Most landlords operate in the city in which they live. However, at times, you may be called upon to move to a different state or country. Now I, Mark Roemer, know you could sell you properties and then re-establish yourself in the new place you are going to be living. This can be a bit of a pain. You are going to need to decide if you would instead try to sell your property in the short notice you have of leaving, or if you are going to try to manage it from your new location. Both are viable, so I cannot tell you which to do. That being said, I am going to discuss the ways you can manage your property from a different location if that is the decision you have taken.
Keep in mind, neither of these options will come without some sacrifice and a bit of faith. If you decide you are going to sell and re-establish, you might have to continue flying back to the city in which you have your properties. This will be to show the house. On the other hand, you may elect to leave it up to a realtor.
Now, assuming you are going to keep the property, we are going to discuss the things you are going to need to make it work. This will not be easy, but then again, the most rewarding things in life never are. So, without much more delay, let’s dive right in.
The first thing you are going to need is a property manager. This can be one of the tenants, or you can find a professional. In either case, you are going to need to have someone you can call on when things need to be sorted out. After all, there is no possible way that you are going to be able to take care of a tenant’s leaky faucet from hundreds of miles away.
To start, you are going to need to assess if you have a tenant that you can trust. If that is the case, you could offer them to knock the rent down a few hundred dollars to watch over your property. Most custodians live rent-free. They will pay for their incidentals, but the rent is at no charge. Consider doing this to get the best possible custodian you possibly can.
On a side note, you are going to want to make sure that the person you select can make repairs that need fixing. Additionally, they are going to need to show the house and screen clients for you. It would be best to select someone that is looking for a job or wants to work from home. This will become a full-time job in the long run. Making sure they will have the time to attend to your customers should be your top priority.
Since you will not be around, you need to lock down your rentals. This means you are going to want to spend some money and make sure that your lease is ironclad. You don’t want your custodian, or yourself, to have to screen clients all the time. Take some of the money that you have been collecting on rent and hire a lawyer to look over your lease. This will save you money in the long run.
When you take your lease to the lawyer, make sure that you have all the items you want in the contract spelled out. This will allow the attorney to make the document perfect for you and impossible to get around.
While it could be easy to get a separate bank account and have your custodian deposit the money into the account, it can be a bit tricky. Depending on the number of apartments and the amount of money you have going into the account, you may not want your custodian having access to that much money. Not that you don’t trust them; it is just that everyone has their tipping point. Should they see a large amount of money in the account, they could easily skim a little off the top.
For this, I suggest that you have all your clients sign on to electronic payments. Not only will this prevent your money from being stolen, but it will also allow you to make sure the rent is paid on time. As an added benefit, this will avoid having to make someone get the money for you. If you have been in the rental business long, you know how awkward that situation can be. You do not want someone else having to try to get the rent from someone else. It is a little like the stepparent trying to get a stepchild to clean their room. The tenant will resist, and there is not much the other person can do as they are not legally the landlord.
The most important thing that I can impress upon you is you have to have your ducks in a row. You need to make sure that if you have decided to move and manage from afar, that you manage. Always keep in contact with your custodian. Not to the point that you are micromanaging, but enough to stay informed.
Make sure they have everything they need to make your business a success. On a final note, make sure that you are appreciative of whoever is taking care of your property. While you may be managing, you could not do it without them. In other words, a nice Christmas bonus should not be out of the question.
There you have it. I, Mark Roemer, have provided you with all the tools that you are going to need to make your long-distance management a success. I am going to leave you with one final thought. If you have the choice of managing from a different city or selling all of your property, you want to continue building your “empire.” If you can have homes for rent all across the country, you will have more people to pool from and income from several different locations. Sometimes a profit from a particular state can come with some advantages. Good luck and best wishes!