Rental properties are increasingly becoming a popular means of passive income for many people. It’s the easiest and most secure investment you can make, but the upkeep and general management can be a pain.
Unless you live nearby, you have to either drive down there regularly or otherwise find alternative ways to keep an eye on your property – and the work starts before you even secure a tenant.
Fortunately, there are some things that make remote rental property management easier. Here are 5 things you need to know to manage your vacation rental remotely.
1. The work starts before you get a tenant
Renting out your properties for profit sounds great – until you realize that there’s actually a lot of work involved to set things up. It’s basically a full-time job.
Putting the property up for rent
It starts with actually getting your property rent-ready and putting it up for rent. That means you need to make whatever cosmetic changes you can to get the home looking in great shape. Then you need to take appealing pictures of the property for the listing.
Once all of that is done, you need to take the time to put the property up on all the rental websites, so that you can actually find tenants and people interested in viewing the home, which can be time-consuming.
Then you must oversee the online post – you need to keep up with it and respond to the people inquiring about the property. Once you think you’ve found an ideal tenant, you have to take the time to look into their background. Tenant screening is an essential part of the process because it weeds out unreliable people who would end up trashing your property.
Any potential tenant will want to see the space they’re going to rent. What you can do is film a property tour and post in online so that people can access it at their discretion. But outside extreme circumstances like the pandemic, it’s not an ideal solution, and doesn’t compare to viewing in person. A better option is to have a representative of yours go in and show people around.
2. There is long-term management involved
When you own a property, it’s your responsibility to manage it long-term. You have to be ready and responsive at all times.
A lot of landlords prefer easy rent collection via direct deposit nowadays, and you might opt for that solution. However, there are also advantages to in-person collection. Collecting rent in person gives you an opportunity to have a monthly check-in with the tenants, establish a direct relationship, and also discuss matters related to the property.
Especially if you’re managing the property remotely, it becomes even more important to maintain great communication with tenants. Include the internet and telephone services in the rental package; it’ll be more convenient for both of you to always be able to reach each other.
The best thing is still to go talk to your tenants in person, but if you can’t do that, you can always have a representative handle that for you. It establishes a certain level of trust that you don’t get over email.
3. You need to think about surveillance
How do you make sure that your property is in good hands and properly secured, if you can never stop by to check on things? Well, you have a few different options.
The obvious choice is to install security cameras. Smart cameras can be controlled on your phone nowadays, and they can provide a 24/7 feed of the goings on outside your home. Even with them pointed outside, you can learn a lot about the state of your property and how safe it really is. Plus, you have proof in case anything ever goes wrong.
- Smart locks
Smart locks are also a life saver when it comes to letting people in and out of your house. No need to change the locks in between every single tenant, no one can break into your home with a spare key they kept, because smart locks function with numeric pads. Instead of a physical key, you get a code. You can easily change the code on your phone, and even issue out temporary ones for other short-term guests.
- Have someone keep an eye out
But nothing beats having someone be there in person to keep an eye on the place. If you can become friends with a neighbor, or even better – hire someone to oversee the property for you, that can make a world of difference. They’ll be able to catch details you would miss just checking your camera feed.
4. Expect to be handling issues
While it’s not necessary for you to be present at your property every single week, you still need to check in once in a while – especially if there are any issues.
Check on the property in between tenants
For a vacation rental, especially, you only get groups that are there short-term, so you have to check on the property more often. Plus, there’s the mandatory cleaning in between tenants. You can’t get new tenants in before preparing the place for them.
Be there for issues
Every once in a while, you’ll get a call that something is broken, that there’s been a loud party, or that there’s been some other issue. In that case, someone needs to be there in person to handle the situation. If you can’t make it, then you absolutely need someone who can be there to check on things for you.
5. Alternatives to personal management
The problem is that remote property management means you can’t be there all the time, so how can you make this work?
Do it online
Nowadays, a lot of this can be managed online. You can view properties online, interview tenants, collect rent – it’s a great solution during times of crisis, like the pandemic.
However, it’s a solution that falls short. It still requires extra management, and you’ll never be able to meet all the needs that property management entails. Online management is a great add-on, but it can’t be your only solution.
Hire an intermediary
The best help you can get is a set of eyes nearby. Cameras help, but having a representative or someone to be there and let you know about the goings on is much better.
You can get to know the neighbors, as they’re in a great position to keep an eye out for trouble, but at the end of the day, they have no obligation. Better yet, you can actually hire someone to act as your intermediary.
That way, you know for sure you’re getting the service you paid for. They can handle all the day-to-day legwork for you, including repairs, rent collection, and any other issues that may arise. Especially if you’re abroad or you travel a lot, this is the ideal solution.
Being a landlord can be quite time-consuming and requires a lot of maintenance and management, especially if you have multiple properties. If you’re also managing your property remotely, the job is even more difficult.
Thankfully, in 2021, managing a property remotely is easier than ever. Thanks to intermediaries that do all the legwork, you are able to put the property up for rent, vet tenants, have them view the property, supervise the security of the property, and collect rent, all without needing to leave your house.