My husband and I purchased a condo in Florida, we live in Texas. We are considering managing the property ourselves instead of hiring a property management company. Our thought is that if we have a list of maids, handymen, electricians and plumbers, we can just give them a call if something goes wrong to get it fixed. Anyone else manage from out of state? What do I need to watch out for?
Managing something remotely is asking for trouble.
Who will greet your guests?
Will your maids be only working for you?
How will you know that tha accommodation is being kept up to standard?
What will you do when things wear out / break?
How will you manage if your guests don’t do the right thing?
A unit is managed remotely here and my cleaning staff were telling me that the cleaners for there were booked and paid, however they did not show up to do the jobs. Incoming guests were greeted with a filthy unit… they have now lost a huge accommodation contract with our hospital.
Those are all of the things I worry about!
The unit has a ring doorbell to be able to see what is going on to a certain extent. The door has a keypad, where the code can be changed remotely. So while no one will be there to show them in, there will be no issues with a physical key.
Our realtor referred us to her maid, but would likely need more than one because she will not only work for our property.
If something breaks, this would be the hard part. We could call one of the trades, but not being there, we won’t know if it was fixed properly. Of course, my thought on that was to do frequent inspections to keep things in good condition.
If the guest misbehaves, not sure what to do there!
Just wanted to find out if anyone has been successful at managing out of state.
You need professional property managers. Don’t leave the cleaning crew in charge. Anyone with a key and a schedule can do what they damn please. Here in Hawaii, cleaners have rented out units with available dates and pocketed the cash themselves. They have thrown big parties and then charged the owners for the clean up. They’ve let their friends and relatives stay. You are asking for trouble. I would hire a professional. Your investment is too expensive to leave it to chance.
I live across the road from one and around the corner from the other.
I have had to be on hand for when the internet fails, when the quests have blown the power circuit, when the toilet blocked, when the heater failed, early check in and locked out guests. I could not leave my properties to someone else to manage…they take weekends of that you need 24 hours availability.
MANAGING REMOTE = DON’T
How could you trust people (even relatives) a thousand miles away to do such a personal job as well as you would? Pick a remote manager with great care as well.
Although there are some hosts here who do manage their properties remotely, I’m afraid that I’m going to reiterate what others have said - it’s very, very hard to do. This being said, I look after a property for an out of state owner but (bragging!) I’m a very experienced host. You have to be prepared for so many eventualities. In the last twelve months I’ve had:
- A broken window
- Guests I’ve had to ‘ask to leave’ because of noise issues
- Stopped up drain in the bathtub/shower
- Guests who’ve needed to be forcefully told to leave at checkout time
- Window blind crashing to the floor
- To handle guests who have been disturbed by other residents
- An infestation of ants (almost inevitable in Florida)
- To deal with guests during extreme weather (ditto)
And many other issues. These are easy fixes but you have to respond quickly if you’re going to have good reviews and star ratings. Your manager should also be firm enough to make sure that guests leave on time and that they behave well.
Other issues are mentioned in the article below.
I’d say it is almost impossible, and even with a PM there are risks involved. Make sure you pop there now and then to check your property out. Make sure that expenses the PM charges are real (since you are in the States as well, you might want to ship new things there instead of letting the PM pick up stuff for you).
I manage my unit out of the state, but I have a semi property manager. I was exactly like you in that I thought I could handle the guests by myself remotely as long as I had a contractor and good cleaning service. We were in town to manage two guests before heading out, and I quickly realized there was 0 chance that us managing it remotely could work out. I got a property manager before I left. Best decision I made.
Three things happened that made me reconsider:
one guest asked for hotter water. It’d be ridiculous sending out a contractor for merely turning up a knob outside.
another guest couldn’t figure out the Wifi, and the problem definitely couldn’t have been fixed without me there.
the cleaner accidentally locked the second door with the key set, and I only realized it when I went to ensure the checkout cleaning went smoothly before the next guest arrived in three hours. Considering I give access to the keypad code and instruct the second door to be left open, this would’ve been disastrous.
A million such little things could arise, none of which could be managed without a person on the ground. It’s easy to think that these things can be pre-empted and fixable with enough planning and contingencies, but it’s impossible to think of every little thing that could go wrong.
