Investing

Investing while Abroad

October 15, 2019

Work, family commitments, or simply leisure; there could be many reasons why one might need to travel and leave their home behind.

Whether it’s only a temporary move or you just like the concept, renting out your home might seem like a convenient idea. However, it can be very stressful and financially burdening if not properly prepared for. Considering the below points could help you successfully rent your home out and make your time away a much more enjoyable experience.

MAINTENANCE AND FAULTY APPLIANCES

Even landlords that live in the same town as their investment property understand the frustrations of having to continually approve the repair of the same task, and being overseas makes this remarkably worse with the combination of different time zones and the frequent dent being left in your budget. This issue can be avoided if you follow the recommended advice of getting your house professionally inspected so that any concerns can be rectified before you leave, and those pesky appliances that some find themselves paying for ongoing servicing should be sorted for a good while.

Nonetheless, there are some faults that will catch you off guard. Urgent and emergency repairs can leave you significantly out of pocket, and with the complexity of being so far away, sometimes the property manager will have to make the call to organise a repair as quickly as possible which often means without the landlord’s approval. Although this can seem excessive, the rules (which vary by state) give authority to the agent for protection of the tenant in ensuring they have safe living conditions.

What’s our advice? Have an emergency fund so you’re prepared and not left out of pocket.

PREP YOUR HOME

If you are a seasoned landlord and are familiar with the concept of wear and tear then you probably already know this, but if not, heed this warning; replace valuables with alternatives, or just get rid of them altogether! Avoid the cost of repairing or replacing damaged furniture by leasing out your home with more sturdy and durable items, or simply lease your home out unfurnished if it is a long-term agreement. Providing furniture means you are responsible for the upkeep and repairs of them which can be harsh on your pocket and very annoying being so far away. The overall cost of maintenance would quickly begin to outweigh any rental income gains.

So what about the parts of your home that have to stay (AKA, the walls)? After a prolonged period of time, houses can grow old and tired looking, and part of that can come from the scuffs and marks that develop on the walls simply from everyday living. When you return from your travels, dirty walls are not what you want to be dealing with; whether you’re moving back in, or you want to lease it out again. An easy solution is to give your home a coat of washable paint. Newly painted walls can do wonders for your home in terms of making it look bigger and brighter. Plus, using washable paint means that most marks will be able to wipe off easily, keeping your home looking fresh.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT TENANT

Selecting the right tenant could almost be the most critical aspect of successfully leasing your property out whilst abroad. It generates a sense of security, makes you feel confident and at ease, all whilst providing a steady income.

There are two things that you should consider when choosing from your candidates; first impressions are important, and the length of the leasing period could be a make or break factor. Gut instincts generally always serve us well, so if you feel good about a potential tenant and feel they’re easy to deal with then the first step is probably done. However, something you need to ensure you take into consideration is when the lease period ends and how this will affect you since you aren’t as accessible as you could be. Costs of finding a new tenant once a lease agreement expires can definitely add up, and if your property becomes vacant for more than a week that is income you can’t really afford to lose. If possible, sign with a good tenant for a long rent period so you can afford this issue.

INSURE OR NOT INSURE?

Property managers and agents are often asked if the cost of landlord insurance is worth it. Basically, the answer is yes. The extra cost of paying for insurance will always be worth it if significant damage were to come to your property, otherwise you would have to fork out the money for unforeseen circumstances related to damages or loss of rent. If you were to not have insurance, these things would cause you a much bigger headache than the bit of money you need to budget for to keep you covered.

Essentially, be prepared, be wise, and have a separate account set aside dedicated for any unexpected expenses that arise. This should keep you more relaxed and carefree when it comes to being abroad and renting out your home.

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