Video: Should You Hire A Property Manager When You Move Abroad?

should you Hire a property manager

  • + Should you hire a property manager to rent your home and manage the details while you are out of the country?
  • + What does a property manager do?
  • + What is the alternative to hiring a property manager?
  • + How do you find a property manager?
  • + How much does a property manager cost?

Today I have a reader inspired question regarding what to do with your home when you move abroad temporarily.

If you own your home and you want to move abroad, you’re going to have to decide what to do with your home.

If you decide to keep it, do you hire a property manager to take care of the tenants or do you do it all yourself while you are abroad.

I can’t answer that question for you but I can give you enough information so that you can decide for yourself.

Stay tuned to find the answers to the above questions and watch me do a quick 3 second dance at the end where I look like a total moron.. (Adrienne, enjoy….… )

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t-shirt Photo via Zazzle

Sarah’s Situation

Sarah is in her mid 50’s. She and her husband own their home and are thinking about spending a year abroad. They want to rent their home and possibly hire a property manager to handle the logistics of renting their property and handling the day to day needs of the tenants.

P.S.

Check out Sarah’s site Called Hollistic Hot Sauce

So what do you think?  Should Sarah hire a property manager?

Sylviane Nuccio

Hi Annie,

Like the dance :)

Very good advice here and I see that this post could be a great link on my blog post interview of you :)

This is definitely a great question that most people wanting to move abroad may have.

When I left Paris I was living in a studio and when I decided to stay my mother and brother did the move for me. Thinking back I think I was very fortunate.

Thanks, Annie. How are you doing with my questions ;)? Everything OK?
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    Annie Andre

    Sylviane,
    It’s great to have family help or friends help. It can be a real life saver. I think a property manager would be a good idea for someone who was totally lost on the whole concept or who had multiple properties othwerwise it’s not that hard. .
    ps
    i sent over the responses to the questions…

      Sylviane Nuccio

      Hurray!!!!! was actually kinda worry about you not hearing anything back since your tip :)
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      Annie Andre

      I know, i felt totally crippled with no internet connection. You won’t believe how hard it is to find an internet connection for free in marseille. I went to Noilles coffee shop, starbucks, and then i went to the library and finally was able to get one but it was the same day my internet connection came up and that’s when i sent you the questions. LOL.. We are so dependent on the internet. it’s kind of scarry.

      Sylviane Nuccio

      Oops, didn’t receive that email :( Can you send it again? I would love to have this up for my post tomorrow, but if not, then I will post your interview next week.

      I know what yo mean, I can’t be a day without internet anymore :)
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      Annie Andre

      Sylviane,
      check your email. Questionaire was just sent.

      Annie Andre

      I just got an email saying my emails to you were bounced. did you get the questions

      Sylviane Nuccio

      Annie,

      No,I don’t have the questionaire, still. First thing I check as soon as I got up:)

      I have all the other emails but not this one. Did you hit the button reply to send it?

      I am going to send you another email right now with another email address where you can send it to. I don’t understand what’s going on.

      Sorry about all that. Thanks.

      Annie Andre

      Sylviane,
      i sent it again. to that new email…hope you got it.

Alan

Hey Annie,

maybe the US is different but in my experience a mgt company will do the bare minimum for their 10% – they’ll find you people and that’s about it. Then you pay an ongoing commission for them to do precisely nothing.

Most companies (in the UK and France at least) then have a higher commission rate for management but even then the best you’re going to get is that they will be a point of contact for the tenants and get contractors to fix the problem – but I’m not sure if they’re going to get you the best rate or even a sensible deal each time.

For example if it’s a leak they’ll call a plumber – he may have a call-out rate and you get the charged passed through to you but someone just threw a teddy down the toilet and though the plumber found the teddy, he wasn’t really needed).

just saying…

If possible get someone you trust involved – even if it’s just getting them to check over the place every once in a while.
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    Annie Andre

    Alan,
    Wow looks like there’s a wide open market for good property managers in France and the UK.

