Long Distance Landlording
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Long Distance Landlording (by Bill [KY]) Sep 19, 2017 3:32 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by RB [MI]) Sep 19, 2017 3:51 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by JR [ME]) Sep 19, 2017 4:00 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by WMH [NC]) Sep 19, 2017 4:48 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Jeffrey [VA]) Sep 19, 2017 5:22 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by S i d [MO]) Sep 19, 2017 8:41 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Jeffrey [VA]) Sep 19, 2017 9:18 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Jeffrey [VA]) Sep 19, 2017 9:23 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by S i d [MO]) Sep 19, 2017 9:32 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by JR [ME]) Sep 19, 2017 9:48 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by WMH [NC]) Sep 19, 2017 10:32 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by LindaJ [NY]) Sep 19, 2017 10:42 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Oregon Woodsmoke [OR]) Sep 19, 2017 2:03 PM
       Long Distance Landlording (by don [PA]) Sep 19, 2017 3:57 PM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Martin [CO]) Sep 19, 2017 5:15 PM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Mike [PA]) Sep 19, 2017 6:20 PM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Smokowna [MD]) Sep 19, 2017 8:34 PM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Wilma [PA]) Sep 20, 2017 7:03 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by AllyM [NJ]) Sep 20, 2017 7:47 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Robin [WI]) Sep 20, 2017 12:26 PM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Steve [IL]) Sep 21, 2017 8:54 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by James [MO]) Sep 21, 2017 11:20 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by James [MO]) Sep 21, 2017 11:50 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Wendy [MS]) Sep 21, 2017 12:54 PM
       Long Distance Landlording (by John2 [MI]) Sep 21, 2017 3:27 PM
       Long Distance Landlording (by J [FL]) Sep 21, 2017 4:03 PM
       Long Distance Landlording (by J [FL]) Sep 21, 2017 4:09 PM
       Long Distance Landlording (by mike [CA]) Sep 21, 2017 4:34 PM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Emily [VA]) Sep 22, 2017 2:06 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by GKARL [PA]) Sep 22, 2017 4:59 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Sue [KY]) Sep 22, 2017 7:08 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Jeffrey [VA]) Sep 22, 2017 7:32 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Bill [KY]) Sep 22, 2017 2:15 PM
       Long Distance Landlording (by GKARL [PA]) Sep 22, 2017 5:47 PM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Soh [IL]) Sep 23, 2017 7:07 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by J [FL]) Sep 23, 2017 7:20 AM
       Long Distance Landlording (by Gina [CA]) Oct 18, 2017 2:11 PM

Long Distance Landlording (by Bill [KY]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 3:32 AM

It seems long distance landlording is becoming fairly popular among younger investors from what I have read/listened to on other rental blogs & podcasts. One example in particular would be a small investor featured with fewer than 10 units spread out from Las Vegas to Atlanta & now looking for deals in Birmingham, AL. Investor lives in Las Vegas and is comfortable chasing undervalued markets with big upside completely across the country, relying on good systems to make it work (establishing contractor relationship, prop Mgr, eviction atty, etc.). It's important to note these investors are not the big boys buying big multis, just a small mom & pop buying onsies and twosies. No longer are small landlords solely looking within their backyard to invest, which I find interesting but it's beyond my comfort level at this time.

So, excluding vacation property, how many miles away is your furthest investment property and have you struggled managing (either personally managing or managing a property manager) given the distance.

Have a great day!



Long Distance Landlording (by RB [MI]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 3:51 AM

All rentals within a 25 mile radius of the Ranch.


Long Distance Landlording (by JR [ME]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 4:00 AM

All my rentals are within one small coffee's drive from my home, approximately 15 miles. I wish these far-flung landlords luck, but the challenges faced by a small. Time landlord investor are daunting.

I can't imagine that there aren't relative bargain properties to be had much closer to their homes. --98.13.xx.x

Long Distance Landlording (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 4:48 AM

All properties within 15-20 max. Totally not interested in doing the long-distance thing again. When we got started we did, because HERE was always our target, the plan was always to move here and once we got everything going we did.

I wonder if those new long-distance investors are doing well? --173.22.xx.xx

Long Distance Landlording (by Jeffrey [VA]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 5:22 AM

Yes, a lot of them are doing very well. Those who (as Bill alludes to above) have good systems in place are the ones doing well. And many of the successful ones are being taught with an entirely different "investor" and "business" mindset than what many typical landlords were taught. One of the main reasons this will not work for most mom and pop landlords is because we try to do much if not all the management work ourselves.

