Managing real estate

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Manage your property FAQs

Managing properties can be challenging. But there are many resources available to help you best manage your property including homes, apartments and vacation rentals. In fact, new technologies make it easier to manage properties even if you cannot be onsite.

Should I manage my properties myself?

If you can manage your properties yourself well, they you should. No one will care about your property as much as you. There are many resources available to help you learn how to be an efficient landlord. Plus, a property management company will take a portion of your rents. That said, in some cases you may need to hire a property management company. If you do not have the time available or the property is located in another area, you may benefit from hiring a property manager. Or, if you discover that you just don't want to manage your properties or find it too stressful, you may find more success with hiring a property manager.

How much does it cost to hire a property management company?

Property management companies usually charge a percentage of the rent collected (often around ten percent). Additional fees may include setup, leasing, maintenance, termination fees, and more. Some will charge you for vacant units. Whereas others only charge for leased units as an incentive to keep units occupied. Often you can negotiate a lower payment percentage if you have a lot of units that need to be managed or if your rents are high.

How do I manage my vacation rental from abroad?

Managing property from abroad is easier than it's ever been. While you still need help onsite, you can manage many tasks from afar. Here are a few tips for managing properties from abroad:

  1. Utilize an online booking service. Online booking services can help you with advertising, processing payments and vetting renters.
  2. Install smart locks. Smart locks can be set remotely so renters can enter the property without having to meet with an actual human.
  3. Hire a trustworthy, experienced local property manager. They should be able to help you by having connections to reliable local resources such as maintenance persons, house keepers, landscapers, and more.
  4. Consult with a reputable, local lawyer. This is important, especially before attempting to purchase property. They can help you navigate the local laws, taxes and insurance requirements.

What kind of insurance do I need to protect my rental property?

To protect yourself, you need a few different types of insurance for your rental properties. You want insurance to protect your property and you from liabilities. The basic insurance package is often called "landlord insurance" and includes property damage, loss of income and liability insurance. You may also consider adding disaster insurance appropriate for your area and appliance insurance to cover rental inclusions such as refrigerators and hot water heaters. You'll also want to require that tenants carry their own rental insurance to protect their personal items.

What's included in a good rental application?

The point of a rental application is to help you screen applicants to find the best tenants. Besides the basics such as contact information you'll want built into the application permission for running a background check. Once you have their permission you can run a credit and criminal background checks, verify income and check their references. While you can ask for a wide variety of information, you may be restricted from asking certain questions by housing laws. In most areas, you cannot ask questions that may be considered discriminatory.