Property management can be incredibly rewarding. At the same time, it can also pose its own set of challenges. This is especially the case if you’re acting as a long-distance landlord.
It can be difficult to stay on top of issues when you’re managing a property that isn’t in your direct locale. However, with proper planning, you can make it work.
Today, we’re sharing seven long-distance property management tips that can help you succeed.
1. Partner With Local Vendors
When you don’t live nearby, you may not be able to run over at a moment’s notice to fix your tenant’s pipes or take care of their yard work. However, that doesn’t mean that these chores don’t need to be done.
Long-distance landlords can’t work alone. Rather, you’ll need a qualified team of trusted vendors by your side. This may include plumbers, HVAC technicians, and electricians, as well as other service providers, such as:
- Cleaning crews
- Roof repair specialists
- Attorneys and accountants (for legal and administrative matters)
Take the time to research these local experts, using reviews and recommendations to guide your search. If it’s feasible, then travel to meet them in person. Otherwise, schedule phone interviews so you can explain your situation and the types of services that you might need.
2. Choose the Right Tenants
When you’re renting out a long-distance property, you need to be confident that your renters will take great care of it. Before allowing just anyone to live in the space, take the time to thoroughly vet them, first.
Our online tenant screening platform makes this step easier than ever. With our software, you can share customized application links with all of your prospective renters. Once they apply online, you’ll get the results in real-time, with their responses displayed on a user-friendly dashboard.
This way, you can easily identify the renters who meet your qualifications, as well as the ones who don’t. This can help you avoid unwelcome surprises down the road, and give you peace of mind when you’re far away.
3. Consider Automated Rental Collection
If you live in the same city or county as your tenants, then you may be able to schedule times to collect their monthly rent in person. However, this convenience isn’t exactly available when you live in a long-distance location.
While you can arrange mailed payments, those may not always arrive at the same time. Plus, there are additional risks involved with sending checks through the mail.
Some property management software features automated rent collection tools that allow you to simplify this process and make it more secure. With these tools, tenants can pay their rent via credit card or debit card, and you’ll receive the funds in your account. You can also track their payments in real-time, so you always know when to expect them.
4. Enlist Local Eyes
You need someone to keep an eye on your property when you can’t be there to check it yourself. This might mean enlisting a neighbor or someone you know to simply survey it every once in a while and inform you about potential issues, such as vandalism.
This is especially the case if the property you own is part of a larger, shared dwelling. For instance, you might own an apartment or condo that’s part of a bigger building, and any issues that occur will affect more than your immediate tenants.
Left unchecked, bad renters could drive someone to report your unit to the board of directors in charge of the property. In turn, this could put your space in jeopardy. If you want to continue to rent it out in the future, then you’ll need someone who can keep you updated on minor issues so they don’t snowball into bigger ones.
5. Set Clear Lease Terms
Your tenants might (incorrectly) think that because you don’t live nearby, you won’t be as strict about your lease terms. Again, this goes back to accepting the right tenants in the first place. Responsible renters won’t try to take advantage of the situation by bending the rules in their favor.
Still, it’s critical to be crystal clear about what you will allow at your property, as well as anything that’s off-limits. For instance, you might have a strict no-smoking policy or a one-pet limit. Regardless of your specific regulations, make them transparent and obvious in your lease agreement and require tenant signatures before proceeding.
6. Obtain Proper Insurance
Before you rent out a long-distance property, familiarize yourself with the type of insurance that you’ll need. In many cases, a standard homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t extend to any renters that use your space. This means that if they cause any type of property damage, then you could still be held liable.
Most insurance companies will offer policies designed specifically for landlords. Depending on the type of coverage you want, this can include provisions to protect your property against:
- Equipment failures
You can also ask your insurance agent about liability insurance or security deposit insurance, which can protect you in the event that someone experiences a personal injury while on your rental property.
7. Visit the Property When Possible
It may not be feasible or economical to visit your property every weekend. However, it’s important to carve out some time to check out the space yourself. At the very least, try to make the trip at least one time per year.
If the costs to do so seem prohibitive, then keep in mind that you can write most of your travel expenses off on your taxes, as they will be considered part of your rental business. If this step still seems too far out of reach, then consider hiring a property manager who can oversee your rental for you.
While this service will come with a cost, it can save you a ton of stress down the road. If you don’t live near your property and can’t visit it, then sometimes third-party property management is the most viable solution.
Apply These Long Distance Property Management Tips
Long-distance landlords can have the best of all worlds. You’re making money from your rental property, but you’re also able to enjoy your own personal space.
With these property management tips, you can stay on top of your rental and address any issues before they occur. By securing local surveillance, setting clear terms, and levering the right technology, you’ll create a firm foundation for success.
Interested in learning more about how our software can connect you with the best tenants? Contact RentSafe today to discuss your screening process needs.