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How to Manage a Long-Distance Relationship with Your Rentals

May 06, 2019

Renting out properties while living abroad is similar to having a long distance relationship. It takes a lot of effort and requires creativity to make it work. But with a thorough strategy and a good property management system, you can easily manage your rentals remotely.

We asked a few "remote" landlords to share their secrets for running a property management business from overseas. Taking into account their advice and experiences, we've singled out the following tips.

In order to successfully rent out your properties while abroad, consider these four easy tips:

1. Find a local contact person.

You'll need a contact to back you up in case of unpredictable circumstances. Say a tenant fails to provide a rent payment on time, or they have a leaky roof but their repair person is out of town and can't fix it right away. To provide additional assistance to your tenants, your trusted party should have access to your rental documentation as well as the contact information of the residents, just in case!

Checking the condition of the rental is also crucial. Remember that no landlord is allowed to enter a tenant's home without permission or reasonable notice sent at least 24 hours beforehand. Without a local contact person, it would be difficult for you to complete urgent tasks and provide timely support, if necessary.

Elizabeth, a property manager living in Canada with a few rentals in the U.S., said that it was her mistake not to ask a friend or a relative to take care of the properties or check their general condition at least twice a year. The tenants never complained of any maintenance issues, but left the rental in such bad condition that Elizabeth had to replace most of the appliances and carry out major repairs.

2. Consider signing up for property management software.

With a property management software system such as TenantCloud, the process of managing rentals from overseas is more convenient than you think. TenantCloud offers numerous options that automate the process of running your business. All you need is access to the Internet and a few hours a day to get in touch with your tenants and account admins. TenantCloud makes it possible to create residential agreements, collect online rent payments, assign work orders to service professionals, and automate tax reports, reminders, notices, and more. 
You can run your property management business from anywhere and be certain that your tenants can contact you or a responsible person at any time. Using TC Messenger, you can communicate with your residents inside the system. There's no need to use an additional messaging service.

3. Hire a reliable repair person.

Of course, it's better to fix any minor issues prior to renting out a property, but sometimes damages are hard to predict. That's why hiring a service professional who can do repairs in a timely manner is important. You can encourage your service professional to sign up for a TenantCloud account and send them work orders, as well as keep track of their performance.

When Jane moved to Australia, she hired a service professional to keep an eye on her rentals located in Los Angeles. She knew that a service pro wouldn't help her with any paperwork like lease agreements or checks, but what mattered to her was timely home repairs. And Jane is still sure that was the right decision.

4. Get the right insurance.

To protect your belongings and the possessions of your renters, consider purchasing renters insurance. It'll provide you with financial protection for unfortunate situations a person can't predict. With Assurant, the leading provider of renters insurance programs, you can be certain that your rentals are safe. This will cover rental income that might be lost in case of repairs.

 

How to successfully manage rentals from overseas

We've also asked one of TenantCloud users a few questions about managing properties remotely.

Davonne is originally from New England and currently lives in Germany with her family. She is a landlord managing rental properties in New Hampshire, USA.

Why did you decide to become a remote landlord?

While reviewing the different options for real estate investments, it was clear that the most attractive ROI was not in the current city or even in the country where we were living. Just because we weren't living in the US, we didn't want to miss out on a great opportunity investment that would yield a higher ROI than we would've received in Germany. We weighed the pros and cons of an international investment. We really wanted to be involved with some of the logistics and everyday management of our tenants and property.

What are the main pitfalls of managing properties remotely?

With being a landlord, our tenants' happiness and positive living experience was one of our top priorities. As we weren't local or on-site, trying to guarantee this first appeared to be a challenge. We also worried about the communication and feedback of our tenants and property maintenance. Additionally, handling administrative tasks such as managing new applicants, tenant inquiries, vendor and service provider logistics remotely also posed an issue. All of these contacts needed to be stored in one central platform to facilitate easier communication and organization. Financial transactions needed to be transparent and available in real-time. Lastly, making sure all aspects of the property were kept in good working condition and repaired quickly was vital in ensuring that our investment property would be well-maintained for years to come.

How does TenantCloud help you in managing properties in NH?

After comparing a few different solutions, TenantCloud appeared to be the best fit for our level of involvement from abroad and transparency. It stood out to us the most with its easy usage, dashboard viewing panels, and seamless integration with other applications, allowing us to have a broad overview of our remote investment property. It provided us with a one-stop solution that included publishing vacant units online to well-known websites, managing new applicants in the system, screening prospective tenants, as well as tracking monthly rent payments and maintenance requests. We also provided access to our local property managers, which allowed both parties easy organization and gave us a good overview of all financial transactions and administrative tasks. TenantCloud provides a "worry-free" landlord experience for us. Having used it for about two years now, it has been a positive decision, and we are looking forward to the continuous evolvement of the platforms' capabilities.


Are you a "remote" landlord? What other tips can you share? Leave your comments below. We'd love to hear what you think. :)