Being a remote landlord can be a challenging task for those who have never tried to manage their rental properties from afar. But experienced long-distance landlords are well-aware of the perks (as well as the pitfalls) of running a rental business from anywhere.
During the coronavirus lockdown, many people are forced to work from home. For some, this new reality brings a great deal of stress, while others remain advocates of work from home policies and find telecommuting quite productive.
Luckily, for landlords and property owners this transition isn’t painful since they’re used to being more agile. Thanks to technology solutions, lease agreements can be signed online, rental inspections and showings are often conducted virtually, and rent payments have been collected online long before the lockdown.
In a time when face-to-face interactions aren’t safe and restricted in certain areas, digital platforms will help your rental business stay afloat.
Go digital - leave paper checks alone
Adopting online rent payments is the first step towards making your business digital and relevant to the current reality. If you believe the majority of the rental industry has already made that move, you might be mistaken- in 2016 the dominant methods for paying rent were still cash and checks. Even now, digital payments haven’t completely replaced paper options.
But there is no reason to stick to cash and paper checks when online payment tools are available for everyone. When it comes to purchases, online shopping is now on the rise due to a national lockdown. It’s not going to slow down in a few months ahead, for sure. Moreover, it’s likely that global e-retail sales will reach $4.8 trillion by 2021.
For remote landlords, it makes sense to move payments online when tenants are already there.
To become a successful remote landlord, it’s worth it to have:
- A local contact person
You’ll need a contact person to back you up in case of unpredictable circumstances. To provide additional assistance to your tenants, your trusted party should have access to your rental documentation and the contact information of the residents.
- A reliable repair person
Since some damages are hard to predict, hiring a service professional who can do repairs in a timely manner is essential.
- A good insurance
To protect your belongings and possessions of your renters, consider purchasing renters insurance. It’ll provide you with financial protection for unfortunate situations a person can’t predict.
- A property manager
It’s good to have a professional who would handle daily tasks and monitor the rental on a regular basis. But it’ll require extra expenses and a great deal of trust on the part of the landlord.
- Property management software
If you’re not planning to hire a property manager, signing up for rental management software is a great solution. Opt for a free multitasking software that guarantees a smooth and efficient experience and allows users to sign in from any device.
Maintaining clear communication with your tenants is crucial for the rental business. The way you build these interactions defines your relationship with the tenants. But online communication shouldn’t be limited solely to emails and phone calls. Cloud-based systems usually offer more specific digital methods to stay in touch with your tenants. They may include the option to save a history of communication along with attached files and images.
Keep records online
Whether it’s a list of transactions, a maintenance request email, or rental inspection checklist, try to keep track of all business documentation online. Going digital with paperwork helps you stay organized and prevents you from digging through piles of paper documents. It’s also a good idea to back up the data, just to be on the safe side.
Know about challenges
Being a remote landlord isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are indeed obvious challenges they face at this time:
In a time of uncertainty, your choices define the direction your business is heading. Despite the crisis, you should adjust your business model to the current reality and make the choices that will potentially save and benefit your business.
What’s your personal opinion on the pros and cons of being a remote landlord?