As you expand your number of rental properties, you may find yourself looking at remote markets. Perhaps you bought a property in the city you live in, but now you are contemplating a move to a new location and wonder if you should still manage your current rental from afar. Although managing properties remotely may seem like an impossible task, the reality is that, with the proper tools, you can become an accomplished remote landlord.
If you are considering being a remote landlord, check out these five tips that can help you better manage your property even from a different location.
#1: Use Technology To Your Marketing Advantage
The good news is that our modern, technology-driven world actually makes the process of managing a property remotely easier than it ever has been. When you start the rental process you will need to begin with marketing.
To market your property, use an online platform that allows you to syndicate your listing out across the web. The more places you have your property listed the better. Renters are looking for properties online, so your marketing can be done remotely without any issue.
#2: Schedule A Tax Deductible Trip For Showings
One of the harder aspects of managing a property remotely is handling the property showings. If you choose to manage this on your own, your best bet is to take a trip to your property and schedule a weekend of showings. Set up two times over the weekend the property will be available for showings. For example, you could have an open house on Saturday from 10am-4pm and Sunday from 11am-6pm to give people a window of time to come check the place out. Tell any interested party about the showings so that you can knock out all your showings at once.
During this trip, have a plan of action ready for parties who are interested in the property. Provide them with an online rental application they can fill out.
Another strategy is to have your current tenants agree to show the property to interested parties. In this scenario, you may need to provide your old tenants with an incentive for showing the property (such as a discounted last month of rent). You will also want to be careful you are not overwhelming your current tenants with too many showings.
You can also hire someone in the area to show your property (such as a real estate agent) or ask someone you know in the area (such as a friend or family) to show the property.
If you choose to have your current tenants, someone else you hire, or someone you trust show the property for you, you can simply schedule a trip to meet your new tenants at their move-in date. This gives you a chance to do a move-out walk through with your old tenants, arrange for any repairs needed, and do a move-in walk through with your new tenants. In this method, you can easily accomplish all these steps within a few days.
No matter which method you choose, if you travel to your property make sure you keep track of all your expenses. Save receipts and use the trip as a business write off. This can be particularly opportune if you planned on taking a trip to the location already. For example, you can schedule your trip to handle property related tasks at the same time as a trip to visit friends or family in the area. Then, using your business-related expenses, write the trip off for tax purposes.
#3: Manage Your Property With Online Landlord Software
Once you have a tenant in place, use an online landlord software to manage the property. Having the ability to market your property online, accept rental applications, and screen tenants, all through the internet will make remote landlording much easier.
In particular, providing your tenant with the ability to pay their rent online is an excellent solution for remote landlords. There will be less worry about checks “getting lost in the mail” and accepting online rental payments will take up zero of your time. For remote landlording, online landlord software will truly become an incredible time-saver.
#4: Create A List Of Reliable Contacts
One of the other items you will need to keep up with is ongoing maintenance for your tenant. Make sure you create a list of reliable contacts where your rental property is located. You will need contractors for HVAC, plumbing, and general repairs that you know you can trust. Because you won’t be there to oversee projects, once you find good contractors save their information and work on building a relationship with them.
If you have family or friends who live in the area, see if you can’t utilize them to check up on your property for you every now and again.
#5: Strive To Keep Quality Tenants
The hardest part about managing a remote property is the work involved in the turnover of tenants. When you find quality tenants who pay their rent on time and treat the property responsibly, strive to keep them around. If you normally would be looking at a major price hike in rent, consider a lower rent increase when their lease comes up for renewal. If the water heater on the property is in need of replacement, consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient style to incentivize your tenants to stick around.
Even if you have to invest a little money up front to keep happy tenants, it will be worth it in the savings you will gain from not having a vacant unit. Responsible tenants are worth their weight in gold, so take the time to ensure they are happy with the arrangements.