A landlord's guide to effective remote management

Last updated
May 4, 2024
Discover how to build a strong local team, leverage technology for efficient oversight, and improve tenant communications. Learn innovative ways to secure your properties, streamline maintenance, and effectively market your rentals.

As a property owner with investments spread far and wide, you face a daunting logistical challenge. But with the right strategies in place, you can ensure the security and profitability of your investments.

Just remember, remote property management is all about team building. You'll need a reliable group of professionals who can handle the on-the-ground tasks for you. Your team includes contractors who can take care of maintenance, repairs, and renovations quickly and efficiently; experienced inspectors who can regularly assess the condition of your properties and provide you with detailed reports; and property managers who oversee day-to-day operations, communicate with tenants, and collect rent.

Here are some tips on managing your properties from afar:

Develop a communications system

Good management is impossible without effective communication channels so you can stay informed and respond quickly during emergencies.

First, make sure each team member is clear about expectations from the get-go. Take time to sit down (virtually or in person) and hash out all the details. Talk about your communication preferences. How often do you expect updates on projects? What's the best way for them to reach you in case of an emergency?

Getting all of this ironed out upfront can help prevent misunderstandings down the line. And don't wait until something goes wrong to reach out. Schedule regular meetings to discuss ongoing projects, upcoming maintenance needs, and any potential issues that may arise. Failure to touch base on a scheduled basis will lead to communication lapses. Make updates nonnegotiable.

Second, implement a single, user-friendly platform where all team members can communicate, share documents, and track progress. But make sure to spend time researching the best platform. It could be a project management tool like Asana or Trello, or a communication app like Zoom, Slack or Microsoft Teams. Having a dedicated space for team communication helps keep everyone organized and ensures that important information doesn't get lost in endless email chains.

Third, establish a straightforward escalation process that outlines who to contact, how to reach them, and what steps to take in different scenarios. No one should be confused about what to do when trouble arrives. By having a well-defined escalation process, you can address issues promptly and effectively.

Security means eyes on your property

This is especially important when you have vacant properties, which can be vulnerable to squatters and vandalism. To lessen these risks, you'll want to invest in some security measures. Consider installing cellular-enabled security cameras that allow you to keep an eye on your properties remotely using your smartphone. Smart locks or lockboxes are also a great idea. They let you control access to your properties, especially during tenant turnover or when showing units to prospective renters. And don't skimp on regular inspections — these will help ensure your properties remain secure and well-maintained.

When it comes to showing units to prospective tenants, you'll need a solid system in place. Consider video conferencing tools like Zoom, which allow you to conduct virtual property tours so you can walk prospective tenants through the unit and answer their questions in real time. Or, you could partner with a local leasing agent who can conduct in-person showings on your behalf and provide feedback on prospective tenants.

Streamline maintenance and repairs

Efficiently handling maintenance and repairs is crucial for protecting your investment and minimizing tenant turnover.

To streamline these processes, start by establishing a clear system for tenants to report maintenance issues, such as an online portal or dedicated phone line, which virtual employees can manage. Then, prioritize and categorize these requests based on urgency and potential impact on the property's condition.

Don't forget to review and analyze your maintenance data regularly, which will help you identify patterns and proactively address recurring problems.

Streamline maintenance and repairs

Market your properties effectively

Just because you're not there in person doesn't mean you can't attract great tenants. Leverage the power of online

listings and social media to showcase your properties in the best light. Make sure to include high-quality photos and detailed descriptions that highlight the unique features and benefits of each unit. Don't forget to engage with potential tenants.

Set up a system for prompt responses to inquiries and be available to answer any questions they may have.

Maximize profitability

Of course, the bottom line determines the success of your remote property management strategy. To maximize profitability, regularly assess market rental rates and adjust your pricing accordingly to ensure optimal income from your properties. It's also essential to implement a reliable tenant screening process to minimize the risk of defaults, property damage, and evictions.

Keep an eye out for opportunities to reduce operating costs, such as negotiating better rates with contractors or implementing energy-efficient upgrades. And continuously monitor key performance indicators, like occupancy rates, rent collection, and maintenance costs, which will help you identify areas for improvement and ensure that your properties remain profitable.

Managing remote properties can seem overwhelming at first, but by focusing on these critical areas — building a trusted local team, developing a clear communications system, prioritizing property security, streamlining maintenance and repair processes, effective marketing, and optimizing for profitability — you can absolutely make it work.

Anne Lackey is the co-founder of HireSmart Virtual Employees, a full-service HR firm helping others recruit, hire & train top global talent.

About the author
Anne Lackey
Anne Lackey is an author, coach, consultant, and cofounder of HireSmart Virtual Employees. In the past two decades, she and her husband Mark have started seven successful businesses and love to help other business owners achieve results of growing or gaining more time and freedom. She has been a real estate Broker/Owner since 2005 and donates her time and scholarships to teach kids abut business and entrepreneurship in the US and Philippines, through her nonprofit HireSmart Cares.
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