The internet has made the world a much smaller place. You can access all the information you need, talk to your family and friends, interact with strangers, buy and sell products wherever you are in the world.
Because of the internet, many people are now also venturing into long-distance real estate investing. Investors from all over are acquiring properties in cities that are several miles away from their homes. They can view available listings via Realtor, Zoopla, and other similar websites. Through Skype and Zoom, they can negotiate with sellers in real-time as if both parties are present in the same room. With virtual reality, they can walk around inside the property without flying or driving to the site.
Investing in long-distance real estate is easier now, but there are still risks. Investors may find themselves facing some of these common difficulties in the future.
Finding and Vetting Tenants
When you have a property that is ready to be occupied, the next step is to start accepting applications. However, what if people who are interested in renting a unit are few and far between?
Letting agents can do the legwork for you. They are local and, therefore, know the neighbourhood by heart. They know where to look for potential tenants and how to convince them to move into the available flat.
They also can act as your eyes and ears on the ground. The agent can interview potential tenants and determine which one would be a good fit for the property and, because they can meet with applicants face-to-face, they might be able to notice red flags.
Although there are so many video conference platforms out there, there are still certain movements and behaviours that may not be visible to the camera. It is more difficult to judge the sincerity of people when both parties are speaking to each other via a computer screen.
A landlord has the responsibility to address maintenance issues within the rental property. For example, inefficient plumbing or an issue with the electricity.
In the United Kingdom, landlords are expected to ensure the health and safety of their tenants.
While researching a listing, investors should also look for reliable services near the property. This includes plumbers, electricians, contractors, cleaners, and other professionals.
Create a team that will respond to the concerns of your tenants immediately and does the work they are paid to do efficiently. You would not be present to monitor their output. You might not realize that you are paying for a wonky pipe instalment or wiring that may become a fire hazard.
Find people that you can trust. On the internet, it is easy to look for and read reviews from previous customers. You can call your neighbours and ask them for recommendations, too. Having a dependable team of professionals on the ground will make your life easier.
Tenant Forgets to Send Payment
It happens. Tenants would not always be on top of paying their rent all the time. Sometimes, they might fail to send their payment because they are going through a financial crisis, or they simply forgot.
You cannot fly or drive to the location to speak with your tenant every time it happens.
Other landlords offer the option to automate rent payment. Every month, the rent is automatically subtracted from a tenant’s bank account and then deposited into the landlord’s bank account. It is easy and it is convenient for both tenant and landlord.
The agent you hire can also collect overdue payment from a delinquent tenant.
Communicate with Tenants
No relationship becomes successful with a lack of communication. As the owner, you should correspond with your tenants regularly. A simple email or text message asking them if they have any issues or concerns in regard to the flat they are renting or the neighbourhood will show them that you care about their comfort and safety while they stay on your property.
It does not have to be frequent. You do not have to become friends with your tenants. However, regular communication builds trust between both parties.
Give them your contact information and instruct them to send you a message if there is a problem. If you are heading somewhere else for a few weeks or months, have them contact a proxy (someone like your agent or a close family member) in case of emergency.
There is no investment that is 100% fail-proof. However, being fully informed and thoroughly educated about a venture you want to explore can save you thousands of pounds and a lot of headaches in the future.