Can You Be A Long Distance Landlord?
Absolutely you can be a long distance Landlord! But how you achieve this successfully can be a bit more complex.
Owning property in the Nanaimo area is a smart decision even if you don’t live here. Home prices are more affordable than in some other areas of the province and with the current exchange rate against the US dollar, now is a great time to make the leap if you’re an American looking for investment opportunities.
Prices, while still affordable, have room to grow and your real estate investment will most likely continue to appreciate in value over the foreseeable future. But how do you “manage” it when you don’t live here? There are two choices and depending on your personal situation, one may work better than the other.
Long distance Landlord
You can manage the property yourself and be a long distance Landlord, but there are challenges to this. Showing the property to potential tenants, screening tenant applications, coordinating repairs and maintenance, or resolving tenancy issues, but it can be done with a bit of legwork and some commitment.
Find reliable, local trades people, contractors and service providers you can call when the faucet is leaking, or the furnace quits. If you have family or friends in the area, ask them if they’d mind doing a drive by once in a while to make sure the home looks okay – at least from the outside.
Set a schedule and share it with the tenants. You’ll want to personally visit the property a couple of times a year to visually inspect the home to make sure it’s being taken care of. Seasonally, you’ll want to make sure things like gutter cleaning or servicing the heating system are taken care of. Your schedule can include who’s responsible for each item so there’s no question about who’s doing what.
After each tenancy, review the tenancy agreement. You may find the need for modifications and the time to do that is before you sign an agreement with a new tenant. You should also review the rental rate and determine whether or not it should be increased for the new tenant.
TIP:Rent can also be increased once per year for existing tenants but only in the amount set out by the Residential Tenancy Office. Make sure you know what the allowable increase is before sending out the rental increase notice and ensure you serve the notice properly.
If this all seems too much to handle from a distance, your other choice is to hire a Property Manager. They’ll act as your eyes and ears and take care of every aspect of managing your investment. They’ll find and screen new tenants, collect rent, take care of maintenance issues and carry out regular inspections. And it’s their phone, not yours, that will ring at 3 a.m. when an emergency arises.
They’ll let you know as much or as little as you’d like to hear and report to you about activity or issues at the property. You’ll receive your rent proceeds in the manner you agree to, along with a statement of income and expenses and you’ll also receive an annual statement of income and expenses to give your accountant at tax time.