Not all landlords invest in properties near their own residences. Perhaps you moved and chose to keep your previous residence as a rental. Maybe you found an exceptional investment opportunity in a different area or even across the country. While being remote may change the way you manage your rentals, you can set yourself up to be a successful long-distance landlord if you know how to effectively outsource tasks and responsibilities. Here are some tips for succeeding as a long-distance landlord and maximising the return on your long-distance rentals.
Tips for succeeding as a long-distance landlord
Choose trustworthy tenants
Since you won’t be close enough to go to your rental at a moment’s notice, it’s extremely important that you trust your tenants. When renting to someone you don’t know, thoroughly screen their rental background before allowing them to move in. Ask them to complete a rental application, and be sure to contact their references.
Hire a property manager
Long-distance landlords may hire a local property manager to manage their tenancies and ensure that any issues are dealt with as quickly as possible. Whether you choose to hire a local property management service to check up on the property or you simply have a friend in the area that can do the occasional drive-by, you will want to have someone that you trust nearby the property on call in case of emergencies. Additionally, they can give you peace of mind regarding the property’s status.
Lockdown your lease
The lease is one of the most important parts of the rental process no matter where you are renting your property. In long-distance situations, an iron-clad lease will help prevent any back-and-forth that can be compounded by the communication issues associated with long-distance relationships. Be sure your lease is rock solid by having an attorney familiar with the area review it. Also, make sure it clearly defines who is responsible for what, payment due dates and late fee policies, damage assessment and collections, pet policies and other clauses. This will help protect you and your property should any issues arise.
Getting paid from tenants in another town or city can be tricky if you are used to dealing in cash or checks on the first of every month. Set up payments so they are automated or have your tenants send you to rent by way of email or wire transfer. Another option is to collect post-dated checks from the tenant upfront that you cash on the first of every month. This option only works for fixed-term leases, where the tenant has signed a one-year or six-month lease.
Even if you’ve hired a property manager, it’s important for your tenants to feel comfortable talking with you. They may also be more likely to treat your property with respect if you’ve developed a good rapport and they know you care about their needs. Give your tenants a call or send an email often. Ask how things are going and make sure everything is working properly on the property.
Arrange property inspections
While it may be challenging to arrange frequent inspections of your properties, there are times when you must visit. When a tenant moves out or just before a new tenant moves in are vital times to visit. That way you can inspect the state of the property and ensure that there are no damages you didn’t know about. Even if you have a tenant with a long-term lease, you should try and visit at least twice a year to ensure that they are looking after the property and that there are no issues with the tenancy. Equally, you will want to check up on the building after any extreme weather, such as a storm. Excessive rain, or even snow, can cause damage that can worsen the longer it’s left.