How to Be a Long-Distance Landlord
Initially, you may never consider being a long-distance landlord. But events can sometimes occur that lead to unpredictable changes. You may be offered a better job in another state, or you may desire to live in a sunnier place when you retire.
Whatever the reason for moving, converting your residential home into a rental property may be worth considering. If the real estate market is not performing well and selling your home can only net small gains, it’s a great option to rent it out instead.
Now that you’ve decided to be a landlord, you may feel anxious about moving out so far. But this can easily be overcome by technology. Remote management of your rental home can be done. This doesn’t mean that the challenges of operating a rental unit don’t exist. Long-distance landlords are faced with real concerns compared to property owners living near their rentals.
As a landlord living away from your rental property, learning the basics of good property management is essential. Here are things to keep in mind:
1. Pick trustworthy renters
Trust can take time but where long-distance landlords are concerned, they should be able to select the right tenants. They don’t have the luxury of doing drive-by inspections. Some landlords can schedule once-a-year visits only to their rental home. It can be hard when you have unreliable tenants. This can create tons of problems.
To guard yourself against having bad renters, your tenant screening process must be excellent. You should be thorough when performing the proper credit and background checking. Be detailed in finding a tenant’s rental history. It may take some time to complete the screening but it’s the best way to protect yourself and find a great tenant.
2. Cultivate an open line of communication
Now that you have wonderful renters occupying your property, long-distance landlords can begin to set clear and consistent communication. Knowing that you’re unable to be present and physically check your unit as much as you want to, you should be able to depend on your renters to provide you with vital information.
Encourage them to report property issues as early as possible. A pest infestation, mold, or water leak can require immediate resolution to save on costs. You don’t want to experience unpleasant surprises when you tour your property in person.
Be proactive in providing your tenants with updated contact details. Remind them that you welcome reports about property problems. You can also call them every month instead.
Checking in accomplishes two things. You get an update about the condition of your unit and find out more about how your tenants are doing. It’s best to strike the right balance between respecting your tenant’s privacy and letting them open up about the actual state of your rental. Being too pushy might also discourage the renters from telling the truth.
3. Conduct property visits at least once a year
As a long-distance landlord, you’ll naturally think about the expenses of visiting your rental home. However, the US tax law categorizes rental home visits from out of state as an acceptable deduction.
You can subtract the fees for plane tickets or mileage and even include hotel bookings and meals from the earned profits contributed by your rental home.
This tax benefit should be maximized by landlords who inspect their rentals at least once each year. You can find out whether the property needs upgrades and whether your tenants are happy staying in your rental unit during your visit.
4. Be aware of the competition
It’s logical that staying a long way from your rental home can leave you out of the loop of crucial information. You can become disconnected from the current state of your neighborhood. Being a long-distance landlord, it’s more important than ever to remain in close contact with the community where your rental space is located.
A lot of factors contribute to the performance of the rental market such as changing demographics, new government policy, and the present business environment. This affects the rental rates. As a rental business owner, it’s your responsibility to learn more about the competition.
Find out whether your rates are higher or lower compared to others. Read the local news and be watchful of the rental market trends. This makes it easier for you to adapt and create changes when the situation demands it.
5. Develop local connections
Since you’re a long-distance landlord, it’s essential to build a network of local resources. This way, when your home needs repair, you can quickly find a reliable company to handle a specific issue. When a tenant asks for a maintenance request, you can get in touch with a local company that you can rely on.
Landlords living near their rental homes can immediately contact and coordinate repairs, unlike long-distance landlords. Small issues can become costly when left unattended such as leaky faucets. Living far away can force some landlords to browse the yellow pages without knowing if the repair job will be done well.
This can lead to potential botched-up jobs and tenant complaints. Preparing ahead of time by knowing the best local resources for repair services is helpful to long-distance landlords.
How Local Property Managers Support the Success of Long-Distance Landlords
If you want to ensure that your rental home is properly looked after, consider engaging the services of a local property manager. You will gain peace of mind knowing that professionals are supervising your rental operation daily.
When your unit experiences a tenant turnover, the professional manager can perform marketing, run tenant screenings, and draft leases on your behalf. They can also conduct detailed property inspections and collect the rent on time.
The best thing about having a property manager around your rental is your tenants can approach them anytime a problem or emergency arises. As property management companies oversee plenty of rental homes, they also have a reliable vendor network they can contact to manage maintenance and repairs. You won’t be needing to evaluate local companies on your own.
If you need a reputable property manager that offers a full suite of property management services, contact Alltrade Property Management today!