How to Be a Long-Distance Landlord

Life is unpredictable, and even though you might plan to live in the same city your whole life, you never know what might cause you to move to a new city, state, or even country! If you own one or more homes, you might be wondering what to do with those properties when you move. 

You can sell it, but if the market price doesn’t match your expectations, you might want to consider converting your newly vacant home into a rental property.  

Renting out your property can provide passive income and thanks to modern technology, you can be a long-distance landlord from anywhere. However, you still need to exercise caution because managing a rental property remotely can present some unique challenges. 

Keep reading to learn some tips for long-distance landlords so you can ensure that your rental remains profitable without you having to be physically present. 

5 Tips for Long-Distance Landlords

1. Find Reliable Residents for Your Rental Property  

It’s important for landlords to find residents for their property that they trust. Living out of the state or city that your property is in means you can’t be there to check on the property if problems come up. Long-distance landlords will only get to visit the property after a long period, which makes having responsible residents a major advantage.

Landlord handing keys to a young couple

You can find great residents by applying effective marketing strategies and ensuring that you perform a proper tenant screening. Make sure that you take time to evaluate the applicant’s credit score and contact previous landlords to be aware of the potential resident’s history as a renter. 

Did they pay rent on time? Were they accountable if they committed property damage? These are important questions to ask the previous landlord. An excellent tenant screening process lets you avoid stress, especially when you’re managing a property remotely.

2. Practice Open Communication with Your Renters

All landlords should communicate well with their residents, but it’s arguably even more important to keep the lines of communication open if you’re a long-distance landlord. To stay up-to-date on the state of your property, you have to be often in contact with the renter and listen to their reports. You need to be aware of issues like mold, pest infestation, or leaks so you can have them addressed immediately.

You want to avoid leaving property issues unresolved for a long time since this results in steep repair fees. A way to ensure that the lines of communication are open is to provide your renter with your updated contact information. Be reachable! This can help with tenant retention, too.

A property manager in a black suit tells a client about their services over the phone

You can also take the initiative of calling the renters by scheduling a regular check-in time, at least once each quarter or season. If you do this, you can easily find out about any issues they’re currently facing. Note that you must respect the privacy of your renters. Ask about their well-being but avoid crossing the line so your calls are always welcomed.

3. Visit the Property at Least Once a Year

Long-distance landlords shouldn’t rely on their residents’ property reports alone. They also need to do in-person check-ins at least once a year. Long-distance landlords can claim tax deductions for their visiting expenses, such as flight tickets, hotel bookings, and even meal costs. Take advantage of this tax benefit by scheduling visits to your rental within a year. 

Catching up with the residents in person can also make a big difference. You can learn more about how satisfied they are with living in your property. If you don’t visit, you won’t know the reality of the condition of your unit. Investing in real estate requires a huge capital so taking the time to properly inspect the rental physically is highly recommended.

4. Stay Up-to-Date on the Local Area

Long-distance landlords may get ahold of information much later. Even if you live in another city or state, it’s best to remain connected to the local community. You want to know what’s going on since these factors may have an impact on your rental property. 

Focused person sitting at a desk working on their laptop

Learn if there are new rentals being built around your neighborhood. Stay updated about the new local regulations and policies. You always want to be prepared for new developments around your area. Proactive long-distance landlords can ensure their rental income is protected by being in touch with community news and infrastructure plans.

5. Use Local Resources

Your rental property may be new but over time, damages caused by normal wear and tear can occur. When this happens, tenants can put in property maintenance requests. Being prepared is a great strategy and you can resolve property issues by connecting to a solid network of local resources. 

As a long-distance landlord, it will take a lot of work to go to the property and resolve the matter on your own. You need to rely on trusted local contractors to fix issues with plumbing, pest infestation, and other serious problems. 

If you don’t have a ready network, you can lose time and money contacting providers with unvetted services. It’s recommended to be ready and have reliable local contractors working with you.

How Local Property Managers Can Help Long-Distance Landlords Succeed

As a long-distance landlord, you can find the support of a local property management company to deliver crucial services, which help create a wonderful rental experience for your residents. Given that local property managers have more expertise and can access a wide network of resources, they can be a partner in achieving a successful rental business. 

They can actively market vacant rental units, conduct detailed tenant screening, and collect the rent on time, and more. It’s also a great advantage to have a professional representative to help enforce your lease agreement, even in your absence.

Are you looking for a trusted property management team? Contact Stonelink Property Management today!

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