Property Management Tips for a Long-Distance Landlord
Whether you own an investment property or you plan to rent your home for a short period of time, renting out your place might be a good way to make some extra income. But, being a landlord is not necessarily an easy job as rental properties come with many responsibilities.
According to The Balance, landlords are typically responsible for advertising their property, collecting rent payments and handling repairs, among other tasks. However, these duties may sometimes be more difficult to accomplish if you are an off-site landlord with other responsibilities, live far away or simply don’t have the time. Read on to discover tips that can help you manage your rental property from a distance.
Hire a Property Management Company
Perhaps one of the most convenient ways to manage a rental home when you’re unavailable is to hire a property management company. According to The Balance, they can help you screen tenants and handle day-to-day interactions once a renter moves in. A professional property manager can also help you market the property and manage showings, which may help prevent your rental from sitting vacant. They can also help take care of any repairs and stay on top of routine maintenance, which may help you avoid other unexpected costs in the future.
While property managers may help make your job as a landlord easier, they do come at a cost. The Balance says property managers may cost up to 10 percent of your monthly rental income for a single-family home. This is in addition to the cost of repairs or other maintenance fees you may need to pay for. Before committing to a property management company, it may be a good idea to read reviews and check their references if you won’t be available to see if the property manager is fulfilling all of their tasks.
Have a Local Contact
If you don’t hire a property management company, it may help to have at least a contact or two that you can count on near your rental, says Zillow. Having family or friends nearby, or even relying on a close neighbor, potentially gives you a way to check on the property and the renter without being there yourself. Ask your local contact to check on the house occasionally and alert you if they notice anything out of the ordinary. Plus, it may be beneficial to have a local contact if, for example, the tenant gets locked out and needs a spare key, says Zillow.
Keep in Touch With Tenants
Even if you have a property management company or friend checking on the property, it doesn’t hurt to periodically check in yourself. Zillow recommends calling or emailing the renter every couple of months to make sure they’re doing OK and happy with the property. Visiting the property from time to time may also be a good idea to make sure everything is in working order. This can give you an opportunity to connect with the renter in person. By checking in and keeping open lines of communication, it may be easier for you and your renter to have a satisfying rental experience.
While becoming a landlord may be profitable, you’ll want to make sure you can handle all of the responsibilities prior to renting out a property. If you need to manage your property off-site, following these tips may make the process go more smoothly for both you and your tenant.
Originally published on March 31, 2015.