property there. This was such a divine intervention, as well, because my husband Aaron and I wanted to grow our investment properties, but did not have the funds to do it alone. The four of us were prayerful and in agreement about this joint venture. I was the scout and they trusted my choice when I found the cabin we just purchased together as our partnership we call ‘On Holy Ground.’ This new to us cabin is about 1800 square feet, 5 minutes from ‘Unbearably Cute’, and has an amazing view. We all decided that I would manage the property for us and so my property management portfolio grew. Again, I told God, “why did I get a Master’s Degree in Child Development to become a property manager?” Haha. He knew it would allow me to still be able to spend time with my family without working in a hospital setting like I have before with long, unpredictable hours and lots of time away from my husband and son. I am thankful that I did not let fear creep up and tell me I did not know what I was doing because I did not have a degree in it. I am loving, kind, care for people, am a queen of hospitality, and that one interior design class in college has also come in handy! Hehe. I told myself that with those qualities and God directing my path, that I could do anything. So, now I manage three properties and that is how the work-from-home property manager hat got its rightful place on my head. This reminds me not to pigeon hole myself into the things that I think I can do because my degree says so or I think that is only what I am good at. It also helps me not to shy away from things I think I may not be able to do because they are unfamiliar or I tell myself I do not have the talent to do. If God calls you to it, he will equip you to do it. Then, we get to give the glory back to Him. 

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