So many things in our society are changing however, including technology, that it is becoming easier to manage property long distance. And because it is also becoming easier to effectively find and buy better deals in other parts of the country, more "investors" are doing so.

I know I personally would have failed big time if I had started out buying long distance. But again, that is because I was trying to do so much of it myself. I had so little management training and I definitely lacked utilizing an effective management system.

Now, because I have a systems in place and delegate the management tasks, it really does not matter whether the property is 10 minutes away or 10 states away. Now when I travel, I manage the exact same way as when I am in town. The theme, in fact, for our last Landlord Retreat in Puerta Vallarta was How to "Manage From Anywhere!" --96.238.xx.xx

Long Distance Landlording (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 8:41 AM

First off, I'm a big fan of long distance management/manage-from-anywhere strategy that our distinguished host champions. I travel with my National Guard unit all over the state and country, so I have systems that allow me to take care of anything with a call or a text. But that's a different ball of wax than what's being discussed in the OP.

Secondly, I think this strategy could work well if you have some amount of scale and kept it to only a few markets. 5 or more units in a market and maybe 3 markets. But 1 or 2 units in each of 5 markets? I am skeptical. Contractors like steady work. 1-2 units per year is rarely enough for them to put you on the top of their list. Once that contractor moves on or gets tied up with other projects...then what? Fly back to wherever and rebuild the system from the ground up? PMs also tend to put their big clients first. How much attention will your 2 units get vs. the guy who has 10+? 1-2 units is simply not worth the hassle for high-quality PMs.

I'm not convinced either that just hiring a local PM is good enough. You have to know the City/County/State laws and ordinances well enough so you know that the PM you hire is competent. As has often been cited on this forum, you have to manage your manager. How does a person living in Las Vegas know if the PM in Palm Springs is following all of the local ordinances about tree trimming and is being sure not to use phrases that discriminate against a class of resident that was added to the City's laws 3 months ago? Or is "hire and trust" the system these folks have? That is a BAD system and how people get jammed up.

I would love to think this all works, but I need more than luck/anecdotal success stories. Show me these onesie/twosie investors who have been doing this for 10 years and we'll talk turkey. --173.19.xx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by Jeffrey [VA]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 9:18 AM

S i d, great comments and you are so right, "hire and trust" is defintely a bad system:).

As you correctly point out, a good system is far more than that and definitely includes the property owner systematically staying up-to-date on state and fair housing laws for where he owns property. By the way if you ever make it to one of our retreats I'll be glad to introduce you to several landlords who own properties in different states and have been doing so for 10, 15 and 20 years or who you can talk turkey with over lunch for three days:). --72.214.xx.x

Long Distance Landlording (by Jeffrey [VA]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 9:23 AM

Oh but you are right, in most cases even though they started with onesie or twosie, they now own 3 to 5 or more in the different states. --72.214.xx.x

Long Distance Landlording (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 9:32 AM

Thanks, Jeffrey! I'd enjoy meeting some of those investors.

I have no reason to doubt that these systems can work given the right conditions--I'm already using systems in a single market and was able to manage my properties (and renting them out!) when I was on vacation in Washington DC a few years ago, when I was 300 miles away in SE Missouri back in May, and while I was in Cleveland for this year's Mr. LL Convention. For me, in a single market, with a decent-sized portfolio, it works. I know lots of folks who do the same thing and we are always sharing (i.e. begging, borrowing, stealing) ideas from each other.

However, as a resident of the "Show Me" state and an avowed skeptic, I will need to see the proverbial proof in the pudding for this to work on a small scale vs. a medium/large scale. --173.19.xx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by JR [ME]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 9:48 AM

By the above definition, many of us are long-distance landlords. Did you know there are 30+ REITs included in the S and P 500? So if you have one dollar in a retirement fund containing the S and P, you have a small share in thousands of properties worldwide including skyscrapers in Manhattan and your local shopping mall. --192.159.xxx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 10:32 AM

I definitely agree about scale. We get the quick call-backs from our contractors because they know THEY will get the call-backs for other jobs. We don't get quotes anymore on basic jobs, we just stick with the guys and gals we know and trust.

But back when we were first getting started and lived 5 hours away from here, I remember hiring a painting company that took TWO MONTHS to paint a two-bedroom townhouse. They had other, bigger, better houses and kept putting us off. This was an established company, not a fly-by-night crew. Ridiculous.

