A real estate investor may not necessarily stay where their investments are. Circumstances such as work relocation or finding an affordable property in a better area may be hard to ignore. So, instead of selling your old home, you may have chosen to convert it into a rental to earn passive income on the side.
In the past, this may have been a significant challenge, but with today’s technology, communication, coordination and rent collection is considerably easier.
Still, operating a rental home when you’re not living in close to it has its own set of challenges. This is the main reason why a long-distance landlord must know the key aspects of good property management. At Taylor Street property management, we believe these are the most important points to keep in mind:
Find Trustworthy Tenants
It’s a given that all landlords aim to find tenants that they can trust. Living so far away from your rental unit only makes it all the more essential to welcome dependable renters. If you make a mistake in picking a tenant, you may find yourself with challenges and lost income.
As a long-distance landlord, it may be difficult for you to do a drive-by inspection. You have to schedule your visit to the rental property. Picking bad tenants can lead to a lot of issues so before welcoming occupants to your unit, conduct a thorough screening. Evaluate the prospect’s backgrounds and don’t miss checking the rental history.
Communicate Openly with your Tenants
When you’ve welcomed the right tenants in your home, you need to start consistently communicating with them. It’s best to seek their support in reporting what the condition of the rental.
Whatever issues the property has, be it water leaks, damaged doorknobs or anything more serious, it’s best to find out immediately so you can resolve the situation. Otherwise, you’d be left unaware, and the damage could be more expensive if it’s not handled right away.
Ensure that you give your renters your updated numbers and email addresses so they can reach out when they want to report what’s happening in your rental. This also lets your tenants feel that they can always talk to you.
Another way to keep the communication lines open is to take a proactive role in talking to your tenants. You can call once a month and find out the general well-being of your renters and the state of your property. Just make sure to still respect the privacy of your renters - this will make them happy!
Visit the Property
Though long-distance landlords shoulder a lot of cost when they visit their rentals, it benefits them to know that the United States tax laws categorizes out-of-state visits to rental homes tax-deductible. The cost of plane tickets, hotel bookings, mileage and meals can be deducted from the profits you earn from running a rental unit.
As a long-distance landlord, you should maximize these tax benefits by arranging a visit to your rental at least once a year. The visit will inform you if the unit still maintains its attractive state and whether the tenants are happy living in your property.
Otherwise, you’ll always be in the dark on how your rental home is faring aside from what your renters report to you. Since you’ve already invested a lot on your unit, it’s best to head to the property regularly to reduce the risk of being blinded by the real situation.
Stay Up to Date With the Market
As a long-distance landlord, certain information may not have found its way to you. Such as new government policies, demographic changes and the current business environment – depending on where you stay.
It’s understood that you’re not as connected with the community as you were before, but you have to make an effort. If you’re aware of changing factors that can influence the rental market, you can make quick adjustments.
Hire Local Vendors
Having easy access to local vendors is essential. Repair requests from your tenants are inevitable. If you’re living near your rental, you can even handle simple repair requests but since you’re living long distance, it’s best to build a dependable working relationship with local repair and maintenance service people.
If not, you’ll be picking someone you found randomly without knowing the quality of the job. This can lead to unsatisfactory results and may even require hiring another maintenance specialist.
If you’ve prepared beforehand and already know the number to call, you’ll always have peace of mind that the work will be done right.
Partner with a Local Property Manager
One of the best ways for long-distance landlords to reduce their stress is to opt to hire a local property management company. As professionals who are well-entrenched in the industry, they have the skills and expertise in handling the daily responsibilities and emergency situations that comes with a rental home.
A property manager can also conduct effective marketing when you have a vacant unit, screen tenants well, craft leases, perform walkthroughs, collect the rent and maintain your home. In addition, they also serve as the go-to person for issues that require quick solutions.
More importantly, a professional property management team has built a long-term network of vendors to attend to maintenance and repairs. Local property managers also know what’s happening on the ground so you can place your faith on them.
Being a long-distance landlord requires a lot of effort, time and energy which can be a challenge to some landlords, especially if you live far from the rental.
If you’re a long-distance landlord looking for a property manager, contact Taylor Street Property Management today! We are a full-service property management company offering our services to landlords in the Phoenix area.