There are some unique difficulties that landlords have when they’re managing from afar, whether that means they’re out of the general area, out of the state, or even out of the country. If you are a landlord who isn’t in the same town as your investment property, there are several things you want to think about.
Conducting Move-In and Move-Out Inspections
When someone decides to take your property, it may be a month or so before they actually move in. You want to factor that into your schedule if you’re going to be out of the area. You really need to be there for the move-in so you can show your tenants how to use the major systems of the property and get your walk through inspection signed. You’ll want to do the same at the move-out, when you’ll make sure you’re getting the property back in the same condition it was at move-in.
Unless you have relationships with vendors who you really trust, you’ll need to check on the work they do to make sure it was done correctly. Sometimes, you’ll need to post notices on the property to allow vendors into the house. So, if you’re out of the area, you’ll need someone to do that for you. You need a good vendor list so you can trust your maintenance team and you won’t have to fly or drive back every time work is needed.
Conduct Regular Inspections
Every landlord should do a complete inspection at least once per year. At SJA, we do a 40-point inspection with pictures. If you’re self-managing, make sure you give notice to your tenant and then inspect every area of property. Look for preventative maintenance issues and lease violations that need to be addressed.
Expecting the Unexpected
Things happen during the course of a lease. Tenants might get locked out in the middle of the night, or a tree could fall onto your house and you’ll need to get there to assess the damage. Maybe your tenants will need to break their lease and move out in a matter of weeks. You’ll have to return to the property and do your marketing and your showings to find a new tenant. This can take time, and you have to drop what you’re doing and handle the situation.
Property Management Seattle
One thing to think about is how much time it’s going to take to manage your property. At SJA, we did an approximation, and found that we spend about 70 hours per year on each property. If you’re not using a property management company because you want to save money, are you actually saving money? When you factor in your time and your travel costs, self-managing could be more expensive. If you’re out of state or out of the country, I recommend you have someone who can get to the property easily, especially if you decide not to use a management company.
Please contact us if you have any questions about Redmond property management. SJA Property Management is an industry leader in the Puget Sound area, including Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland, and Seattle.