Managing Your Properties Remotely: A Guide for Merced Landlords - Article Banner

Technology allows us to do things that seemed nearly impossible before. It’s no longer unreasonable to invest in real estate remotely. You can buy something without even seeing it. 

But, once you’ve closed the deal – how do you manage your property remotely? 

When you’re renting out a home in Merced but you don’t live near it, there needs to be a strategy for effectively leasing, managing, and maintaining that investment. You’ll need to be available. 

Plenty of tools exist to make this possible. Thanks to online platforms and property management technology, we have the ability to communicate online, collect 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 your rental property remotely isn’t easy, but it is possible. 

One important thing to remember is this: you don’t want to do it alone. If you want to manage your properties remotely with success and profit, you need an outstanding Merced property management partner. This will provide not only the technology that you need, but also the local expertise and an appreciation for the local rental market and its demands. 

At River Drive Properties, we work with remote investors all the time. We understand the unique challenges that come with owning rental property from afar, and we do everything we can to ensure you have the peace of mind you need while achieving the results you expect. 

Here’s how we make it work. 

Educate Yourself on the Merced Rental Market for Remote Management

If you’re going to invest in and manage a Merced property remotely, you have to be very aware of what’s going on in the Merced rental market. You need to stay ahead of the tenant trends and the competing properties. 

Here’s where that market knowledge will help you be a more successful investor:

  • Rental values will be more accurate, competitive, and profitable. You need to investigate and 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. Rental values can change from month to month and even from day to day. Is your property subject to rent control? This is another consideration and you need to know how rent control influences what you charge and when you raise your rent.
  • Marketing and tenant placement requires market knowledge. 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. An understanding of the competition is crucial, even if you’re working with experts. 
  • Protecting yourself from legal mistakes is difficult when you don’t know the laws. 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 Merced 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. 

Merced Property Management Partners 

As you put together plans to rent out your Merced investment property from afar, your best opportunity for consistent rents and a well-maintained property is to partner with a local property management company. 

There’s a lot that can be managed remotely, but an expert, in-person presence is often required. It helps if that presence is an expert in the local market. Why is this necessary? 

  • There could be emergency maintenance needs
  • You’ll want to schedule preventive services such as landscaping and pest control and HVAC inspections
  • Inspections will be necessary before, during, and after a tenancy
  • If a tenant stops paying rent, you may need to pursue eviction through the courts

A Merced 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 quite as well. You need to have someone there taking pictures, making notes, and scheduling turnover work. 

Property managers are geographically close to your investment property, but it’s more than that. We also have access to licensed, insured, and cost-effective vendors and contractors when your property has maintenance needs. 

A property management company is likely to have the software necessary to receive and evaluate maintenance requests electronically, providing a written history of what went wrong and what was done to remedy the situation. You’ll know, through your property manager, what kinds of repairs were needed and when they were completed. 

Having your property managers present to coordinate the necessary work with your tenants and 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. 

Rent can be collected remotely. Lease agreements can be signed remotely. You can even be the first point of contact for your tenants when you live elsewhere. 

But, it’s easier and more efficient when your local property manager is the point person for all of those activities. We’ll not only get the lease signed; we’ll enforce it. We handle everything that simply cannot be done remotely. 

Working with a local Merced property management company when you’re outside of the area is about more than management services. It’s also about expertise. 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 and deliver the peace of mind you need when you’re investing remotely. 

Remote Property Management Requires an Investment in Good Technology 

It’s difficult to be present, transparent, and accountable without great technology. This is an important consideration when you’re going to manage your Merced property remotely. It’s essential that you and your property management partner have access to innovative, effective 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 keep up with the following:

  • Marketing. Your vacant property will be listed by your management company across multiple rental sites. As we search for a tenant, you’ll want to be able to see the listing we create, which will include high quality photos, detailed descriptions, and all the information a tenant needs when choosing a place to live. Our listings include rental amount and whether pets are allowed. We will share information and data with you that reflects the exposure and attention your listing receives. With a good tech platform, your property managers can syndicate a single listing across multiple rental sites. You’ll be able to keep up through an online portal that your management company should also provide.
  • Showings. Managing remotely is easy 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 approved people access to your home. Prospective tenants can look around on their own and message you with questions. Your property managers will keep this process secure and supervised.
  • Tenant screening. Tenants expect online applications, and the technology provided by your management partner will help to screen. We can check for criminal and credit histories, evictions in the past, and rental history. We can verify income and identification while remaining compliant with all fair housing laws. 

Communication becomes much easier between you and your property managers when there’s innovative technology in place. Maybe you’re investing remotely from a different time zone. There’s no need to worry about what time it is or who you’re bothering; send a message through your online portal and your property manager will respond as soon as it’s practical. 

Good technology will also help with collecting and tracking maintenance requests, collecting on-time rental payments, and documenting all of your income and expenses. Investigate the best technology for remote property owners, and be willing to make the investments that will help.

If you’re managing your Merced home remotely, we’d be happy to help close some of the gaps that can easily occur. Leverage our experience in the industry and the local rental market. Please contact us at River Drive Properties. 

Property ManagementRiver Drive Properties provides effective and professional property management services in Merced and the surrounding areas including Fresno, Modesto, Tulare, and Turlock. We have extensive experience with both single-family homes and multifamily properties.