Being a long-distance landlord can be challenging. Not only do you have no idea what’s going on, but you also don’t have a way to resolve things on your own. You’ll have to rely on long-distance calls, virtual meetings, and more to manage your property properly.
Managing a single-family rental can be hard, but managing it long-distance can be impossible – unless, of course, you know the how-tos. In this guide, we’ll go over the ways you can successfully manage your rental property from afar. Whether you’ve invested or planning to invest in a long-distance real estate, this blog will guide you to manage them efficiently.
#1 Hire a Professional Property Manager
Whether you’re a mile or thousands of miles away from your South Florida rental property, you need to inspect, maintain, and repair it with the help of a professional property management firm. They will be the caretakers of your real estate investment and will make sure to oversee that it is well-maintained 365 days a year. Not only that, but they will also select the best tenants, attend to their concerns or complaints, and more.
When “window-shopping” for a property management firm, it’s important to go for the one with an in-house team of attorneys who can help you navigate the relevant laws, draft fool-proof leases, and so on.
#2 Have a Local Contact
Don’t know anyone in your rental market? It’s time to start networking. Connections can ease the stress of being far away from your rental property. By building a network of connections, you can make sure that your tenants won’t be totally in the dark in times of need, as they can always count on your local contact.
Let’s say that your tenants lock themselves out. If you don’t have a local contact, you’d have a very hard time resolving things. However, if you have a local contact (a friend who’s also a rental property owner, for instance), they can assist your tenants in no time.
#3 Process Payments Online
You won’t be able to collect payments in person, so you should set up online payments with a tenant portal. That way, your tenants can keep track of their rent, and make sure to pay their rent on time. You’ll also be able to see the rental payments in real-time. Plus, by allowing tenants to pay online, you no longer need to back-track their payments and make sure your books are in order.
If you’re partnering with a property management company, ask them if they have a tenant portal that your tenants can use, too. The portal should be accessible and user-friendly for tenants that aren’t that tech-savvy.
#4 Communicate With Your Tenants
Your property management company may take care of tenant communications, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about your tenants. To avoid tenant turnover, your tenants need to feel that you truly care about them, their concerns, complaints, and more. Even if you’re thousands of miles away from your real estate investment, be sure to build rapport with your tenants.
Send them a surprise cake on their birthday. Send them an email. Ask them if everything is to their liking, and if there are things that would improve their lives. Your presence should be felt from afar.
#5 Establish a Network of Vendors
You won’t be able to attend to repairs, maintenance, and more personally, but you can establish a network of vetted vendors that can. In case your tenants file a repair report, you can call on your vendors to resolve the matter in no time. Even if you’re far away, you will still have a way to address these issues. For example, if a tenant tells you that their heater is broken, you can call your HVAC repairman to fix it ASAP.
Keep in mind that in some states, the law states that property owners need to repair the HVAC within the day. By building a network of vendors, you won’t have to waste time.
If you’ve partnered with a property management firm, they most likely have their own vetted vendor network. It would be best to allow your property manager to work with the vendors whom they know, as they have already established rapport. Do not force your South Florida property manager to work with the vendor that you want – they’ve been in the business for years, so they know better.
#6 Visit the Property Once in a While
Try to visit the property in person. Property managers don’t visit the property daily, so they may have missed problems that need to be resolved. Even if property managers know the market, as the property owner, you know what you want for your property. Visit your real estate investment at least once a year to get a general idea of what’s going on in your rental. This is also the opportunity to check if your tenants are who they say they are.
Don’t worry – you’ll be able to deduct your travel expenses from your taxes. Be sure not to overspend, though, or else the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be very suspicious. Don’t stay in five-star hotels, don’t dine in five-course restaurants, and so on. Do not plan a “side trip” and claim that as a deduction, too.
#7 Screen Tenants Strictly
You won’t be able to deal with tenant-related problems immediately, so it’s best to select responsible tenants from the start. Remember, you will need to entrust your property to tenants that you know you trust. You shouldn’t entrust it to tenants that you think are trustworthy.
As part of the screening process, each tenant should complete a rental application. This will allow you to conduct a series of checks, such as background checks, criminal record checks, employment checks, and more. Don’t forget to contact their references, such as their employers to verify if they truly are employed.
If you can’t meet with your potential tenant in person, schedule a virtual call with them. Treat the virtual call as an interview to get to know them better, and to be absolutely sure that they’re the right renters.
Are You a Long-Distance Landlord?
If you’re looking for a property management firm that can take care of your rental property, you can’t go wrong with Luxury Property Care. When you’re miles away, you can rest assured knowing that our experts are taking care of your property as if it were their own. We know how important your property is to you, which is why we provide all-around property management services to South Florida property owners.