Could you run your property portfolio from the other side of the world?
If you couldn’t, without making a lot of changes, ask yourself “why not?”
Whether you live next door or the other side of the world isn’t really the point. The real question is whether you are working as efficiently as possible and whether you can take time out, either for fun or through necessity.
I know for sure that I could up roots at any time because I spend less one hour a week managing my portfolio, and I can assure you it is substantial.
I only ever meet tenants because I want to, and only then if there’s a problem I’d rather discuss with them personally.
The one hour a week is probably an over exaggeration, it’s a lot less most weeks. Usually it’s just a few emails between my letting agent and accountant and the occasional telephone call. That’s about it.
What I really can’t understand is why some landlords give themselves such a hard time. I’m all for trying to save money but doing everything yourself doesn’t necessarily achieve that objective. Furthermore, time is far more precious so if you can outsource what you do to somebody else who will do it just as well if not better, and possibly even cheaper, wouldn’t you agree that is makes sense to at least consider doing that? Also, if the cost is less than you can earn or what you value the time at why wouldn’t you set up your property portfolio so that you could run it from the other side of the world?
Here’s a list of the things you are already doing if you are managing your property portfolio correctly:-
- Visiting your property, taking particulars and floor plans.
- Setting up an online account to store your documentation so it can be accessed at any time
- Advertising your property on the major property portals
- Organising viewings
- Referencing tenants and guarantors
- Getting an inventory and schedule of condition prepared by an AIIC quailified inventory professional
- Tenancy and Guarantor Agreements
- Taking meter readings on check in and check out and informing utility companies of tenancy change over
- Protecting deposits and serving prescribed information within 30 days
- Re-serving prescribed information when tenancies become periodic
- Arranging annual Gas Safety Certificate
- Checking rental payments are received on the due date and taking appropriate action if they are not
- Issuing notices from time to time as necessary
- Responding to and dealing with maintenance issues quickly
- Performing periodic inspection of properties
- Organising Rent Guarantee insurance
- Check Out at the end of the tenancy
Some of this costs money, all of this takes time.
Now what if I were to tell you that ALL of the above could be outsourced with no up-front payment and a regular monthly fee of £34.99 plus VAT which you are not even tied into beyond the first 12 months?
I found out about this service late 2012 and wrote an article about it. I immediately started to refer landlords to the company offering the service and the feedback I’ve always had has been exceptional. By May of last year my business partners realised that the business offering this service was about to take off so we did a deal to acquire 26% of the shares.
There were several doubting Thomas’s but the business has been a fantastic success and is already into profit.
The business is LettingSupermarket.com – they are members of ARLA, they have Client Money Protection Insurance, they have Professional Indemnity Insurance and they operate in most areas of England and Wales. They are planning to have full coverage by the end of this year (2014) and we will be helping them to recruit new staff but more about that in later articles. Just as a taster though, staff will be experienced Inventory Clerks, they will be self employed i.e. not tied to working only for LettingSupermarket.com and they will not pay a franchise premium. The next recruitment campaign will be in Kent.
— Mark Alexander (@iAmALandlord) March 27, 2014