Author Topic: travelling while landlording? (also look at my numbers please!)  (Read 4725 times)

Russ

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Situation: A friend is backing out of the purchase of a 3-unit to move to California. I might pick up where she left off and snag it for myself.

Concern: I have a lot of travel plans for the next few years, including trips from 1-2 weeks to a year+ out of the country. I don't want to buy into this place then be stuck here taking care of it.

Question: Those of you who own rentals, how do you get away? I understand for longer trips I could hire a property mgmt company. What about the shorter stuff? I imagine 2-3 month trips would be the most difficult to work around, as I'm not sure that's long enough to get property managers involved but at the same time someone has to collect rent and pay the bills.

Any input however related would be super appreciated. Thanks!!
« Last Edit: April 06, 2015, 07:51:38 PM by Russ »

arebelspy

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2015, 11:13:44 PM »
You generally don't hire PMs short term, they take over and manage it full time.

If you want to manage it yourself long distance, get a home warranty, give the tenants the phone number and make them authorized to call in and get stuff fixed.  That's -- IMO -- the easiest way to manage long distance when you don't have a team in place.

It doesn't work for turnover (preparing the unit for rent, and showing it to prospective renters and renting it out), but it works well if you already have tenants in.

Or just hire a PM to manage it full time.
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arebelspy

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2015, 11:14:51 PM »

at the same time someone has to collect rent and pay the bills.

My tenants direct deposit the rent.  For problems they can text me and I text my handyman. Bills are paid online, if any.  KISS. :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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Malaysia41

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2015, 11:24:05 PM »
We live in another country andprwtty much do arebelspy's KISS method. So far so good.  Get a good handyman who u trust. Call her in as needed.

Malaysia41

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2015, 11:27:12 PM »
Could u try remote land lording while still in town?

kathrynd

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2015, 11:34:45 PM »
We have 40 units and travel 7-8 months a year now.
We have properties in 2 towns.

While we are home, we take over day to day duties of being a LL.
When we are away, we have a property super in one town, and live in building super in another town.

One set of supers get a pay cheque, and the other set gets a free apt.
I keep in daily contact with them via email, and if they have any problems, I advise of how to handle the situation.

They collect rent and make deposits.
Clean and show units as needed.
Have new tenants sign leases etc.

They are basically our eyes, ears, and voice.
You still need to be on top of everything, whether you go this route, or  hire a Property Manager.

It works for us.

math-ya

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2015, 07:14:32 AM »
When I chose tenants, I look for people that are handy (among other things!) so in the future, I might find a tenant that I can trade rent for work.  I travel during the winter b/c I want to be around in the summer to handle turnover and do exterior maintenance. On my properties that's the majority of the work. I usually get zero calls in winter, and if I do, it's the furnace, which I would hire out anyways.

Secretly Saving

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2015, 06:07:57 PM »
Call around, sometimes you can find a PM company that would agree to serve as your "on call" person who would charge a small fee for taking care of the situation in an emergency.  Chances are they wouldn't need to do anything anyways so it's no work for them if you're only gone a couple of weeks and you have the piece of mind that it would get handled if there were a problem.  Also, it's in their interest because if you ever moved and needed a permanent PM Co, you already have a relationship with them.

Malaysia41

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2015, 07:01:42 PM »
When I chose tenants, I look for people that are handy (among other things!) so in the future, I might find a tenant that I can trade rent for work.  I travel during the winter b/c I want to be around in the summer to handle turnover and do exterior maintenance. On my properties that's the majority of the work. I usually get zero calls in winter, and if I do, it's the furnace, which I would hire out anyways.

This.   We went with tenants who are handy, and whose parents live nearby and father is VERY handy. The in-laws practically begged us to rent to their kids and promised they'd fix everything.  Our renters are a young family and popping out babies left and right so the grandparents are very motivated to keep them close. 

So the terms are that our tenants are 'property-managing' themselves.  The expectation is that if something minor breaks - clogged drain, leaky toilet - they fix it.  In exchange, we charge ~$200 less than what we would have charged if we'd hired a property manager.  For big things, they call in the handy man across the street and we pay him.  It's win-win, because a prop manager would be >$300 more per month.