The person who I got as my property manager is a long time friend who is making ends meet as an uber driver. The terms and conditions are such: I handle all online bookings and correspondence. I only ask him to handle things on the ground if anything arises with the guest, and to go to the property right after checkout to make sure inventory is okay, nothing is broken/stolen/damaged, and that the cleaning lady showed up. If the cleaning lady doesn’t show, he gets to keep the $75 cleaning fee for being a pinch hitter and making sure we’re not embarrassed by cleaning himself. This has already happened, by the way! The cleaner mis-scheduled and thought she could arrive later–it was an honest mistake, but one that would have been disastrous if he wasn’t there. For all of this and incredible peace of mind, I give him 15% of the booking (post Air fees). I also give him $20 per hr if he has to run around to buy anything or performs a service requested by me rather than a guest. I’ve already had him buy a new garden hose and laundry soap under these terms. This overall deal is significantly better than, say, the 20-40% quoted by agencies… but it’s also not a bad take for him. We’ve had 6 or 7 guests who have not had a single problem/request, and post-checkout inspection hasn’t taken more than an hour of his time. So, it’s a good gig and I see him as worth every penny. Win win.
I’d try to find someone in Fla who’s willing to do this under similar terms. Maybe the cleaning person’s kid? A college student? An uber driver or Amazon Prime Now delivery person? A TaskRabbit worker? All of these types of workers are used to the gig economy and are in a good position to work flexible hours required for what you need. You might be able to get away with 10% of the bookings, but 15% works for our situation.
Good luck! Get a (semi) property manager!
Thank you everyone for the fantastic advice. We are going to FL in a few weeks and I am going to start looking for property managers to interview.
Was going to post on thumbtack and do a google search. Anywhere else I should look?
There is a Co-Host function on AirBnB that should help you locate people available locally to help you host. Maybe someone more experienced can chime in.
I use the cohost function and it’s great, since I allocate the percent fee and Airbnb allocates it automatically on my behalf. Perfect for taxes and accounting.
Unfortunately they didn’t seem to offer anybody willing to sign up for the job–maybe this will come eventually, but I had to search externally to find such a person, and then list them on the cohost function.
The co host is good idea. Find some one is super host to co host your property. Don’t hire just anyone. I have had a cleaning lady, when I talked to her on the phone about cleaning a vacation home, she sounded so experienced. She told me she cleans and managers a vacation home for a couple from out of state. So I scheduled with her to come clean my VH. Not to talk about she was 30 minutes late, then after 2.5 hours I went back to check, she didn’t vacuum the carpet, the carpet was in good shape, but it was not vacuumed. Didn’t pull the sheets out from the dryer, didn’t put the dishes out the dishwasher, the tile floors were not clean, the glass desk was not clean. I had to redo lots of things after her cleaning. She cleans for people never checks, so she just didn’t care, skip lots of stuff if she could. So you need find the right person to co host your VH.
Actually yeah, this might be a great idea–look for someone who is AirBnB’ing already (maybe a roomshare so they are not direct competition) and ask them to be a cohost. They would definitely know the ropes, you know they’re close by, they have reviews from guests so they’re not a serial killer, they won’t abuse your space, etc.
i’ve inquired with property managers locally and no one would touch it. they don’t do short term rentals. however, if it’s long term it may work out. i personally will be hosting from a distance for about 5 months while i am away. i have someone i can call for emergencies, but i need someone to turn over the property. tricky task to say the least.
At the risk of annoying other members who must be heartily fed up of me posting links here, I suggest that you look at this article:
Guests often need assistance even when nothing is broken. I’ve had guests who couldn’t figure out how to use our shower (it’s simple), who couldn’t figure out how to turn on the stove burners (turn the knob), who couldn’t figure out where the drinking glasses are (despite the fact that it’s in our house guide and that I showed them previously on the same stay), etc. You will need someone who guests can call when they need this kind of assistance.
Ill be meeting with a cohost who lives in the neighborhood
Jaquo thanks, i saw this somewhere else on here and read it. Thank you.
Oh, and she is a superhost.