The great thing about ezLandlordForms and other technological tools is that so many tasks can be done long-distance. You no longer need to be in the same location as your rental. If you line up your resources beforehand, you can feel confident that you can take on the challenge of managing your own rental, even if you will be managing from afar. As a long-distance landlord, keep these four guidelines in mind:
Property management can be a round-the-clock job
Murphy’s Law just loves to upset the plans of any landlord. As a homeowner, you may put up with a broken air conditioner on July 4th, but don’t expect every tenant to be so patient. Be ready to answer your phone and problem solve, even when you’re not in town. For one example, see this scenario about placing a tenant while vacationing: http://www.reluctantlandlord.net/tenant-while-vacationing-in-fiji/
Get connected with other landlords
When repairs are necessary, it is your job to find contractors, set up appointments, and make sure the work is done correctly. Your tenant may be willing to help in setting the appointment to make it at a time that is convenient to them. Be sure the repairs are being documented with photographs. Your job is to facilitate, ensure that everything runs smoothly, and of course, to pay the bill.
Use resources such as Google Reviews, Yelp, Angie’s List, online forums, and Facebook groups to connect and chat with fellow landlords. Online reviews and recommendations are your best bet for finding reliable vendors at a reasonable price. Once you use a contractor, hold on to the contact information for the next time.
As a property manager, you want to be sure you always “put it in writing.” If the courts ever get involved in a dispute between you and a tenant, written documentation becomes essential. Make sure your documentation has enough substance to be relied upon in any legal challenge. Back up any electronic communications; you don’t want to lose documentation during a phone upgrade or a device failure. Luckily ezLandlordForms has templates for many common issues, and even some that are out of the ordinary.
Making occasional in-person visits to see your property is important. While tenants may be telling you that a carpet or fixture needs to be replaced, there is nothing like seeing it yourself to make a decision. While you are in the unit, you’ll be able to examine every nook and cranny, and check that things are being maintained the way you expect. Take this opportunity to be sure that, as a remote property manager, you are doing a good job.
Managing from a distance can be challenging. With smart use of technology, and a responsive and cooperative tenant, you can do it. Be sure that you screen for the best tenant you can find, and use the most comprehensive lease you can; tools to accomplish both can be found at ezLandlordForms.com. After all, your rental unit represents your investment – be sure to do your best to safeguard it!