Whenever I visit, the house is in great shape.  They've painted a couple rooms and really dialed in the back yard.  I love it. :).  It makes me not want to raise rent this year -but - we must.  Gotta get closer to market rates. 

kathrynd

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2015, 07:08:57 PM »
Just be careful, when allowing tenants or their family members doing any maintenance.
It can end very badly.


We had one tenant who worked for a window/door installation place.
Without our knowledge, he replaced a patio door, and didn't install it correctly..which allowed in weather (snow)
and then proceeded to remove a structural wall between the two smaller bedrooms, which started to collapse the roof, of the mobile.

When we became aware, we evicted immediately, and won the court case...but have never collected the judgement arrears.

Malaysia41

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2015, 08:43:05 PM »
Just be careful, when allowing tenants or their family members doing any maintenance.
It can end very badly.


We had one tenant who worked for a window/door installation place.
Without our knowledge, he replaced a patio door, and didn't install it correctly..which allowed in weather (snow)
and then proceeded to remove a structural wall between the two smaller bedrooms, which started to collapse the roof, of the mobile.

When we became aware, we evicted immediately, and won the court case...but have never collected the judgement arrears.

Yikes!  I don't think our tenants would even consider such an, eh hem, upgrade.  But thanks for the story of caution.  I think if we do this arrangement with future tenants we will spell out exactly what we expect them to take care of and what we don't want them do. 

kathrynd

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2015, 04:00:20 AM »
Just be careful, when allowing tenants or their family members doing any maintenance.
It can end very badly.


We had one tenant who worked for a window/door installation place.
Without our knowledge, he replaced a patio door, and didn't install it correctly..which allowed in weather (snow)
and then proceeded to remove a structural wall between the two smaller bedrooms, which started to collapse the roof, of the mobile.

When we became aware, we evicted immediately, and won the court case...but have never collected the judgement arrears.

Yikes!  I don't think our tenants would even consider such an, eh hem, upgrade.  But thanks for the story of caution.  I think if we do this arrangement with future tenants we will spell out exactly what we expect them to take care of and what we don't want them do.

With some tenants, it just doesn't matter.
In our leases, it plainly states that a tenant is not permitted to do any repairs, maintenance or alterations with written permission from the LL.

If you have enough rentals, and do this long enough, you will deal with things, you never even thought of.
Treating tenants with respect and trust does not guarantee they will treat you the same in return.

Another Reader

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2015, 04:23:33 AM »
With some tenants, it just doesn't matter.
In our leases, it plainly states that a tenant is not permitted to do any repairs, maintenance or alterations with written permission from the LL.

If you have enough rentals, and do this long enough, you will deal with things, you never even thought of.
Treating tenants with respect and trust does not guarantee they will treat you the same in return.


+1

You are asking for a liability suit if you allow tenants to make improvements.  In addition, they may not do the work correctly and damage the property in the process.  If a tenant wants to change something, if I agree, my contractor will do the work.

HipGnosis

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2015, 02:32:59 PM »
My tenants direct deposit the rent.  For problems they can text me and I text my handyman. Bills are paid online, if any.  KISS. :)
If one of your tenants is late or doesn't do a full deposit, how do you know which tenant it is?

arebelspy

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2015, 02:35:58 PM »
My tenants direct deposit the rent.  For problems they can text me and I text my handyman. Bills are paid online, if any.  KISS. :)
If one of your tenants is late or doesn't do a full deposit, how do you know which tenant it is?

There's lots of ways to deal with that.  I have different rent amounts, so that makes it easy.  If rents changed and I had two the same, I'd just have the tenant text me confirmation when they made the deposit.  They all get a receipt too, for their own records.  Also, for the ones who transfer online (don't deposit it at a teller), I see the name on the account that it comes from.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Russ

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Re: travelling while landlording?
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2015, 07:50:40 PM »
Neat, thanks for sharing your experiences!

