During the pandemic, landlords across the world are struggling to profit due to reforms such as moratoriums or rent caps that aim to protect renters. In addition, checking up on properties and attracting new clients is even more difficult than usual due to social distancing measures and hygienic concerns. Whether you're new to becoming a landlord or already have several properties under your belt, many things have changed.
On the outside, being a landlord may appear easy and profitable, but there are hidden costs and deductions that can cut into your profits that you should consider before buying an investment property. These include factors like the cost of insurance, property taxes, potential homeowner association fees, utilities, maintenance, and much more. However, doing your research and staying on top of things will help ensure that you make the most out of your real estate investments. For remote landlords, this task can be simplified by keeping several things in mind.
Allow a variety of digital payments for greater flexibility
Before the digital era, landlords had to do almost everything in person. However, the majority of tasks like listing a property and collecting rent can now be done online. Especially during these times, handling cash and depositing checks can be a cause for concern. Rent is the most common bill that is still being mailed, which can cause certain delays and difficulties. In contrast, the benefits of moving rent payments online are numerous. Setting up an auto-payment option will help ensure that future leases are paid on time, while rent reminders and alerts can also keep clients informed. During this tough economic climate, clients will value flexibility, so providing a variety of payment options is something that they'll appreciate. In addition, online payments tend to come with more useful perks such as dispute resolution and auditing functions. If you have multiple properties, online software can also give you better visibility in terms of which tenants have paid on time, compared to those who haven’t.
Improve communication between all parties
Now more than ever, adapting to the shifting circumstances will help you thrive during this economic downturn. This means being resilient and connecting with your clients both mentally and emotionally. One great way to do this is through a video conferencing call because reading and responding to the needs of your clients will help establish greater rapport. Unlike a text message or a social media message, a phone or video call is a much better method to nurture your relationship. Your clients may need more reassurance than ever, so being empathetic and addressing any issues as soon as possible will ensure that you’re well-positioned for that coveted lease renewal. Furthermore, you can also clear up any payment issues and urgent job concerns. Some maintenance problems can be easily explained over video calls, keeping in line with the social distancing guidelines that we now have to abide by.
Ensure your screening process is efficient
As a remote landlord, being extremely thorough when it comes to the tenant screening process should be a top priority. Accepting clients who may have difficulties paying rent or cause property damage will definitely affect your profits as well as the value of your property. Again, taking things online can simplify this process and eliminate the need for paperwork. Depending on your needs, there are online screening services that increase the speed of background checks. However, getting in touch with your client may be difficult, and if you’re an inexperienced landlord, you may lack knowledge in terms of all the requirements needed for a background check. To make your job easier, a property management company can get in touch with their previous landlords and streamline the screening process.
Be vigilant and organized at all times
In order to protect yourself on a legal and financial level, keeping a paper trail of all your contracts, invoices, and miscellaneous documents is vital. The traditional method of using a filing cabinet with organized folders for each property can help get you sorted, but having digital files on the cloud tends to be more accessible and convenient. Investing in property management software can centralize functions related to marketing, renting, and maintenance. Storing lease documents, automating listings, and maintenance tickets are some benefits that some companies provide. In addition, working with people you trust is crucial especially if you’re managing your properties off-site. This involves having contact information on hand for electricians, plumbers, and painters for each location and also having access to the details of a local lawyer in case any legal issues arise.
Consider hiring a property management company
At the end of the day, staying on top of all your properties can be an overwhelming task and things might slip through the cracks. If you have a limited amount of time to spend overseeing your rentals, Booking Ninjas can provide the technological aid you need to maintain your properties. This includes easier rent collection, access to higher quality tenants, fewer legal problems to deal with, and shorter vacancy periods. Ultimately, exploring other solutions can help you boost your profits while giving you more freedom.
Because you may be hesitant to leave your investments in someone else’s hands, doing detailed research and exploring your other options can give you some peace of mind during this time. Taking the time to reach out to your existing clients and develop relationships with new ones will help build your reputation as a good landlord, even if you’re overseeing your assets from a distance.
Guest blog written by Anne Clover.