I can't imagine using a property manager from around here to screen tenants either...their goal is to fill the property, period, because that's how they get paid. --173.22.xx.xx

Long Distance Landlording (by LindaJ [NY]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 10:42 AM

6 miles is the furthest. Thought about buying out of state to get a rental on land then moving their ourselves. Found we don't know the areas, don't know the different building techniques, don't know the contractors, don't know the rental market, etc. It is something we could learn and may when we get closer to really moving. I still like hands on stuff, so I would want to be close. --96.236.xx.xx

Long Distance Landlording (by Oregon Woodsmoke [OR]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 2:03 PM

I hope it works for them and wish them luck.

The property management companies around here, I would not allow them to pick tenants or manage repairs on my property. I've seen the tenants they will rent to. Are the property managers in other areas lots better than what I have available?

All the construction people are all booked months out. Sometimes I can call in a favor and get my regulars to come and do my work on their day off. I can't imagine someone living out of state could get anyone to do repairs quickly. --70.199.xxx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by don [PA]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 3:57 PM

Most of my rentals are within 20 minutes of my home, and the majority of those are clustered together within a few mile of each other and my storage garage (easy in a dense area like South Philly.) I also have a few about an hour away at a beach town near AC, but it is made easy by the fact that my family has its Summer house right there. The only problem is that my workers still will not stay over to do work because of their family obligations. A tax benefit is that it is just over the 50 mile IRS boundary, so whenever I go "down the shore" I can write off the travel and food expenses as long as I am doing something to support my rentals (mow the grass, collect rent,show the unit, make a repair, etc.)


Long Distance Landlording (by Martin [CO]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 5:15 PM

I live in Denver, and used to own 4 SFH rentals in south Texas, so about 1500 miles away. Over 8+ years, I had 3 different property managers. The first was a recommendation from a fellow landlord. The second and third, I traveled down to Texas and interviewed 4 to 5 PMs each time, hiring someone that I felt would take care of my properties and help me to make money. They were all horrible. I caught some of them lying to me. My homes sat vacant for months at a time between tenants. I never had a single rental the entire time where the damage done when they left wasn't greater than the security deposit of 1 month's rent, and they left several times without any notice at all (after trashing the house, of course).

I am not judging what anyone else should do, but I would not own long-distance rentals again (and even if I wanted to, my wife would do bodily harm to me). To be fair, if I had gotten a better deal on the homes, where I was making a better profit when they were occupied, I would probably have a better attitude. But between the mortgage, and the unbelievable high taxes and insurance in Texas, and then paying the PM 10%, I was making maybe a couple hundred per house when they were occupied and there were no repair expenses for the month. Let it go vacant for 2 or 3 months and I lose money for the year. Again, if my profit margin were much higher, I could have withstood the vacancies better.

But for me, if it isn't within an hour or so (I live up in the mountains, so the first half hour is a given), I wouldn't buy it unless it were for a flip. --174.29.xx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by Mike [PA]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 6:20 PM

Mine are an hour and that is too far.

Property managers that exist at least in my area are worthless and cost many other ll's their properties.

I usually by those managed by so called pm' s.


Long Distance Landlording (by Smokowna [MD]) Posted on: Sep 19, 2017 8:34 PM

two hundred --74.96.xxx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by Wilma [PA]) Posted on: Sep 20, 2017 7:03 AM

@ Don(PA) - "Down the shore"! You are a true Philly person! --71.175.xxx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by AllyM [NJ]) Posted on: Sep 20, 2017 7:47 AM

That's a recipe for a mess that only a young and unwise person would use as a business model. Can't imagine handling the mold lady from a distance. --73.33.xxx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by Robin [WI]) Posted on: Sep 20, 2017 12:26 PM

The competition in corporate America is absolutely bloodthirsty, and I can see it spilling over into real estate.

I would guess most of us buy our properties the old-fashioned way: we're familiar with our local areas, watch MLS listings, look for FSBO offerings, drive around looking for overgrown properties, network with wholesalers, contact local probate attorneys, etc. Anyone with a work ethic and some smarts can do it.

It wouldn't surprise me if someone more sophisticated develops software that data mines real estate listings, does a statistical analysis to identify undervalued properties, and submits offers based on an algorithm that includes DOM, population trends, and other factors.

Larry Goins has a VA that he pays $5/hr to do a primitive version of this, who submits offers all day long every day. If you can buy the property cheaply enough, you can afford a property manager, full-price contractor, etc.


