Some landlords may have inherited a property that they are looking to rent out. Others might be looking to move out of their current home and into another one. Meanwhile, there are those who wish to expand their portfolio into different areas of the country.
Maintenance challenges abound in these instances and there are a number of other concerns that must be addressed. Being a remote landlord means making major changes to the way that these properties are managed. The following tips and pointers are designed to assist the long distance landlord (and their tenants).
1. Put The Proper Team In Place Early
Having a trustworthy team in place is a great way to avoid the usual mishaps that tend to occur. This is a crucial step that must take place at any place of business. Those who cannot access their rental properties immediately will need to put someone in place who can. Maintenance crews, legal representatives, accountants, painters, there is no area that should ever be left to chance.
Neighbors are also an excellent resource in this regard. They are able to let the landlord know if anything fishy is taking place in and around their property. Anyone who is chosen for any of these tasks should have a great deal of experience when it comes to the area in question.
2. Automated Payments
Rent collection cannot take place through the traditional methods in these instances. Tenants do not have the ability to physically provide a check to their landlord each month. This means that the long distance landlord will have to get a bit more creative. Rent checks cannot be mailed, as this creates new risks.
Tenants should be able to pay their rent with the usage of a credit card or debit card. A property management software service is in the best interests of any landlord that is looking to avoid the difficulty of in person rent collection.
3. Selecting Tenants Carefully
This is something that all landlords will have to face eventually but it is especially important to long distance landlords. Tenant screening is an absolute must. Tenants who cause serious issues are much harder to manage from afar and this is something that long distance landlords have to consider.
If tenants have a checkered past or a history of late rent payments, this is a sure sign that they should not be considered for a remote property. Screen each applicant thoroughly to avoid these sorts of concerns going forward. Trustworthy tenants must be kept for as long as possible.
4. Obtain Insurance
Any standard homeowner’s insurance policy is going to cover certain damages but a long distance landlord must make sure that their chosen policy is as thorough as possible. Look into specific policies that are designed to protect long distance landlords.
Tenants can also be encouraged to purchase their own form of insurance, so that long distance landlords can enjoy further peace of mind. Personal belongings and liability damage are the two main areas that need to be addressed.
5. Visit The Property When Possible
A long distance landlord may not be able to stop by on a regular basis but there is nothing wrong with making time to visit on an annual or semi annual basis. Inspections should take place on a yearly basis and the expenses associated with these trips can be used as a tax write off.
These expenses fall under the category of being related to one’s business. Property managers can be enlisted if the long distance landlord starts to feel as if their profit margins are being affected by their visits.
6. Know The Local Laws
The laws that govern long distance landlords are going to be different from place to place. That’s why it behooves a landlord to take the time to learn as much as possible about the location that they are considering.
Housing laws tend to be created at the state level and enforcement can be difficult to understand. The laws where the landlord lives are irrelevant in these instances.
7. Remain Flexible
Stressful situations are bound to occur along the way. It is important for a landlord to make sure that they are leaving all of their options open. Some may wish to sell their property and reinvest. Others could decide to enlist a property manager’s assistance. There are no shortage of options available to those looking to expand their investment portfolios.
We recommend using some of the available property management tools and real estate investment software to save time and make your life easier. No need to use Excel spreadsheets for everything!