Updated April 2, 2020
By Alex Haslam
Managing a rental property is tough enough to work as it is. Trying to keep an eye on everything long-distance is even harder. If you own property out of state or at a significant distance from where you live, you'll want every advantage you can get to make your life easier.
Here are five simple tips for managing properties remotely.
1. Set Up Digital Payments
Collecting payments on time can be one of the toughest aspects of remotely managing a property. At the same time, getting paid promptly every month is essential. A digital payment strategy simplifies the process for both you and your tenants.
Popular platforms include ClickPay, Wave, and PayYourRent. You'll want to find a system that accepts multiple forms of payment—like credit, debit, and direct bank transfers—and processes payments quickly, so you don't have to wait for the money to show up in your bank account. Digital payments will have you collecting rent efficiently without the hassle of paper checks.
2. Install a Home Security System
Installing a security system can give both you and your tenants extra security at your rental property. Home security systems are effective deterrents for preventing break-ins and vandalism, and you can use them to monitor any vacant properties as well.
There's more to a home security system than just cameras, too. Carbon monoxide detectors with digital alerts and smart door locks with digital keys are often included in modern systems, providing convenient safety features for landlords, realtors, and tenants.
3. Monitor the Competition
Keeping your pricing competitive and your property rented can be tough if you're not local. Rentometer can help you keep tabs on realty trends in the area and make sure you're listing at prices that are competitive, but reasonable for the area.
4. Make Regular Visits a Priority
Checking in regularly and inspecting your property can be tough when it's remote, but it's an important part of building trust between you and your tenants. Make regularly scheduled visits a part of running your business.
If you are self-managing and don't have the time for in-person visits, consider finding a local handyman you trust and hire him to do a walkthrough at the time you schedule with your tenants. This will keep you from having to be there in person.
During strange times, like social distancing due to the coronavirus, you can ask tenants to jump on Facetime, Facebook Live, or another video calling app like Zoom or Skype and doing a walkthrough over the phone or computer. This will give you an idea of what kind of shape the unit is in and your tenants will know you are concerned about them and the property.
Look for things like excessive wear and tear on appliances and general cleanliness, and check that your tenant is handling any basic maintenance that falls under their responsibility. You should also ask if there's anything the tenant needs or if they have any questions—it's nice to know the property owner cares!
As an extra perk, these trips are tax-deductible as business expenses, so you can write them off and save some money too. Also, check into necessary communication tools like a new phone or laptop as a deductible business expense.
5. Find a Property Manager You Trust
When all else fails, or if managing everything yourself becomes too much, you can outsource some of the work to a property manager. Having someone you can count on to swing by your property periodically and check in on things can help tremendously when you live farther away from the location. Having a closer set of eyes to handle day-to-day tasks and emergencies allows you to focus on the broader management of your properties and business.
Whether you go the DIY route or hire a property manager, managing remote properties offers unique challenges. These tips should help make things a little easier so you can get back to enjoying the steady income you want from your rental property.
Looking for property managers in your area? Visit the Rentometer Classifieds to see our helpful list of professional property managers across the United States.