Managing Your Florida Investment from Afar: Tips for Out-of-State Owners - Article Banner

If you’re an out-of-state rental property owner, you’ll have a few extra challenges to manage that local property owners do not. At Realty Group of Southwest Florida, we work with investors and landlords who live elsewhere all the time. This part of Florida provides a lot of great opportunity, whether you’re investing in short-term vacation properties or long-term residential leases. 

The cities and communities surrounding the Gulf of Mexico are full of diverse neighborhoods that bring a lot of interest from investors all over the world.  

We’ll start by telling you something that smart and successful real estate investors already know: when you’re investing in real estate from somewhere else, it’s essential to partner with a local property manager. Professional management is always a good idea, especially for investors who are interested in growing their portfolio and earning more on their rental properties. Even local investors can benefit from a good management partnership. However, when you’re investing from outside of the area, that partnership becomes critical. We’re your eyes and your ears, and we’re your local presence in a competitive, fast-moving market. Whether you own a portfolio of investment properties or you have a second home that you rent out in the short term from time to time, you need someone here to take care of the logistics and the day-to-day operations. 

That’s us. We can be your local property management resource in southwest Florida

Technology allows you to do a lot from a long distance, but protecting your investment property requires a local, experienced presence. 

Today, we’re talking about this topic and sharing some insight around how you can successfully manage your southwest Florida rental property from afar with the help of property managers who specialize in long-distance investors like you. 

Communication and Technology: Essential Components in Your Property Management Relationship 

Technology is a big part of renting out a home from outside of Florida. You’ll have to get comfortable with the latest technology, and be willing to communicate, gather information, and keep yourself organized with online platforms and tools. You’ll likely have online portals provided by your management company. There, you’ll see most of what you need. You’ll be able to accept rental payments electronically, and most of your communication will be done via text and email.

That communication piece is a huge concern for out-of-state owners and investors, especially with the market rapidly changing and shifting. When you’re many miles away from your rental properties, you need to have the peace of mind that they’re safe, occupied, and in good condition. You can’t drive over there yourself to put eyes on them. You can’t be at showings. You can’t be the person responding to emergency calls from tenants or guests. 

And this is why it’s so important to work with a management company that’s experienced with owners who live out of state or even out of the country. At Realty Group of Southwest Florida, we can tell you that a lot of value is placed in communication. It’s important to our relationship with you, and it’s especially important when we are your physical link to your investment. That’s why we:

  • Prioritize being responsive when you call and send messages. 
  • Always include detailed photos in all our inspection reports so you can get an accurate look at how your property is performing. 
  • Offer those online portals so you can easily access accounting statements, maintenance invoices, and other documents. 

We have to invest heavily in property management technology and accounting software so we can keep ourselves transparent and accountable. You’ll be able to get in touch with us, your tenants will know how to reach us, and we’ll be responsive and accessible. 

This is critical in your property management relationship when you’re managing investment property from a distance. Whether you have new short-term guests checking in every week or a maintenance emergency at your long-term resident’s home, you need a management partner who won’t bother you with every little detail that they encounter at your property, but will make sure you’re informed when a decision has to be made or an unexpected cost pops up. 

Technology must be leveraged and communication must be prioritized to make the investment and rental process easier for you.  

Tips to Protecting Your Property from So Far Away

Many of the long distance investors we work with are especially concerned about maintenance. 

All rental property owners need a reliable list of preferred vendors who can respond right away to emergencies and also take care of routine repairs and preventative maintenance. Whether you’re renting out a vacation property or a long term home, you need to protect the value and condition of that investment, and a good maintenance team is an essential part of the equation. 

Even with the best vendors in your contact list, taking care of maintenance issues remotely will be a challenge. Tenants may call for help in the middle of the night, and there’s not a lot you can do for them from a thousand miles away. 

Again – your property management partnership matters a lot.

Local property managers work with exceptional vendors and contractors who do good work for affordable prices. Our relationships ensure that your property is a priority and that repairs are complete, professional, and guaranteed. This protects the condition of your investment. It also contributes to your tenant retention rates. 

We have our own maintenance company, which means that we can respond to problems right away. We have complete control over scheduling, so you’ll never be waiting for a vendor to get to your property. This allows us to keep pricing affordable and cost-effective, as well. It provides a lot of peace of mind to long distance investors who worry about how their property is being maintained. 

When it comes to maintenance, you need a local property manager who is committed to:

  • Inspections. You’ll want to see frequent and detailed inspection reports, and you’ll want to know there is a consistent check of the interior and exterior of your rental home.
  • A strict tenant screening process that focuses on finding long-term tenants who pay rent on time and take care of the property.
  • Preventative maintenance and responsive routine repairs that will help you avoid expensive emergencies and deferred maintenance.
  • 24-hour accessibility for those emergencies that do occur.

When your property manager has a good, professional relationship with your residents, it’s unlikely that your investment is ever in danger of deteriorating or becoming victimized by tenant damage. By working closely with exceptional vendors, contractors, and service providers, you know that the repair work will be high-quality.

Managing Tenants as an Out-of-State Investor in Southwest Florida Rental Property

If you’re working with the right management company, you won’t have a relationship with your tenants. They will. 

However, you want to know that a good tenant experience is being provided. This is the only way to ensure your investment remains occupied with reliable renters. 

When you’re investing in rental property from out of state, the vacancy period can be especially stressful. You’re not in town to take a look at your home, arrive for a last-minute showing, or put the finishing touches on the landscaping. Instead, you need to rely on your property manager. 

A local property management company can get your property rented faster and to better tenants. We’re here to manage the showing process, we know which online advertising sites get the most traffic, and we can easily follow up with and respond to prospective residents who have questions. This saves you money because you have a lower vacancy rate, a more efficient application process, and rigorous, fair housing-compliant screening that delivers a well-qualified and serious tenant.

For your vacation property, we can provide concierge-style services to your guests to ensure they have a wonderful time staying at your home. We’ll encourage reviews and testimonials that will help you reach additional and future guests. 

You’ll also need a management company that can handle the logistics of tenant relationships. For example, online rent collection is essential. Payments to you should be made via ACH or wire transfer. This requires coordination, secure software systems, and careful tracking. When you’re living elsewhere, it’s best handled by your trusted property manager. 

Find out how rent will be paid and when you can expect to see it in your own account every month. We have a process for this at Realty Group of Southwest Florida, and we’re careful about explaining it to our out-of-state clients.

Your Property Managers Need to Understand Florida Rental Law

Landlord Friendly StateFlorida is a fairly landlord-friendly state, which is another reason that it’s such a desirable real estate market for long-distance investors. There’s no rent control. No complicated eviction requirements.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t rental laws to follow. 

We have habitability standards that need to be met. There are specific things that need to be included in the lease agreement. Security deposit requirements are detailed, and this is especially relevant for out-of-state landlords: you need to hold that security deposit in a Florida bank that has a Florida branch. 

Your property manager will keep you compliant with all of these laws, including fair housing laws and other local, state, and federal requirements. We’ll make sure you’re compliant with your short-term vacation property as well. Long distance investors don’t want to invite more risk than necessary.

Let’s talk about how to invest from wherever you are. Contact us at Realty Group of Southwest Florida.