Long Distance Landlording (by Steve [IL]) Posted on: Sep 21, 2017 8:54 AM

I am NOT young. I am 80 years old and have owned a long distance property in Appleton, Wi for 23 years. It is four hours from my home and has a demographic that respects property and lease terms. I have a nice overnight room/bath in the basement for when I visit the property. The guy across the street has been doing my snow/grass for 20 years. I have the telephone numbers of a couple of very good handymen in my cell phone that can take care of most any problem. I do the screening via craigslist and my outgoing tenant usually shows the apartment. I drive up to do the final lease. This has worked very well for me. --107.138.xx.x

Long Distance Landlording (by James [MO]) Posted on: Sep 21, 2017 11:20 AM

I started "long-distance landlording" in February of this year. I have 20 units, I've been in the business a long time, I'm in my 70s. I have alot of experience in various areas of real estate, but no experience at long distance landlording. So it's a work in progress for me.

In February I moved 800 miles away from where my properties are. When I was in the same city, I did not do my own work. I hired people. That''s still what I do. I do have some relationships with HVAC companies, plumbers, painters, handymen, and other types of contractors.

I installed "CodeBox" on all of my units. It's a lock box that works with an electronic code. So the code changes basically every time it is used. I generate the code from long distance to allow someone into a property if there is a repair to be made. I also use software called Showmojo. It handles all my tenant advertising. It places my ads on I believe 100 different websites (could be 50, I kinda forget).

When a tenant sends me an email, the software answers him (immediately). It schedules my appointments and enters them in my calendar, after they have answers several screening question. They can't make an appointment if they don't pass the screening questions.

It follows up with the tenant to remind of the appointment, or to cancel the appointment if he doesn't verify within a predetermined period of time. If a Prospect calls, he is sent a link by text, where he is taken to an ad of the property, and a place where he can schedule an appointment. It does more, but the bottomline is I never speak to a prospective tenant until they want an application.

Then I email the application, they email it back. I run a screening report that I use here on Mr Landlord. If they pass the screening according to my criteria, then I send out my documents through Docusign, where they can sign electronically. You're probably familiar with it, but if not, this is a legally acceptable signature, timed, dated. I like it.

To show the unit I have a girl that I pay a set fee to, to just open the unit up. I could allow the tenant to self-show the unit via my CodeBox on the unit. I can request drivers license or other ID through Showmojo. I haven't tried this yet. I'm a little leery. But I know others that do.

I also pay a contractor to act as a kind of project manager like say a roof installation. I pay the contractor a fee just to drive by, take a look at the project every day, send me pictures, etc. He's my eyes. My girl that opens apartments also changes filters, drives by the properties periodically. I pay her. The other day I paid her to open a building and let Home Depot come in to install a washer. My cost was $20.

My 20 units are all in the same area. But I don't think it would be difficult really to do this in other areas as well. Like I say, I'm a work in progress on this remote landlording. But I like it. I can get there in a couple of hours by place, a day or two by car if I need to.

My biggest problem is just in my head. I don't feel as in control as I used to when I was there. But I'm getting used to it. And if I'm uncomfortable I hire someone to attend to my area of discomfort. --24.243.xx.xx

Long Distance Landlording (by James [MO]) Posted on: Sep 21, 2017 11:50 AM

Something I left out above, my tenants pay online. And for the few that don't, I have a bank account they can deposit it in. I was doing that before I moved, but it continues to work great. --24.243.xx.xx

Long Distance Landlording (by Wendy [MS]) Posted on: Sep 21, 2017 12:54 PM

I am a single 50 yr old woman with 6 rental homes that are a hour drive of my present resident. I have owned these single unit homes for over 20 years. Yes you do need dependable people in your units, also you need some there to be able to call on in case of an emergency (water leak, fire, break in, so on and so forth because you are definitely not right are the corner)

At one point in time I did live in another state and my rental properties did suffer and I am paying dearly for that now!! As in more physical work on my part (tenants not doing what they were supposed to be doing while I was gone and me not staying on top of them) --73.203.xxx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by John2 [MI]) Posted on: Sep 21, 2017 3:27 PM

All of our properties are within 5-10 miles of my house. I would love to experiment with long distance landlording but every time I think I'm ready I get cold feet lol the economy in southeast mi is still "coming" back... the properties we bought in 2012 have tripled in value ... --70.194.xx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by J [FL]) Posted on: Sep 21, 2017 4:03 PM


I read online that hedge funds are trying to buy up as many houses as possible and rent them out...I don't know if that is mostly hype or happening on a wide scale. I can't see it being a good thing for the tenants. --72.188.xxx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by J [FL]) Posted on: Sep 21, 2017 4:09 PM

There are a ton of absentee LL's who own property here in Florida...I can't imagine how stressful it was when Irma came through here for them, listening to the news and having to guess at what's really going on here, and to their houses...it was bad enough being here and experiencing it. I wouldn't want to be in their shoes.