If y'all wouldn't mind also taking a look at the numbers, literally everything I know about the place is in this spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12LKWjtq6MJheVx_fHZR8yzSiy4o-4wG65zakC8rGHz0/edit?usp=sharing

it looks like a good idea I think? Critique would be super appreciated of course. I just got most of this info today so I haven't had a good chance to really dig into it.

arebelspy

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Re: travelling while landlording? (also look at my numbers please!)
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2015, 09:40:59 PM »
Got time for a phone call sometime tomorrow or in the next few days?  I have some questions/concerns/comments/things to consider that would take a bit to type out.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
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Russ

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Re: travelling while landlording? (also look at my numbers please!)
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2015, 09:51:25 PM »
sure! weds night is best, any time after 5 CST
[Mod Edit: # removed]
« Last Edit: April 06, 2015, 10:37:08 PM by arebelspy »

arebelspy

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Re: travelling while landlording? (also look at my numbers please!)
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2015, 10:15:17 PM »
Updates?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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Russ

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Re: travelling while landlording? (also look at my numbers please!)
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2015, 07:08:21 AM »
still looking into a few things from the list you sent me.

updates next week?

arebelspy

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Re: travelling while landlording? (also look at my numbers please!)
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2015, 07:33:16 AM »
Cool.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
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monarda

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Re: travelling while landlording? (also look at my numbers please!)
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2015, 08:06:15 AM »
Hi Russ,

We own a rental right in that neighborhood.
(Jackson St)

Good location. I'd be interested in photos of the inside- didn't see any online.

Thinking about vacancy likelihood that close to Milwaukee St. We have had zero unplanned vacancy on Jackson St.

Happy to discuss off the boards-

powskier

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Re: travelling while landlording? (also look at my numbers please!)
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2015, 01:01:37 AM »
Make tenants all direct deposit rent. I opened up extra free checking accounts at the same banks as tenants to make it easy for them.
I have a  trust worthy handyman friend who lives near by, make sure tenants have his number.
All my tenants have my plumbers number who is same price 24/7  365 days. He is also trust worthy and able to make smart calls( i.e not rip me off). Train tenants to call him directly.
If there is an electrical issue, breaker blows no big deal fixable next day, if there is a water problem you want someone on it immediatley, whether you are nearby or in Mexico.
It may take a little way to train tenants to call those resources. They are expensive by the hour but thousands cheaper than property management.......

kathrynd

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Re: travelling while landlording? (also look at my numbers please!)
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2015, 04:32:45 AM »
Make tenants all direct deposit rent. I opened up extra free checking accounts at the same banks as tenants to make it easy for them.
I have a  trust worthy handyman friend who lives near by, make sure tenants have his number.
All my tenants have my plumbers number who is same price 24/7  365 days. He is also trust worthy and able to make smart calls( i.e not rip me off). Train tenants to call him directly.
If there is an electrical issue, breaker blows no big deal fixable next day, if there is a water problem you want someone on it immediatley, whether you are nearby or in Mexico.
It may take a little way to train tenants to call those resources. They are expensive by the hour but thousands cheaper than property management.......

Had 2 tenants request to do direct deposit this year....they both didn't have the funds in their account...on their very first month.
So that didn't work !!!

You cannot allow tenants to make decisions on when to call a plumber or or trades.
They contact you, and then you make that decision, after you give them suggestions on what to try.

Being a landlord is not a game.
It is a serious business, and needs to be taken serious.

Tenants are not your friends. They don't 'like' you.

grantmeaname

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Re: travelling while landlording? (also look at my numbers please!)
« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2015, 08:04:04 PM »
Any news?

NoNonsenseLandlord

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Re: travelling while landlording? (also look at my numbers please!)
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2015, 06:42:03 AM »
I leave town periodically for a week or so at a time, and I have 24 units.  Plus a lot of other responsibilities.

Do not worry about a week at a time, or even three.  Rent can be arranged to be automatically deposited.  Most calls can be handled, if you have cell coverage.  Then, relay the call to a plumber, electrician, maintenance company or handyman.

Apartment turns are more difficult, but can be handled.

After I return from any time away, I always post about my time away.  And I post about any maintenance calls on my own blog.