If you have a property in florida and (for example) you live in California..
How do you go about taking care of the property?
How do you show the property to other possible tenants if it becomes vacant?
and so on --
WITHOUT the use of property management, or is that the only option?
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PM, partner, or telatransporter
First, I am not giving legal or any other kind of official advice here. But just some food for thought.
It is possible to do what you are suggesting. Is it easy? No.
The reality is that most of the time, you are just going to be making phone calls and responding to mail/email. For example, the tenant calls you and says the sink isn't working in the bathroom. What do you do? Well, you would probably call a plumber, right? Being 10 hours away rather than 10 minutes away really just means you can't easily go there and watch the guy do the job.
So the real issue is going to be, can you make good relationships with people so that when you call someone and ask them to go do a job, you know they are doing the job well, not doing anything they shouldn't be, and not ripping you off. This will be probably the biggest factor in whether or not you are successful at this, in my opinion.
You will also need someone to show the property to new tenants, possibly deal with evictions, etc. Who is going to take pictures and do the report showing the condition when the tenant moves in, and then do it again when they move out? How will you know if they are keeping up the condition of the property? These are some things you need to think about.
You bring up many good points. I suppose this is where a property manager comes in? I am thinking of doing out of state investing myself but only 1-2 hrs away.
If you can find one good handyman that you trust, you should be fine.
Have him put a sign in the yard and a lock box on the door with a key inside (many property management companies in different areas of the country have had a lot of success with this and very few problems, and I do it with my own units)
Advertise: Craigslist or other websites
Showings: Phone call
Lease signing: email
Rent collection: online
Literally everything can be done without you being there. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but if you screen well, you'll be fine.
Schedule for a handyman to go and do a full property inspection every 3 to 6 months, and have them take pictures and send them to you.
I live in California and own in South Carolina and virginia along with ca. I have a whole process with 95% (I even wrote a long article on the subject) of it done online! The only part I haven't figured out is the inspection and key exchange! If I can't be there than I have a friend! It has had it's moments but done overall really well for me!
I have been using property manager out of state for 11 years. I have had no evictions except prior to using the PM's. In that time I have had some properties rented without a single lost day of rent. Others less than 5% vacancy in the same time. My PM's generally find me long term tenants the exception being a building with one bedrooms rented to students.
They send pictures, reports and do not buy sob stories I used to attract when I managed properties myself. I pay 8% of collected rents for this service plus a flat fee of $295 for renting them out.
I only get calls for tenant change and if repairs are going to exceed a certain amount.
I would definitely use a property manager if they only charged what @Martin Scherer pays. That is great to have a PM that does such a great job at that price.
you could get away with that in some of the nicer areas of the country.. but for most that are in B - to C class those houses would get broken into and stripped with frightening regularity... do not recommend this at all in many markets.
even signs in the yard is an invitation to a vacant home a vacant home is a target.
I have experience with out of state properties, without a property manager. I just think of myself as an office-based property manager.
The keys for me:
-local roots from growing up there (although I moved away 20 years ago)
-networking from rehabs; you end up meeting lots of people during rehabs that are not good contractors but are good at doing certain things, such as cutting grass, handyman, key management, photos, etc; i've even asked contractors for reliable low level guys looking to hustle extra money
-use of technology; email, software, spreadsheets, postlets, google voice mail, google earth, e-journals, redfin, Internet cameras, lockboxes
-gut feel; sometimes you close your eyes and hope for the best after doing your homework; don't always tell people you are out of state, use a local phone number
Before looking into property in a certain market i would meet some property management firms in person. I did this and feel comfortable investing 1500miles away from home, even though i haven't found my first property yet.
Depends on what type of property. The low end stuff, no way. Its a hands on job and you need a PM. Even if you lived in the same town you should use a PM. If the numbers dont support a decent return even with a PM, its not a good deal. For A type properties, maybe you can do it without. But really, is the hassle worth it?
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