If you're a Foreign Service Officer (FSO), you know that when you get the call to relocate as part of your career track, there's no time to waste. If you're a Foreign Service Officer who owns a rental property in Ashburn, Fairfax, or Falls Church, you know that you need the best Northern Virginia property management company to take good care of your property in your absence. Even if your property isn't currently a rental, converting it into one while you're abroad may be a smarter move than an outright sale.
Frequent, sudden relocations are just part of the job description when you're in the U.S. Foreign Service. Still, moving frequently and potentially being sent overseas can be stressful when you own a home or portfolio, leaving you wondering who will hold down the fort.
- What if your renter abandons the property, or that friendly neighbor can't come and check on your home?
- Who will maintain your rental property or protect your home from a mid-day invasion?
- Who will manage rent collection or maintenance requests?
It's these kinds of questions—and the hassle and expense a sale represents—that leads many FSOs to consider working with a Northern Virginia property management team when their assignment calls them away from the Washington, DC area.
What to Look for in a Property Manager
Beyond the obvious 'years of experience' presented by various companies in the area, you'll need to dig deeper. Not all property management services are the same across the board. You have a lot of options and plans to choose from, so it's important to understand what you're looking for—and what you're paying for.
If you're a Foreign Service Officer and are being sent abroad, you need a skilled management team that can handle multiple forms of residential properties, from single-family homes to multi-family units. Your portfolio is likely as diverse and unique as you are, and the same applies to your personal home.
Working with only professional property management providers means that when you can't check on your rental properties or personal residence in person, you know your assets are protected. That's the kind of peace of mind that's crucial when you're abroad working on international developments!
You Need Open and Responsive Communication
When you're on assignment, great communication between you and your Northern Virginia property management team is more important than ever. That includes fast and accurate rent collection and reporting, as well as simple things like being able to get ahold of your property management team by email, text, or call—in any timezone.
You also need to know that your renters will be able to communicate freely with the management team you've chosen and that they will be well cared for—as if you were still looking after your property yourself.
Online Portal Access Is a Professional Perk
Being able to access your account anywhere, any time, and from any device is crucial when you're in another country—or even elsewhere in our own country! You need to be able to view statements, track payments, view work orders, and schedule transfers no matter where in the world you may be.
This is why working with a Northern Virginia property management team that offers an easy-to-use online portal is an excellent perk. For many property owners in the Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun County areas, if you don't own a portfolio to scale, using this kind of software yourself is often cost-prohibitive. Working with professional property management gives you access to this excellent customer service tool as part of the package.
Seek Out Satisfied Reviews
It's always important to read reviews and talk to other people who have used property management services from a provider you're considering. If the company you're looking at has testimonials on their website, that's a good start, but don't be afraid to go deeper. Look at negative reviews as well as positive ones before making your decision.
It's also important to delve into the substance of the reviews: Is it an angry renter upset over fees, or a rightfully-disturbed property owner who found their residential properties neglected? The 'type' of negative trends you find in reviews can reveal a great deal about the company in question.
24/7 Maintenance Is a Must
The need for preventative maintenance never ends. When you're half a world away from your rental properties, you need to know that any time an emergency occurs, your property management team is on it. Always choose a company that offers 24/7 responsivity for maintenance issues and requests.
Ask the Right Questions
You can probably narrow down your search for an excellent Northern Virginia property management team quite a bit simply by visiting each company's website, reading client reviews, and getting a feel for what each company is about.
If you've whittled down your list to a few favorites, your next step is to contact providers that look like the best match and ask some essential questions.
Do You Work With Many Foreign Service Officers?
This is important. You need an experienced, professional property management company that understands the specific challenges and anxieties that Foreign Service Officers face when they are overseas, thousands of miles away from their home or investment property.
What Can You Tell Me About Your Company?
This is a big question that contains multiple smaller questions. What you want to know, essentially, is how big the company is, who works for them, and what types of properties they manage.
Other questions to ask include:
- How long have you been in business?
- How many properties do you manage?
- How do you manage properties that are similar to mine?
- Do you manage other properties in my city/neighborhood?
What Do You Charge?
Ask not only about how much it will cost, in total, to manage your property, but also what the charge is for each service. Most property management companies offer different tiers of service, and it's important that you understand exactly what kind of customer service you're getting—and what you're being charged for.
A good company will be transparent about their pricing and won't hesitate to answer any questions you may have.
What Management Services Do You Offer?
Every Northern Virginia property owner has their own specific needs. As a Foreign Service Officer, you're probably looking for the most comprehensive property management services available. Make sure you're working with a company that offers everything from marketing your property and screening future residents to rent collection and eviction expertise. If push comes to shove, they need to be able to represent your interests while you're abroad.
Learn More About Northern Virginia Property Management!
At RentSimple, we're committed to making life easier and offering peace of mind to property owners who are in the U.S. Foreign Service. We have the expertise you need to manage real estate across Northern Virginia, from Arlington to Fairfax. Many of our clients are Foreign Service Officers, and we understand the unique nature of your career track.
Our Northern Virginia property management services are all about giving your residential properties the respect they deserve and connecting great spaces with great people to generate lasting returns. For all our friends and neighbors in the U.S. Foreign Service, that means the peace of mind that can only come from knowing your property is in good hands.