    All the companies i’ve worked for always handle the things i mentioned in the video. If they don’t i don’t hire them. But having said that, i don’t do all my own property managing stuff now. I agree getting someone you know is probably the best but not always possible.

    I give my tenants a break if they handle something on their own. It saves me the headache… I hate headaches.

Adrienne

Hey Annie,

LOVE that dance girl and I was chuckling right there with you. Okay, that was the fun part.

You sure do cover a lot of stuff I would have never thought about. We had rental property a good portion of my life and it was a royal pain in the you know what. But, we did it all ourselves and back then there were no background checks, etc. so I wouldn’t even know how to go about any of that. I think hiring someone to take care of everything is definitely the best way to go. That way, you don’t have to constantly worry about your home.

Great tips and love your video! Hope you guys are having a blast!

~Adrienne
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    Annie Andre

    Adrienne,

    It does get to be a bit daunting to manage property but once you get it going, it pretty much takes care of itself… It’s just the initial stages of finding a tenant, and then there’s the issue of if something goes wrong. It’s not for the faint at heart.
    ps
    we had a blast.

Bill Dorman

Cute dance; was that a stick of deodorant you were talking in to?

I would probably choose a property manager if I was abroad; but then again I would probably choose one if I was a dude too…..just sayin’….
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    Annie Andre

    Very funny Bill D.
    It was my portable microphone not a bar of soap..

    I think lots of people would choose to hire a property manager, It’s why so many exist right? I wonder if men are more or less likely to hire a property manager?

Lenia

Hi Annie,
Nice dance and nice advice. When I left Paris to travel around the world I left my apartment too. Off course that was not my own apart but i was renting it so the easiest solution was to move ll my stuff elsewhere and get my apart free. I moved my stuff into friends’ apartments but that is not always possible especially when you live in a big packed city like Paris. So, for that there are special places where people can stock their stuff for a period. Off course that is a paying service but it is a solution!
Thank you for the video.
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    Annie Andre

    Lenia,
    renting vs owning does present it’s own set of challenges… In some ways it’s easier but in some ways it’s harder.. The only bad thing is when and if you return to your home country, you have to look for a new place to live in vs if you own your home, you can just move back in..

Jonathan

Hi Annie!

I’ll be traveling to the European countries this summer. I do have a property manager at my place (house). The reason being is because I rent it out. I use sites such as Airbnb or Vrbo to make sure the places gets booked. It’s a cool place to view; I know for sure it’ll help you. Especially give you some extra cash in your pockets. (:
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    Annie Andre

    That sounds like a great idea. I actually use VRBO to find properties but son’t you have to handle all the logistics of getting the key to the renters though, and collecting the rent and cleaning the house?

Noch Noch

Hmmm – I’d prefer someone to handle A-Z anyday. I think that comes with having moved 4 cities in 6 years. If it weren’t for help of a relocation agent, settling in a new office each time and moving would have been a night mare. Though of course the bill was picked up by the company
I think it can be done on our own too. Just need to be prepared, and also talk to lots of people prior to arriving!
Noch Noch
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    Annie Andre

    Noch Noch,
    for sure i would hire someone to handle all A to Z but when i’m picking up the tab, it’s a different story.
    And you are right, it can be done on your own with a litle prep work.Once people are in your place, nothing really further is needed except if something breaks..

Dan Sumner

Hey Annie,

Your video just get better and better well done. Loving it!

This post for me would be what I would definitely do if I was to travel with my family.

I love where I live and don’t think I could part with my house to move away. This is why I would rent and hire a company to look after the running of it and any problems. This is worth the cut they take.

Thanks Annie.
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    Annie Andre

    Dan,
    Blushing about the comment. thank you..

    If you have a house you love, and an area you love, keep it. If you ever do plan to spend some time abroad you might want to consider house swapping for a few months since i know you are not interested in living anywhwere else..

Andrew

thank you for sharing this post with us, i found it very interesting to follow, great post.
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Allie

Annie-

This was a great video. The answers we need to know if we choose to go abroad for a long period of time.

