The life of an Arlington rental property owner—no matter where that life takes you—is one of responsibility. Whether you have the perfect renters or not, your property must be well-maintained at all times to meet the requirements of habitable housing in accordance with rental law in the DMV area.
If you fail to maintain your property, you’ll not only experience the sting of costly maintenance and repairs but potentially also be facing litigation while you're overseas on assignment. This can be disastrous if you're in the military, working as a Foreign Service Officer, or find yourself abroad in some other role.
However, inspecting your investment property to ensure it's in excellent condition (and being cared for like it should be) takes on a new dimension of difficulty when you exist within a different time zone. If you find yourself struggling with the demands of your rental property while overseas, it may be time to leave the work in the hands of expert Arlington property management.
Don’t Stress, Go Professional
Asking a neighbor or trusted family member to check on your renters and rental property while you're away is beyond unprofessional; it can even violate your lease agreement and your renter's privacy. This is not something you can afford to leave in the hands of anyone besides a qualified professional.
Ultimately, this means you'll need an experienced property manager to look after your property while you’re overseas. Not only will a property manager take regular trips to your property to keep an eye on things, but they’ll know what to look for during an inspection—and what to do in case an emergency comes up.
If you haven’t hired professional Arlington property management services yet, it’s not too late—just make sure to do your research. Have prospective property managers show you their portfolio and see if you can pick up on their current projects. This will give you a good idea of how they manage properties—and, more importantly, how they’ll manage yours.
- When vetting property management companies, it's worth your time to look at the reviews they have online from both renters and property owners.
- Evaluate whether the company in question has a track record of working with investors who have relocated overseas.
- Try and get a sense of their game plan for your property, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re leaving one of your most precious assets in the hands of someone else.
If your property manager is the kind that specifically lists that they conduct inspections as part of their services, you're heading in the right direction. It doesn’t help to hire an Arlington property management company that doesn't include inspections as part of their management fee.
That said, it's worth considering how often they intend to inspect your property: once per year isn't often enough to ensure your renters are upholding their end of the lease with respect to everything from lawn care in single-family homes to HVAC filter replacement.
If the number of rental property inspections they offer isn’t to your liking, see if you can request more. Try your luck at having them send you details of every inspection, with pictures or paperwork to cement your certainty.
The best property managers always employ technology so that property owners can check on the condition of their rental homes from anywhere they happen to have an internet connection, typically in the form of an online portal. When you're abroad, this is a crucial feature to look for, so you can still check on your investments when you want to.
When it comes to the flow of information, it makes financial sense for you to know what’s going on every month or so. Let your property manager know how often you’d like to receive updates and how hands-on you prefer to be with the management of your rental portfolio. When you make your needs and expectations clear, the right partner is willing to accommodate.
Our Inspections Are Your Protection
Besides making sure that everything is operating to code, an inspection can also help to determine if you need to deduct from your renter’s security deposit. Time truly is money, and the longer it takes to send someone to fix something, the more damage is done—resulting in a higher repair bill.
A rental property inspection is your best friend; the more you do it, the better it is for your financial goals. If your property management options don't at least offer inspections during the move-in and move-out process, find someone else who will. You can't establish a baseline of quality for security deposit deductions if you have no inspections for comparison.
At Renters Warehouse DC/NOVA, we offer both move-in and move-out property evaluations as well as property condition surveys upon request for our property owners as part of our pricing structure. You can learn more about how we serve overseas investors just by getting in touch with us!