Long Distance Landlording (by mike [CA]) Posted on: Sep 21, 2017 4:34 PM

oh HELL no. the opportunities for mischief and torment are far too great. a tenant that knows you are more than an hour away will eventually take that as an advantage to shank you --76.176.xxx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by Emily [VA]) Posted on: Sep 22, 2017 2:06 AM

The key to long distance landlording is a good PM company. I originally started buying houses in the Orlando area because the houses were cheap compared to where I was living in CA. Also bought in Orlando to have tax write-off trips to visit in-laws twice a year. We still have six houses in Orlando area.

Damage from Irma consisted of a privacy fence blown down. (It's already been repaired). We've been dealing with Wilson Management there for over thirty years. They manage many properties and are great. We get a monthly check deposited in our account for about 5 thousand (properties are F&C.)

I own and manage 20 houses in my VA area myself. The long distance ones are much easier, once established. Find a reputable PM company--that is the key. --174.226.xxx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Sep 22, 2017 4:59 AM

I think if I were to try long distance landlording, I'd give it a trial run by setting up the systems locally and just see how it works. There's no reason why I couldn't use some of the stuff James describes right now in my local area to save me from running around. Although my properties are within 15 minutes, I'm in a situation where I also run another business full time, so any time saved not running around with showings, applications, opening the place for repairmen and etc is valuable. In other words, from a management standpoint, it might not be a bad idea to operate as if you are long distance even with local properties. If it's a problem, you can always drive over. Gotta rethink some stuff. --207.172.xx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by Sue [KY]) Posted on: Sep 22, 2017 7:08 AM

This topic really hits home for us. When we started being landlords in 1991 our rule was to be no more than 2 hours away from a property. Then as my husbands work downsized or closed we had to move, and it was usually to another state. SO we had to come up with a way to manage them long distance...no time for a trial run! We currently have property in 3 states, ranging from 1 to 4 hours away from us. The one thing that played in our favor is that while we were living in the area, I made reliable contacts with the vendors we would need on a regular basis...plumbers, electricians, HVAC. As for management, I have key people that are my eyes on the property. I pay them a nominal "retainer fee" each month which covers their eyes on the property, showing the units when vacant and keeping me posted. When a lease has been signed and the tenant moved in they get an additional$50. This includes the work to move them out on the back end, too.It is doable with text, fax, email. We have rent collection accounts set up at local banks.After 26 years it is till working...... --199.33.xxx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by Jeffrey [VA]) Posted on: Sep 22, 2017 7:32 AM

GKARL, like how you are thinking or should I say "rethinking" -

"operate as if you are long distance even with local properties"

I have a similar goal -

"my rental business should be able to operate as if I was on vacation many miles away, even when I'm not!"


Long Distance Landlording (by Bill [KY]) Posted on: Sep 22, 2017 2:15 PM

James (MO), checking out all your suggestions now (electronic lockboxes, etc).. Thank you --24.26.xx.xx

Long Distance Landlording (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Sep 22, 2017 5:47 PM

It may be worth it to install smart locks to provide access to repairmen and for showings. I have such a lock on one of my places that I can operate via Bluetooth or remotely via the Internet. This is a shared office space and I installed it both to monitor access and to avoid a bunch of keys being out and about.

Jeffrey, my goal is to have this rental activity as passive as possible. It's a necessity in light of my other commitments and passive makes it more enjoyable. I want to work on the business and not in it. --207.172.xx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by Soh [IL]) Posted on: Sep 23, 2017 7:07 AM

For me, one of the challenges of NOT doing long distance land lording is the fact that most of the properties will ended up in relatively small area, if not in the same city. With a lot of things happening in this country, I feel safer if my properties are diversified to completely different areas. Imagine if all your properties were in Flint MI (because you live there and want to have the rentals close by), or all your properties were in flood area of Houston. --24.12.xxx.xxx

Long Distance Landlording (by J [FL]) Posted on: Sep 23, 2017 7:20 AM


I think you can own in the same area and still diversify your risk to some degree. Just don't have all of them in the same neighborhood.

Mine are all in Orlando but they are spread out and two of them had minor damage from Irma but the other two did not.

The Flint situation was a surprise but parts of Houston were already known for flooding so it seems to me the wise choice would be not to buy there in the first place.


Long Distance Landlording (by Gina [CA]) Posted on: Oct 18, 2017 2:11 PM

Does anyone have any suggestions for performing a move-out walkthrough on a long-distance property? --108.198.xx.xxx

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