Finding an overseas investment opportunity is exciting. But now it’s time to tackle the more day to day responsibilities that come with being a homeowner. Tasks such as property maintenance, sorting bills etc. can be difficult if there is a language barrier and you’re thousands of kilometers away. We’ve broken down our top tips from hiring a management company to self-managing an overseas property.
Finding a management company
Generally speaking, longer-term rentals are less lucrative than vacation homes, however, the financial stability they offer is worth bearing in mind.
The right management company can take the strain out of finding someone to rent your property. Similar to real estate agents in Germany, they’re responsible for keeping your property occupied by marketing it and vetting potential renters. They are also responsible for ensuring utility bills, taxes and repairs are organized and paid for.
Most rental management companies will offer all of these services and will split and itemize the costs for each. This will help you to assess if it’s worth managing any aspects of your overseas rental yourself.
To find the right rental manager, get in touch with other local homeowners and ask them for recommendations. If this isn’t possible, you can always turn to your search engine of choice and find out which rental management agencies have the best reviews. It’s worth noting those who appear higher in the search engines are likely to be popular with potential renters as well. You should try to strike a balance between online reputation and reviews. If your property is in a non-German speaking country then try searching in the language of your potential renters.
Once you’ve created a shortlist, it’s worth speaking directly with them to see if you strike up a good rapport. After all, communication will be key if you’re many miles away and need something sorted calmly and professionally.
Now that you’ve made your decision, read through each proposal and ensure you have an itemized list of what is and isn’t included in the rental management fee. Broadly speaking, these are the main things you should ask to be included in the agreement:
- Marketing and showing potential renters around the property
- Carrying out the screening and legal vetting process
- Check-in/out of the property including an inventory
- Collecting the initial security deposit and the monthly rent
- Ensuring bills are paid on time
- Handling any taxes or property costs
- Organizing maintenance and repairs to the property
Managing an overseas property
This route can be a lot more lucrative if your property is in a tourist hotspot. Of course, you’ll need to factor in any holiday seasonality and ensure the low season still covers your costs. Here are a few tips to bear in mind when looking to rent your home to people on vacation.
Using an established booking engine such as booking.com or Airbnb will certainly help get people through the door. But be aware that these sites will take a commission. Make sure that the rent you will receive covers your bills and any additional expenses the property has.
It might be worth setting up a website for your property so guests can make direct reservations in the future and avoid online booking costs. This is a great way of ensuring repeat customers, especially as you can develop a direct relationship with the renters. Having a social media presence is another way of attracting potential customers. But it does require time to keep it updated.
2. Key management
Allowing your guests to enter and leave the property without you being there will require a key safe box. Invest in two sets of keys and boxes just in case someone forgets to return a key, or one of the boxes malfunction while you’re not there.
If you want a digital solution, you can install a keypad on the front door which means guests can unlock and lock the door by using a code. There are even models that allow you to change the code remotely and will notify you if the door is left locked or unlocked.
3. Welcoming your guests
Create a printed welcome guide with important information for your guests when they arrive. Include everything they need to know about the property and any house rules. You can use this as an opportunity to build rapport with your guests if you aren’t there to greet them in person. Bonus points for local recommendations for restaurants, attractions, and historical info. Lastly, include your contact information, should guests have any questions or if an emergency occurs.
You’ll need to make sure your property is thoroughly cleaned in between guests arriving and leaving the property. We’d recommend hiring the help of a professional you can trust and comes with recommendations. Make sure you have the details of multiple cleaners to call on in case one cancels last minute. There are also great third party companies such as Airsorted and Hostmaker. Should you decide to list your home on their platforms, they can help you organize your check-out cleaning.
Plumbing, gardening, pest control, decorating and electrical work are all things to consider when managing your property from overseas. It’s worth getting local recommendations for these services and keeping all of the contact details in a spreadsheet. A catch-all maintenance person is the best way to keep costs to a minimum. Make sure you have several backups on hand for obvious cancellation reasons and to cover holidays, sickness etc.
6. Paying for bills
Transferring money to pay for bills overseas is easy and doesn’t require you to set up an extra bank account. One of the simplest solutions is to use a money transfer service such as Western Union. You can save the contact details for each receiver, which makes repeat transactions possible in just a few taps, straight from your bank account. Read more about how to send money from Germany with Western Union here.
Whether you’re renting your home overseas to tenants or people on vacation, we hope our tips will help make managing property a seamless experience.
Ready to make cost-effective bill payments for maintenance on your overseas rental property? Start by registering and sending from your bank account today.