How To Manage Rental Properties Remotely
Technology has made it much easier for landlords to take care of their properties remotely. Whether you’ve just become a long-distance landlord after a relocation or want an easier way to manage properties across the city, there are many effective strategies for remote property management that landlords can use.
Use a Property Management Company
If you’re wondering how to manage your rental property remotely, property managers are the classic answer. Property management companies take care of maintenance, tenant screening, rent collection and other duties for a percentage of the rent they collect. Fees typically run 8 to 12 percent of rent. Although, some companies charge a flat fee plus expenses.
It can bring peace of mind to know there’s someone on hand who can take care of a burst pipe or an eviction on your behalf. Property managers can also set rent rates to be competitive, recommend preventative maintenance, and run reports so you see how your rentals are doing. Since property managers work for you, they can provide regular check-in reports or be as self-sufficient as you like — whatever suits your tastes.
However, property managers may be overeager, and they can take on more rentals than they can really handle. This can lead to communications breakdowns or missed bill payments. Newer managers may not have a network of tradesmen to take care of problems, which could lead to repair delays.
As these examples show, it’s critical to screen property management companies and check referrals if you think this option makes sense for you. Only hire a company whose clients positively vouch for it to manage your rentals.
DIY Property Management
Here’s where technology can help. With the right network of people on the ground and good tech tools, you can continue to manage your property from wherever life takes you. Get your own network of skilled tradespeople and handymen, so you have someone to call when your rental needs repair.
Then, update your lease with language that reflects when and how renters must communicate with you. Some landlords like a clause that prevents tenants from arranging for repairs on their own.
Screen potential renters to weed out unqualified tenants and increase peace of mind. American Apartment Owners Association helps long-distance landlords with tenant screening and customizable lease forms.
Provide tenants with several ways to pay rent remotely, whether it’s electronic bank check, automatic deposit or mobile payment apps.
Some long-distance landlords like to designate a master tenant, who reports on maintenance, upkeep and other news in exchange for a rent reduction.
It’s smart to visit your property in-person once a year, so you can check in on everything. This puts your mind at ease that everything looks good — allowing you to inspect your property and plan for preventative maintenance and upkeep. Tenants may appreciate that you make an effort to stay involved with property management even though you aren’t nearby, which can increase goodwill and reduce turnover.
For more tips on remote property management, low-cost landlord tenant forms, and to receive discounts on goods and services to keep your rental properties looking their best, join AAOA today.