When you’re renting out a home in San Diego but you don’t live near it, how can you effectively lease, manage, and maintain that property?
Luckily, technology gives us a lot of tools that make this easy. We can communicate online, collect and pay rent online, and even use videos to conduct walk-throughs, talk to vendors, and stay up to date with how things are progressing at a property.
Managing remotely isn’t easy, but it is possible. If you want to do it well, we recommend good technology, an outstanding San Diego property management partner, and an appreciation for the local rental market and its demands.
Invest in Good Technology
When you’re going to manage your San Diego property remotely, you need access to good technology. Otherwise, it will be difficult to keep up with rental payments, maintenance requests, inspections, and accounting. As a remote owner, you can use technology to:
Market your vacant property. When you’re looking for a tenant, you’ll want to be able to create a great listing that includes high-quality photos, detailed descriptions, and all the information a tenant needs when choosing a place to live, such as rental amount and whether pets are allowed. Then, you’ll want to get that listing onto all the best and most popular rental websites so it receives a lot of exposure. A good technology platform will allow you to syndicate a single listing across multiple rental sites.
Conduct showings. With self-showing technology, you don’t even have to be at your home to show it. You can have a lockbox or a digital keypad installed, giving prospective residents access to your home. Prospective tenants can look around on their own and message you with questions.
Collect and screen applications. Tenants expect online applications, and you’ll use those online applications to check for criminal and credit histories, evictions in the past, and rental history. You can verify income and identification and even use a third-party screening service to ensure you’re compliant with all fair housing laws while you screen tenants.
Sign the lease agreement. Thanks to DocuSign and similar networks, you can share the lease agreement with your approved tenant, sign it, and keep it filed online.
Good technology will also help you collect and track maintenance requests, collect on-time rental payments, and document all of your income and expenses. Investigate the best technology for remote property owners and be willing to make the investments that will help.
Partner with Local San Diego Property Managers
If you plan to rent out your San Diego home, your best opportunity for consistent rents and well-maintained property is through a local property management company.
You can manage many things remotely, but an expert, in-person presence is often required. There could be emergency maintenance needs, scheduled preventative services, and inspections that are necessary before, during, and after a tenancy. If a tenant stops paying rent, you may need to pursue eviction through the courts, and a property manager with experience in these situations will be invaluable. When it comes to the move-out inspection and decisions about the security deposit, remote management will not work. You need to have someone there taking pictures, making notes, and scheduling turnover work.
Property managers will have access to licensed, insured, and cost-effective vendors and contractors when your property has maintenance needs. You can receive and evaluate maintenance requests remotely, but having your property managers present to coordinate the necessary work with your tenants and their vendors is important. You need to be sure the right vendor is responding. You need to know that further damage is being prevented, and you want to make sure your tenants are satisfied with the work that was done.
Your property manager will collect rent, enforce the lease agreement, and be the first point of contact for your tenants, vendors, HOA, and any other interested parties. We handle everything that simply cannot be done remotely.
It’s more than management services. It’s also an experience. Property managers have put together a number of processes and systems that work. We have relationships and resources that will benefit you and your property.
Remote Management Requires Market Knowledge
If you’re going to manage a San Diego property remotely, you have to be very aware of what’s going on in the San Diego rental market.
To accurately set a rental value, you need to understand what homes similar to yours are renting for, and how long they’re taking to rent. You might have an idea of what your home is worth, but if you’re not involved in the local market every day, you might be surprised to learn that your property is actually worth more or less on the current rental market.
You need to know what tenants are looking for, and how to attract them. This will impact how you market your home, what kind of amenities you offer, and whether you make any improvements, upgrades, or renovations during turnover periods.
Pay attention to state, local, and federal laws. Renting out a home in California is risky for everyone, and as a remote owner, you might be at a disadvantage when it comes to protecting yourself against potential legal mistakes. You need to understand fair housing laws, security deposit requirements, rent control laws, habitability issues, and eviction protocols. Section 8 tenants are now allowed to use their housing vouchers as income. Service animals are different from support animals. Pay attention to the latest laws and the upcoming legal changes, otherwise, you are at risk.
Stay in touch with the people who are working in the San Diego rental market every day. Your property manager will be a great resource, and you’ll also want to follow the advice and information you get from brokers, real estate agents, insurance professionals, and legal experts. Surround yourself with people who can help you have a better rental experience.
If you’re managing your San Diego home remotely, we’d be happy to help close some of the gaps that often come with remote management. Please contact us at North County Property Group for more information on how we can help.