Property Management Tips for an Absentee 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. Rental properties come with responsibilities.
According to the Wall Street Journal, landlords are responsible for advertising their property, screening renters, collecting payments, handling complaints and home maintenance, and getting rid of pests. These tasks must be completed whether you live down the street or across the country from your rental home, but they may be more difficult to accomplish from afar. So, how do you effectively manage a rental property when you are an absentee landlord?
Hire a Property Management Company
Perhaps one of the most convenient ways to manage a rental home from a distance is to hire a property management company. According to Zillow, these services can help you screen tenants and handle day-to-day interactions once you have selected a renter. A professional property manager can also market the property and manage showings, says Realtor.com, which may help prevent your home from sitting vacant, letting you avoid a gap in your rental income.
Realtor.com also says property managers can take care of repairs and stay on top of maintenance to help you avoid large, unexpected costs. By providing the managers with access to some emergency funds, they can take care of problems in a timely manner on your behalf, adds Realtor.com.
While property managers may help make your job as a landlord easier, they do come at a cost. The Wall Street Journal says these services could cost about 10 percent of your monthly rental income plus the repair money you set aside for emergencies. If this takes profitability out of the picture, the Wall Street Journal says to try to negotiate a rate that works for you by having your property manager only manage the onsite responsibilities and handling tasks such as advertising and record-keeping yourself.
Before committing to a property management company, the Wall Street Journal suggests reading reviews and checking references since you won’t be around to see if your manager is accomplishing her tasks.
Get to Know Some Locals
If you don’t hire a property manager, it helps to at least have a contact or two near your rental, says Zillow. Knowing neighbors or having friends nearby potentially gives you a way to check on the property and the renter without being there yourself. If the neighbors notice an issue with the house and the tenant isn’t home or the renter accidentally locks himself out, having a local friend with a key can be helpful, says Zillow.
Be Available to the Renter
Even if you have a property management company or friend checking on the property, it doesn’t hurt to periodically visit it yourself. Zillow recommends visiting the property a couple of times each year to make sure everything is in working order. This also gives you an opportunity to connect with the renter. By checking in and keeping open lines of communication, says Zillow, you can better stay on top of maintenance issues and keep your tenants happy.
While becoming a landlord may be profitable, you’ll want to make sure you can handle all of the responsibilities before renting out your home. If you need to manage your property from afar, these tips may help make the process go more smoothly for you and your tenant.