12 Ways to Manage Rental Property Remotely

remote property management

Sometimes, the best investment opportunities in real estate are in places far from where you live. While it is convenient to purchase rental properties online, managing them from afar can be challenging at times. However, with proper planning and the right tools, remotely managing a rental property can be as effortless as managing one locally. 

For effective and expert property management, you may need to establish a system that collects rent promptly, addresses maintenance issues efficiently, and secures reliable tenants. 

This article discusses the key steps for handling a rental property remotely, along with tools and tips to simplify long-distance real estate investing.

What is a Remote Rental Property?

A remote rental property, also called a long-distance property, refers to a house in a different city or state. In other words, this property is not located in an owner’s backyard. Nowadays, investors often choose remote rental properties in smaller, growing towns with affordable housing.

It can be impractical to visit remote rental properties regularly due to the distance involved, traffic congestion, or having limited time on the part of the owner.

12 Steps to Remotely Manage a Rental Property

Whether a rental property is close or far from its owner’s place, ensuring that the property and tenants receive proper care is crucial. Neglecting this could lead to higher tenant turnover and a lower return on investment (ROI) than expected, affecting cash flow.

With the right planning and procedures, managing a remote rental property is achievable for almost anyone committed to it. Below is the list of 12 essential steps to guide you in remotely handling a rental property:

1. Have a Local Representative

Start by having a local representative as a point of contact for tenants, even if they don’t get to interact with the representative regularly. This individual doesn’t have to be in charge but should be someone who is easily accessible to tenants.

Remote real estate investors often utilize local property management companies to manage their properties. These companies are further responsible for managing tenant communication, conducting periodic inspections, and coordinating maintenance & repairs for maintaining the rental property.

2. Build a Trusted Local Team

Successful real estate investing requires teamwork. Building a dependable local real estate team can make managing remote rental properties as easy as handling nearby ones. 

A local real estate team usually includes:

  1. A real estate agent
  2. A property manager
  3. A handyman
  4. Contractors for specialized work
  5. A landscaper
  6. A pest control specialist
  7. A lawyer
  8. Someone to inspect the property regularly

3. Figure Out a Way to Do Property Showings

Floor plans, 3D models, and virtual tours help tenants visualize their new home and see how their furniture will fit.

Once a tenant is approved, the investor can have their local representative arrange an in-person showing or use smart locks to grant one-time access to the home.

4. Have a Tenant Screening Solution in Your Back Pocket

It is always better to prevent problems than fix them later, especially when finding a good tenant.

Tenant screening websites can make it easier to screen tenants online with applications, credit checks, background checks, and secure online rent collection.

Landlords can also talk to prospective tenant’s employers, previous landlords, and personal references to find a reliable tenant.

5. Get a Digital Document Signing Tool

Nowadays, it is easy to sign a lease agreement online. Many of the best tenant screening websites allow landlords to upload lease documents and addendums or provide a library of state-approved forms.

6. Create Easy Lines of Communication

Good communication leads to stronger relationships, better decisions, and fewer problems. You can set clear expectations with tenants about communication methods and response times.

Also, consider using a separate phone number for business to avoid miscommunications through emails or text messages.

7. Manage Rent Payments Online

Accepting rent payments online is convenient, cost-free, and can also improve cash flow and reduce tenant turnover.

According to a study by a tenant screening company, there are four main reasons why landlords should accept online rent payments:

  1. 74% of tenants under 45 prefer to pay rent online
  2. Tenants who use autopay are 5 times more likely to pay on time
  3. Online rent payments are more transparent for landlords and tenants, reducing the risk of human error

Paying rent online is much more secure than paying by check or cash

8. Create a Tenant Portal

A tenant portal is an online platform where tenants can manage their rental affairs. They can pay rent, track payments, submit maintenance requests, receive important notices, and access essential documents. 

9. Automate Bookkeeping

Landlords can manage their finances more efficiently by using rental property financial software. It is available online and can help landlords in the following ways:

  1. Income and expenses can be automatically updated freeing you from having to keep track of spreadsheets
  2. Performance dashboards show you how your properties are performing financially in real-time
  3. You can run monthly reports such as net cash flow and income statements

You can organize and securely store all your real estate documents online.

10. Enforce the Rules

Sometimes, tenants may take advantage of landlords who are not around. They may not pay rent on time, keep unauthorized pets, or break other lease rules.

To reduce the risk of this happening, reviewing the entire lease agreement with tenants before moving in is a good idea. If a rule is broken, landlords should have a zero-tolerance policy to show that the lease terms will be enforced.

11. Schedule Property Visits

Even if you have a local property manager, visiting your rental property once or twice a year is still a good idea.

In-person visits are a good way to:

  1. Perform additional inspections
  2. Meet tenants
  3. Spend time with your property manager
  4. Ensure your property is well-maintained

Travel costs for rental property visits are usually tax-deductible, however, you may consult with a tax professional to ensure you are adhering to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines.

12. Install Security Cameras

Even though there is a strong demand for rental properties in many markets, there may be times when a house may be vacant. It can happen when the existing tenant has left, the new tenant is yet to arrive, or when upgrades are being made. A security system can help deter vandalism or break-ins and give landlords more peace of mind.

Managing Rental Property Remotely With BFPM

BFPM offers remote property management services designed to help you maximize your rental income and minimize stress. With our team of experienced professionals, you can rest assured that your properties are in good hands, even when you are unable to manage them in person. We can help you take care of various tasks, such as tenant screening, rent collection, maintenance requests, property inspections, and more.

Contact BFPM to learn more about our remote property management services. We are here to help you achieve your real estate investment goals.

Trevor Henson

Trevor Henson is an experienced entrepreneur (10+ highly-successful start-ups) and property investor with a demonstrated history of building and leading teams in investment property management environments, maximizing returns for property owners, and optimizing properties through construction management and re-positioning. He…
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Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

A security system can be a valuable addition to any rental property, providing the landlord and tenants with an extra layer of security. It is especially true if you are managing your rental property from afar and may not be always present to address any issues that may arise.

Managing multiple rental properties requires a combination of organization, technology, and a reliable team of professionals.

A rental management or accounting software helps automate rent payments and collect them online. When tenants make payments, the software automatically updates the landlord's account, eliminating the need for you to enter data manually. It also allows them to communicate with tenants about payment details.

Landlords can easily track their rental property finances with property management accounting software. This software makes it easy to track income and expenses, saving time and effort.