How far away from home are the properties you manage?

26 Replies

Hey all!

I've browsing around looking at houses and most of the deals out there are at least 45 minutes to an hour away from home. How far away from home do you manage your own properties? What's your limit for distance?

I try to stay within 30-40 mins. To be honest if you have to go further than 60 mins then you really are asking for a lot of back and forth. As we all know, when it rains it pours and driving back and forth can be a real pain in the neck!

10 minutes.. I have two kids and thats all the travel time I can manage now.. I sometimes cant find anything to keep buying in that radius, though. So I may extend the radius once they grow up a little..

I only ever consider homes in my town.  Not only does that mean I know the market better, but it also means I don't have to worry about managing a property more than 20 or so minutes away.

Mine are up to an hour away.  I just bought a couple of more that are over four hours away, but I'm hiring a PM for those.  I haven't had much luck with PMs, but to grow I have to move outside of ATL.   

To be a hypocritical I highly recommend staying close to home 20 min or less.  

Thanks for the info everyone! Unfortunately close to home there is very little that cashflows. I'm in a tiny town with low rents, high taxes and high prices. Can anyone point me to a blog post, or discussion thread on how to find a good property manager? I'm pretty sure we are going to have to go that route if we want to get into this business.

Thanks!

Edie

In your situation, 45 minutes sounds better than an hour.  :)   Figure out your miles and approx. gas costs for the round trip, and consider how your commute expenses might eat into your numbers. :)   Gas isn't free. 

That said, I don't know how much running around people do with their properties once they are up and running as rentals.  Of course the startup phase will involve a bunch of trips to the property, but that's normal.

Have fun! 

Don't forget to track your mileage expenses, and also, the Bigger Pockets podcast is good listening for commutes (although the episodes are a little short for your entire round trip.) 

We own and manage our own residential rental properties. Buy and hold investors. We intentionally invest within two miles of our home in the neighborhoods of West Vancouver, but I would consider going outside that area if I found a screaming deal.

I choose to keep my investments within Clark County Washington State because I know the municipal, county and state laws here regarding rental property and landlord-tenant law, I know the courts and attorneys here, I have a good working relationship with the city police and county sheriff here, I am active in the local rental association, I have established my tried and true vendors here, I know these neighborhoods, I know this market very well and my business licenses are in place for operating in this location.

I love the fact that most of our rental units are located between my home and my place of work, so I can easily drive by and keep an eye on them. Within 10 minutes is ideal and 20 minutes is certainly manageable. Otherwise you will need to set up a trustworthy team of vendors and have someone else lined up to be your "eyes on the ground".

Most of my properties are between 1 minute and 10 minutes away. I have one property that is about 25 minutes away and it is a real pain to get out there. The ones that are closerto the ten minutes side are also fine because they are on ky way to and from work. The good thing about my far away lproperty (25 minutes) is that I rehabbed everything when I purchased last year. I also have a great tenant out there as well. I have had to stop out to address a leak in that basement after a large rainfall as well as some leaking fitting on the water lines as the area has hard water and doesn't hold up the greatest. Still that trip isn't horrible either.

Our farthest is a little over 3 miles away. I would not manage them myself if they were more than 20-30 minutes away, and that would be a headache. But I am investing in low income areas and our niche is bending over backwards to collect rent and address issues, so I'm probably not typical. If they were better neighborhoods or not self managed I would be willing to be farther away.

Yes, I think we are definitely leaning towards hiring property managers. Even with the extra cost, I think the returns are so much higher further from home that it will be worth it. Plus I won't be driving by all the time like a worried mother hen! ;)

I live in a town of roughly10,000 people and all of my properties except one are within 5-6 minutes from home. The other one is about a 25 minute drive and I hate that drive. Every time I think about buying a property outside my town I remind myself how much I hate driving to my triplex 25 minutes away!

I live 5 miles from town and all of my properties are in town, except for the one at the end of my drive, 1/2 mile from my house.

I like to stay within a 2-3 miles radius.  I just got sick of driving all over the place.  Ideally I would just buy every house on a street or around a block.  I do have a couple that are next to each other.  That's pretty handy.

stephen
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 Originally posted by @Edith TenBroek :

Hey all!

I've browsing around looking at houses and most of the deals out there are at least 45 minutes to an hour away from home. How far away from home do you manage your own properties? What's your limit for distance?

I have one 40 minutes away on good day. So yes sometimes I kick myself for buying it, but I have an excellent handyman who has bailed me out many times. Having a team of people that you can trust can be a real life saver.

we are active duty military so close is a relative term. Therefore I buy houses that make sense and fit my business model. I than make a point to establish good vendors and a good "team" while we are in the area. I stilldo all the management from afar but I have pie ole in site to literally open the door. I also call all the vendors myself. This has really helped me in providing superior service (no one cares about your property better than you do) and cut down costs!

@Edith TenBroek  ,

I'm within a 10min-15min drive of my 10 units if there is no traffic, 1 hour + if there is traffic. But I don't care much! Because I have a handyman that takes all calls and takes care of all repairs for me.. I found him randomly, but proved himself over time, and eventually gave him a unit in a building I own in exchange for rent..

Definitely hold on to the people that are most valuable to you, and keep them happy!

Maybe @Johnson H.  has some tips, or article/blog posting on how to find out of area property managers..

@Edith TenBroek  ,

Another strategy I used was buying more units per address..

I have 2 4plexes, and 2 SFH's that are next door to each other, on one lot, that I purchased together. They have a fence, and you can't tell. Pay their own utilities and are super low maintenance..

So these things are a bit of a trade-off. SFH is usually more hands-off than apartments, but you will have more addresses to deal with.. It's a trade-off...

The majority of my properties are in Phoenix and I live in San Francisco so I use a property manager for everything. However, even if I owned units in my town, I would still use a property manager as I am too busy with my day job to take care of the tenants. However, I do know of a wealthy investor that self manages his rentals nationwide. Before diving into managing a property, you should ask yourself would you like to deal with tenants? 

Thanks for the tag @J Martin!

Originally posted by @Elizabeth C.:

we are active duty military so close is a relative term. Therefore I buy houses that make sense and fit my business model. I than make a point to establish good vendors and a good "team" while we are in the area. I stilldo all the management from afar but I have pie ole in site to literally open the door. I also call all the vendors myself. This has really helped me in providing superior service (no one cares about your property better than you do) and cut down costs!

The team is absolutely what it's all about! My team is mostly a one-man team with help right now (handyman & his crew), but I want to get a little more diversified, just in case..  

And you said it Elizabeth!

NO ONE CARES MORE ABOUT YOUR PROPERTY THAN YOU DO

That doesn't mean you have to manage everything yourself. But there's still due diligence and oversight that needs to be performed on a property manager to ensure that your investment and continued performance is consistent with what it should be..

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