Being a long distance land lord is no big deal these days!

11 Replies

I am just posting to say how cool this service is that I just learned about. I had turned over management of my rental property in Nashville a couple of years ago because I was tired of being a long distance land lord. I have since decided to sell the property to buy a duplex here in Portland, and had an appraisal done. Turns out that in order to sell my house in Nashville I would need to invest a bit more into it first. I googled exterior painters in Nashville, TN and this service called Thumbtack popped up. I asked for bids on the job and had several emails on phone calls within minutes (maybe seconds, no kidding). I hope this isn't coming across as an advertisement, I just wanted to make sure people know about this. I know a lot of people are scared of owing property outside of their own back yard, and I want to let you know you shouldn't be! I have owned this house in Nashville for over a decade, and lived outside of TN for 5 years, and have never considered it a burden. It can be a touch stressful sometimes when a lot of things come your way at the same time (meaning work, family, and property management stress), but that is just life. I can't believe how easy it is managing such things in this day and age. It is awesome. I love technology! If I wasn't trying to increase my cash flow I would gladly just hold onto the property and keep paying down the equity. Happy New Year to all of my fellow investors!

You are welcome! I was so pleasantly surprised that I just had to share. It was wonderful. I have 3 different companies going out to give me bids tomorrow and should have the job wrapped up by the end of the week- meaning my house could be on the market as soon as this month! It is very exciting. I have another small project associated with the sale and have now also established a relationship with someone who seems like a very trustworthy contractor in the area because of Thumbtack. You can read customer reviews and see pics online of their work, too. Great stuff!

Great, that you've been able to handle this long distance. 

I have to say that a quote for a paintjob sight-unseen makes me think that there's all kinds of small print, like: does not include prepping or caulking, all subject to actually looking at the property etc.

I've had a bad experience with a similar service that Home Depot had started, where it was a very clearly defined job, that any good plumber could have quoted a firm quote on. I was getting all these quotes, with everyone trying to underquote each other and when I called them, from the lowest bid on, I was always told: this quote isn't firm, I have to look at the job and then I'll give you a firm quote. That happened with 4 of them in a row. The 5th one stuck to his quote and then didn't show and didn't respond. 

I think that those websites, where people quote without looking at the work, some people have figured out to just quote really low to get that call and get invited over and then come up with all kinds of things to add on, figuring since you've already given them the time, they'll get the job.

Thumbtack is great. It will also be a round for a long time to come. That's because Google Ventures backs the company. It is Google's version of Angies List that focuses solely on handyman type services.

Michaela- I am sad to hear that you had such a bad experience. For the record, none of the people actually gave me quotes. We have set up appointments for them to take a look at the property tomorrow and then give me quotes, and we did discuss all of the prep work, etc. I think what you have pointed out here sounds like really good advice for people to keep in mind. Wishing you more luck in the future! :)

Charles- that is not surprising to hear. I love Google!

I wouldn't put unverified trust in a service just because Google backed them with some capital, as Google has a loooong track record of starting or buying companies, services, etc then discontinuing them. And just because Google Ventures supplied some capital doesn't mean they will continue to. Not trying to be downer, I love everything Google as well but have learned they tire of things and move on to the next big thing...  Hopefully Thumbtack continues as a viable competitor to Angies list and others.

High prices vendors have answering services and email, as well as managed schedule. They add money to their quotes to be on the safe side.

The rest if the vendors want to see the issue before they give out a price and often ask for a fee just to come to the address. Most of the small vendors don’t answer email, maybe once a week, can’t manage a schedule at all, have no one answering the phone except for them when their hands are clean.

I know.

I manage remotely, but not out of state.  When things are going well, life is sweet.

The other times, you have to learn to deal with lemonade and you just have to go onsite to expedite.

  1. 2013 experienced a fire in the upstairs and water damaged the lower unit.  That's a lot of work and unless your brother-in-law lives next door, YOU have a lot to do.
  1. 2015 had a nasty unlawful detainer with severe damages.  Major decisions to be made including straight r/r repair or make upgrades?

Never in this world would I trust that level of work to a Property Management company.

Originally posted by NA Beard:  2013 experienced a fire in the upstairs and water damaged the lower unit.  2015 had a nasty unlawful detainer with severe damages. 

Never in this world would I trust that level of work to a Property Management com.

I agree with you.  Property Management companies don't do a very good job of handling damage claims and, in many states, are actually breaking the law by trying to negotiate the claim on behalf of their clients without an adjuster's license.  I work with a lot of investors when they have fires, water damage, vandalism, etc.  Having your own adjuster representing your interests in a claim is important.  You shouldn't have had to come out-of-pocket for any of that damage except for your deductible.

Tavisha Grant, Public Adjuster, Property Claim Adjusters, Phoenix, AZ

Just to report in- so far, so good! I had 3 companies state that they would go out and take a look, and 2 actually did, and I got a GREAT quote on the job! I had a contract emailed to me and am getting pictures of the work as it progresses. The guy I found is even going to address a couple of other concerns for me. I think I struck gold! Still have no complaints about Thumbtack. 

J Beard- what you said is another reason I am selling- I have been really lucky so far with tenants and property management but it will take a little stress off just knowing that when I buy another property here, if I need to, I can drive by my place to address whatever concerns there are personally. I haven't LOVED being a long distance landlord, but it is certainly much easier now than it has been in years past.