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Learning More About Real Estate

After finally saving up enough money to use as a down payment, I decided that it was time to hit the market. I met with a lender, got pre-approved for a loan, and then started visiting different properties. However, I quickly realized that I didn't know as much about real estate as I would have hoped. I wanted to find a great neighborhood and know what to ask the professionals, but I could tell that I needed a little help. To point me in the right direction, I started working with a great real estate agent who was familiar with the area. This blog is all about educating the general public on real estate matters.

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Learning More About Real Estate

Moving Unexpectedly? How To Choose The Best Property Management Company For The Home You Leave Behind

by Nathan Olson

Moving is difficult even under the best circumstances, such as those where you have ample time to plan the move and sell the home you are leaving behind. However, when you are a military family or work in an industry that requires frequent relocation, the process can be much more difficult. In these cases, it often becomes impossible to quickly find a good buyer for your current home, forcing you to consider renting the home to cover the mortgage payments while you rent or purchase another home in your new location. But being a long-distance landlord can be a risky situation when you are too far away to ensure that tenants are caring for the home and meeting their agreed-upon rental obligations. If you are facing the prospect of becoming a long-distance landlord due to an unexpected move, the following criteria can help you select the best possible property management provider for your situation.

Look for a property manager who offers structured services throughout the entire rental cycle

Because you won't be around to handle any of the details relating to the rental and maintenance of your home or be able to actively monitor the property, it is crucial for you to hire a property manager who will provide a complete range of services. These should be structured to minimize vacancies, choose reliable tenants and handle repairs or maintenance issues, as they arise. Look for property management companies that provide the following: 

  • preparing the home for rent, including cleaning, minor repairs and landscaping
  • marketing directed at finding quality tenants
  • reputable leasing practices that adhere to all local, state and federal rental housing guidelines, including the Fair Housing Act
  • ethical report and accounting practices 
  • tenant support to help satisfy tenant concerns
  • assistance with evictions, if necessary
  • assistance with cleaning and minor repairs after the end of each lease to ensure it is ready to welcome new tenants

Look for a property manager who provides excellent screening practices and property inspections 

Additionally, long distance landlords must be able to feel confident that their property management company is choosing good tenants. This is done by using detailed screening processes that verify the tenant's credit worthiness, past rental experiences, employment and criminal history, as well as their ability to pay rent. In addition, you will want to ensure that property inspections are performed frequently, including both drive-by and interior versions, and that the results of these are reported to you in a timely manner. 

Look for a property manager who maintains excellent communication and transparency

Infrequent communication and an inability to determine what is happening with your rental property is a frequent complaint of those who have become long-distance landlords. To prevent these problems, look for a property management firm willing to provide: 

  • a timeline of reports, via email, phone or snail mail 
  • an immediate notification in the event of an emergency or when major repairs or issues arise
  • online access to your owner account, so that you can conveniently oversee rental collections, accounting and basic notations in your property's management file

In addition, some property management firms provide additional services, such as tax payments, income tax reports and other services that you may want to explore.

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