Working remotely as a property manager has never been easier, with online solutions covering most parts of the rental process. However, there are some important steps to take to ensure that your property makes its way into good hands in the first place, and that things run smoothly when you’re on the other side of the state or the other side of the world.
1. Find the right tenants
One of the biggest determinants of a successful rental property comes down to the tenants. They can make make or break a property, especially for a remote landlord. As a result, time and effort put into finding the right fit for your rental is time well spent. Good tenants will not only look after the property, but will also most likely stay for longer, reducing turnover and maximising cash flow.
When screening tenants, look for those that have consistent rental histories, with recommendations from previous landlords. This will ensure that you find a tenant that you can trust to look after your property, minimising repairs and maintenance needs, and in turn saving you trips back to the property or having to find someone to attend to maintenance requests.
Offering a competitive rate of rent is a good way of finding a tenant that is likely to stay for a longer term, which almost always means the tenant is more likely to take better care of the property.
2. Schedule your trips well
Inevitably, you’ll need to visit the property from time to time. Viewings, ingoing/outgoing condition reports and the occasional routine inspection are some reasons that come to mind. So, when you do need to visit your property, make sure to plan it efficiently.
For example, if you have some tenants that are coming to the end of their lease, with no plan to renew, consider booking in a weekend trip in which you do a final walkthrough of the house with the previous tenants, and also hold a number of viewings for new prospective tenants. If planned well, this can half your trips to the property, saving time and money.
Alternatively, if you have some tenants who are coming to the end of the lease who you get along with well and trust, consider offering an incentive for them to show the property to new prospective tenants. You could ask them to show some viewings with the reward of their last week of rent being free if one of the viewings is successful and new tenants are found.
Make sure to track your expenses when you travel to your property as these costs are mostly tax-deductible as they are work expenses.
3. Opt for longer leases
Turnover often means vacancy, and vacancy means a halt to your cash flow, making tenant turnover something to avoid at all costs. If you have a reliable screening method, then consider favouring prospective tenants that are looking for a longer term lease. Signing 3-5 year leases means that tenants are much more likely to treat the rental property as their “home” in a similar way that a homeowner would look after their own property.
Of course, incentives are most likely needed for someone to opt for a longer lease. Consider lowering the rent (you’ll more than likely make the difference back in lack of turnover fees) and allowing for minor alterations to the property.
Not only does a longer lease mean that your property will most likely be taken care of well, but will also limit costs associated with finding new tenants.
4. Be efficient with Repairs and Maintenance
It’s inevitable that repairs and maintenance requests will arise throughout the duration of a lease. Understanding the best way to deal with a request can help limit your expenses whilst also satisfying the tenants.
If the screening process has been done correctly, then repair and maintenance request should be mostly reasonable, however this can be difficult to tell when you work remotely. If you receive a R&M request, ask for photos and as much evidence as possible.
It’s good to find a few trusted tradesmen, who can also help to assess if the problem has been caused by the tenant or if it’s simple wear and tear. This is especially true for property managers with numerous properties under their belts.
Find a tradesman here: https://snug.movinghub.net/
5. Communication is key
Self-managing remote landlords can’t as easily rely on routine inspections to ensure the property is being maintained well. Instead, building a relationship with the tenant through communication can mean that the tenant knows what is expected from them in terms of maintaining the property.
It’s important to not overly-communicate but being friendly can foster a sense of mutual respect and can make the duration of the lease better for everyone.
Be sure to respond to inquiries and requests from the tenant and to keep them informed with any relevant information relating to the property or local community.
Tip: If you can’t make it back to the property for routine inspections, consider asking the tenants for photos/videos of the property to ensure its condition, although make sure to adhere to your state’s legal requirements - especially regarding the frequency of routine inspections.
6. Make the most of property management software
Property management software is the most useful development for self managing landlords in recent years. More than ever, landlords are able to independently manage their properties with less time and physical access to the properties.
Now we may be a little bias, but here at Snug.com we think we’ve done a pretty good job at developing our property management software, designed with self-managing landlords in mind.
Landlords can schedule viewings, follow-up by messaging attendees, then review applications through our Snug Match™ software, which gives ratings to prospective tenants based on how they match the property and the property manager’s leasing preferences such as the lease term and if pets are allowed or not.
Snug Match™ helps property managers find better tenants, faster.
Learn more at https://snug.com/manager/