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How to Succeed as a Long-Distance Landlord

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

You may have properties scattered around the country or state if you're a long-distance landlord. This could be for various reasons, including higher rental income or lower property tax in some areas. Maybe you’ve invested in a rental property in an up-and-coming neighborhood but live on the other side of town. No matter the reason, one thing is certain – being a long-distance landlord isn’t easy.

As someone who doesn’t live near their rental property, you must manage your property adequately and ensure everything is in order. All of this has to be done while you’re a distance away.

Accordin to this Chicago property management company, it’s not impossible to succeed as a long-distance landlord, especially if you take the right steps. This article discusses useful tips that will reduce stress and help you excel as a landlord despite the distance.

Arrange Visits to Your Property

Even if you can’t check up on your rental property every day or every week, it’s critical to ensure it’s in good working condition. Pictures and video calls can only do so much – visiting your property in person is an essential step for a long-distance landlord. Even trustworthy tenants may not convey the entire picture, making it important for you to perform inspections and keep the property up-to-date.

At a minimum, arrange for a yearly visit so you can check out the state of your property. Depending on how far away your property is, you can arrange monthly, quarterly, or biannual visits.

Screen Your Tenants

As a long-distance landlord, you have to be able to rely on your tenants. They’re there when you aren’t and are more familiar with your property. Trustworthy tenants can take care of your property and follow your imposed rules and restrictions. Since you aren’t there in person, you can’t perform inspections as regularly as you want.

Because of this, screening your tenants and choosing trustworthy people is of the utmost importance. According to this Denver Property Management company your screening process should include checking their credit, their rental history, conducting a background check, and looking through references. This is a time-consuming task, but it’s in your best interests as a landlord.

Focus on Long and Clear Leases

As a long-distance landlord, you may not have time to constantly go through multiple screenings and pick out new tenants. Instead of opting for short-term rentals, focus on longer leases. A longer lease with clear terms will ensure you have long-standing tenants and they’re aware of restrictions and rules. Being clear about lease terms and rules before the lease is signed ensures tenants completely understand your expectations. For example, if smoking is not allowed, or if a certain number of pets are allowed, this should be made clear from the beginning. This avoids communication issues later.

Be On Good Terms With Maintenance Crews

Since you live far away and can’t be present for every issue, it’s important to be on good terms with a local maintenance crew. This way, you’ll have fewer responsibilities and can call and find out the length of time it will take, how bad the problem is, etc.

Constant communication and a good rapport can result in faster turnaround and more thorough attention. Make sure your contact list includes a reliable plumber, electrician, and a handyperson. This way, you can call them if a problem arises and have them handle it swiftly.

Prioritize Communication

It’s not enough to have trustworthy tenants. As a long-distance landlord, you must prioritize communication so your tenants can come to you with their problems. By prioritizing communication and keeping communication channels open, you can ensure all issues are reported to you promptly so you can arrange for them to be resolved. In addition to ensuring your tenants have accurate contact information, make sure you’re available to take their calls. Doing so will result in problems being fixed quickly and your tenants being satisfied.

Hire a Property Manager

When all is said and done, you may not want to or may not have enough time to put into landlord duties. This is especially true when you’re far away and can’t have hands-on involvement. In this case, hiring a property manager can be an excellent option. A reputable property management firm can ensure you get an experienced property manager who can take care of your property for you. Whether it’s screening tenants, collecting rent, taking care of maintenance, or even advertising empty units, property managers can be saviors for long-distance landlords.

Being a long-distance landlord comes with many challenges, but we hope some of these tips help you find your footing and succeed.

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