If you're living abroad and still working to maintain rental property, you should seriously consider working with a high-quality, full-service Northern Virginia property management team. Choosing a team may seem challenging, but when you know the right questions to ask and have some insight into critical local regulations on rental property, you can find an excellent partner like RentSimple with confidence!
A quick note: This article is not legal advice. However, it can be a great introduction to steps investors can take to manage their properties from abroad. If you're facing a situation that requires legal counsel, work with a competent attorney, or get in touch with the property experts at RentSimple!
Understanding Residential Property Rental Regulations
When becoming an investor and attempting to manage properties from overseas, you still want to be aware of the regulations related to residents' rights in this area (locality-specific laws). For instance, the Virginia Residential Tenant Act outlines various important rules regarding how you interact with and create leases for your future property residents.
In particular, it describes that no penalties can be placed on military personnel who receive orders that have them moving away from the area as long as they give proper notice—even if they have to break the terms of their leases to do so. RentSimple is your resource for North Virginia Property Management regulations, and we have experience working with the residents who serve our nation on the front lines every day. We treat military personnel with respect and with all the rights they are entitled to receive.
Another critical component of property investing is to avoid illegal discrimination against protected classes. There are specific regulations that help outline how you shouldn't discriminate, such as Bostock vs. Clayton County, Georgia. However, it is also damaging for your reputation if you become known for offering preferential treatment of any kind—even when no illegal discrimination is taking place.
- Work with your property manager to ensure that your rental application and process are intensely focused on red flags.
- These should specifically relate to being able to pay rent promptly and maintain the property, not on any identity-based bias that could creep in.
There are also various lease clauses that simply cannot be enforced or cannot be compelled legally; make sure that your property manager reviews your planned lease and offers feedback if any of the clauses stray into questionable legal territory.
Questions to Ask Your Northern Virginia Property Management
- When you start looking for a property manager, begin by understanding what their fee is and what is covered in that standard fee. After all, you want a good combination of high-value services alongside a competitive rate.
- Watch out for choosing the lowest rate you can find, since it may signal that some common property management services are add-ons, obscuring the real costs.
Next, talk to them about their turnover times.
- How long do they have to advertise a property before they have an excellent candidate and arrange for move-in?
- How quickly, for example, can they re-rent a suddenly vacated property within 30 days after notice is given?
These questions impact your bottom line as a property investor, and knowing ahead of time helps you have confidence when you are handling your rental property from overseas.
- Talk to the property management company about which repairs and damages the renter is responsible for versus which items are part of the management agreement.
- How are costs passed on to different parties? A great property manager who takes you seriously will be able to discuss with confidence how repairs and damage are billed.
Another valuable discussion to have with a candidate is how often appliances tend to be replaced within rentals in your area.
- If you find a wide variation in this timeframe between companies, take that into account as you calculate whether you'd like to work with them.
- Remember that some companies will have a good reason to replace appliances often, and if they command higher rental rates over time because of their strategy, it could pay for the costs.
Lastly, discuss typical charges and how much repairs often cost in the area around your property, and the process of repair approval. You may prefer a more hands-off approach where a particular set of common maintenance needs are pre-approved, or you may want to receive notification and give permission before any changes are made at the property. Talk through what would work best for you.
Ready Your Home to Rent: Avoid Makeready Mistakes!
The first impression you make on a potential renter is an important one, so ensure that the preparation of your rental property makes both prospective renters and the final residents excited to live there. Ask your property manager to take photos of the rooms after their Makeready Process—and don't be afraid to ask questions along the way to make sure that you are 100% satisfied with the way your property looks for your future renters.
Need a great Northern Virginia property management company to handle the details while you live or work overseas? Want to be kept in the loop and have a customized level of interaction with the day-to-day actions regarding your property investment? Contact RentSimple today! Our focus is on the protection of your great spaces.
To learn more about what we look for during the Makeready Process for your property, download your free copy of our Makeready Checklist!