Absentee Property Management - How to Manage Your Properties Abroad

Learn the time-tested methods of absentee property management today - Manage your tenants and rental properties without ever being there.

The most important question for an absentee landlord is always going to be, "Who will manage my overseas properties?"

Option 1: Manage Overseas Properties by Yourself

While the Internet has made it less challenging to manage rental property abroad these days, doing it by yourself is still not for the faint of heart.

How well do you know the language and lifestyle of the foreign country? If you can't even understand what your tenants are speaking, then be prepared for a world of miscommunication and misunderstandings.

The lifestyle and culture of your foreign tenants also plays a crucial role in absentee property management. Landlords abroad will tell you that people from a gracious society tends to produce better tenants in general.

For example, landlords who own rental properties in Japan and Korea tend to have an easier time due to the living habits of local residents. Most Japanese and Koreans do not wear footwear at home and they prefer an uncluttered home. And since it's more common for them to sit and sleep on the floor, they tend to keep it cleaner as well.

On top of that, an absentee landlord also needs to have flexible working hours to tackle any emergency or ugly situation that rear up. While you don't have turn in person, you may still have to answer distress calls from foreign tenants at weird times of the day.

Benefits of Managing Properties Abroad Yourself

A major benefit of going solo is lower expenses since you don't have to hire a property manager. Depending on the location and the size of your rental property, you can expect a savings of 5 to 10% of the monthly rent.

Foreign property management has gotten easier over time now that we can do so many things online. In the past, landlords abroad had to collect their rent by checks - which took up to 30 days to clear and incurred hefty bank charges.

Nowadays there are full-featured property management programs like Buildium and LandlordMax which allows you to handle most landlord tasks online - such as collecting rent, updating tenant information, preparing lease documents and property accounting.

More good news: If you own rental properties abroad, the travel expenses incurred while managing your overseas properties might even be considered as rental property tax deductions.

We do have to give you a gentle word of caution though: While it's possible to do it all by yourself, there is a higher risk of unpaid rent and unreported property damages.

While absentee property management by yourself is one way to go, most absentee landlords choose to hire someone else for the job. Find out why:

NEXT: Hiring a Property Manager for Absentee Property Management