There can be several reasons that lead up to you being a long-distance landlord. You might have inherited some property, received a new job appointment in a different state, or are considering extending your investment portfolio.
Long-distance rental properties have proven to be profitable for many real estate investors. That said, it takes some forethought to make it work. Since you won't be able to manage your rental property in person, you'll need to make changes. Here are some pointers on how to be a successful remote landlord.
Maintain Open Lines of Communication
Communicating with tenants is not always simple, but it’s essential for curating any healthy landlord-tenant relationship. Generally, this can be a simple email or text now and then to see whether everything is fine or to remind tenants of a seasonal maintenance chore or a forthcoming inspection.
Be sure to provide tenants with a current email address, phone number, and an emergency contact to ensure that they can get in touch with you. Set specific expectations as well, such as non-emergency problems should expect a return call within 24 hours. That way, tenants will know what to expect and may plan accordingly.
When problems emerge, landlords must always keep the renter informed of the efforts taken to rectify the situation. Keeping everyone informed will aid in avoiding irritating and potentially costly disagreements.
Be Aware of Your Competition
Knowing what's happening in your community is important if you own a rental property. Living far away can be a disadvantage because you are less connected to the neighboring community.
There may be modifications to government policies, the rental market, and other significant changes that will have an impact on the renting landscape.
It may be hard without your presence to assess the competition or new elements influencing the growth of your real estate venture. For example, your neighborhood may suddenly become a hot spot, but if you are unaware of this information, you may fail to modify your rent prices to reflect the new environment.
It might also happen the other way around. You may wind up keeping the rental rate high even when the economy is weak, resulting in tenant turnover.
Therefore, as a long-distance landlord, one of your responsibilities is to keep up with local news to be aware of any developments that may influence your rental property.
Automate Rent Payments
Since you live far away, rent collection will involve more effort because you do not have a local address where your tenants can mail or drop off their rent every month.
You can request mailed rent checks, but you risk it being lost or delayed in the mail. Whether that excuse is fabricated or true, "lost in the mail" means you'll have to wait even longer for another check to arrive.
Alternatively, advances in property management technology have made it exceedingly simple to receive and track rent payments online.
Tenants can pay rent online or via credit card, so rental income appears promptly in your account rather than having to wait for a check in the mail. Online rent payments are more convenient for renters and more dependable for landlords who live far away.
Plan Property Inspections
By virtue of the distance, performing inspections might be quite the challenge. However, you will have to plan for them. A property inspection gives you a perspective on the use of your property and whether the tenant has been following the terms of the lease agreement.
Below are several instances or circumstances that should make you make a visit to your rental property:
- During a tenant move-in and move-out - During the move-in, use the chance to emphasize the rules of the property. Inspection during/ after the move-out is ideal to check the condition of the property.
- After the occurrence of a storm - You want to make sure that there aren’t any damages that could impact the habitability of the unit.
- Scheduled visits for a long-term tenant - You want to have routine, scheduled inspections from time to time to ensure that the property and your tenants are safe.
Hire a Property Manager
No matter how many miles away you are from your rental home, if you can't check in on it on a regular basis, you need to find someone you can rely on to look after your investment. Property managers will assist you in choosing your tenants and interact with them.
It’s critical that you pick a property manager skilled in various areas, including communication, administration, sales, and rental technology. By assisting you in avoiding property damage, troublesome tenants, and other issues, you’ll be able to save money long-term.
It should be noted that statute (118A.260 (1)(b)) says, “a telephone number at which a responsible person who resides in the county or within 60 miles of where the premises are located may be called in case of emergency.”
What this means, is that as a long-distance landlord, you’ll need a property property management company on hand to address this legal matter.
Understand the Local Market
Each real estate industry is unique, therefore, you must identify the capabilities of the market in which your rental is located to set the appropriate rental price and remain competitive.
You can look at popular listing sites and other units in your neighborhood to get a better sense of the right price to charge. You should also be informed of local legislation and have a relationship with a local attorney to help you manage issues.
Supervising a rental property from afar can be tough, but it’s possible. With reliable tenants, you may find that having an out-of-town property is no more work than having one in the same region you live in.
Make it easier on yourself by being prepared for emergencies, maintaining frequent communication with tenants, or hiring a property manager to oversee your property.
Evolve Nevada provides full-service property management solutions. We handle everything from tenant screening and property marketing, to maintenance, and rent collection. Contact us to see how we can assist you in making your investment a success.