Questions: When you rent, do you tell the tenants that it is just a year (or however long) lease? And how do you deal with people living in your home? And what if they don’t leave? What if!!!! What if they destroy your house? Argh!! I need to just let go. LOL.

Honestly, these are situations that scare me. We work hard on our home. It’s not perfect but we pay a good chunk of change for our mortgage (bay Area).

~Allie

~Allie
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    Annie Andre

    Allie,
    I would suggest telling them that you plan to return after a year and make a year long lease…
    Its not that hard to handle people living in your home once your gone and doing your own thing.
    If they don’t leave? Well, usually you give them notice and if they don’t leave then you go to small claims court and have them evicted. Most people do leave. That’s why it’s important to do a pre-screening of your renters before you rent to them. check their references etc.
    There is always some dammage in the house but usually very small. A hole in the wall where the door hit, dirty walls if the tenants have kids but that’s what you take a deposit for. To cover those small incidents.

    And i know what you mean about the mortgage in the bay area. i lived there for a long time and so did my husband. It’s a lot of money and you house is your baby, but if you do plan to rent, usually everything turns out just fine..

Barry Wells

Hi Annie,

Another great video brought to us with your magic touch. I’ve been playing around with mine and following your lead :) Its great fun 😎

I’m not in a position to travel so the message in your video wasn’t aimed at me. I have to say though that you covered the subject very well and gave everyone the pro’s and con’s.

I’m sure it’ll help people make the decision they need to make. I’m really envious of you all as I’d love to be able to do what you’re doing….. Maybe one day Annie :)

Have fun :)

Barry
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    Annie Andre

    Thank you Barry,
    you are too sweet. I really do hope i am helping people. and you never know, maybe one day you will spend a month or two abroad travelling…

Sarah O

Yay – thanks for answering my question Annie. And so professionally on a video too – just love those videos! You are awesome.

Still not sure if property manager is the way to go in my small community – I know some folks who have had the experience Alan described above. Another friend was lucky enough to get a handy trustworthy couple (good friends) to manage her place while she was gone traveling for a year and half. That was fine for dealing with repairs, but a major hassle when her tenants broke the lease and moved. I think she actually had to come back to deal with that. That’s where a professional property manager is valuable (finding and screening new tenants).

I think it’s what we will do when we get ready to do our adventure abroad. Just have to search around for the most reputable property manager we can find.
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    Annie Andre

    Sarah,
    personally i think if you have just one house to rent and you find good renters that you won’t need a property manager. just work it out so that if something goes wrong, the tenants have the go ahead to call a plumber. You jsut get the reciept and reimburse them.

    If the tenants break the lease, yes that’s a major hastle and you are right, you would need to go back or hire a property manager to take care of it.. On another note, you may be able to ask a neighbor to handle things for you and pay them a small fee if something goes wrong. Or hire someone a flat fee to find new tenants in the rare case that tenants break the lease.

Multifamily propertymanagementsoftware

A property management software is versatile and can be used to manage both residential and commercial properties. Condominiums, multifamily homes, public housing, mobile homes, townhouses, non-profit housing and even commercial properties can be easily managed using a standard property management software. One must bear in mind that, a software for commercial property management may have a few other features that may not be included in a software that is meant for managing residential property. People are generally given a free demo of the online management software. This can be used as the basis for deciding on the appropriate property asset management tool.

    Annie Andre

    Is a software like this really necessary for someone who owns just one house? i.e. what does it do over and above something like quicken for landlords?

Don

In theory much of the property management can be handled remotely; in practice, when things go wrong (and tenants usually means things going wrong) you need someone on the ground to handle it. Keep in mind in most states, showing the property requires a real estate license if there is any compensation involved. So, if you are having a friend or family member “take care of things” while you’re gone and you compensate them, they may be practicing real estate without a license.

    Annie Andre

    I’m pretty sure you if you ask a friend to or family member to show your house, that they DO NOT need a Realtor license as long as he or she does not do this for multiple people. Also, many States allow the payment of finders fee’s to non brokers, and have special rules allowing non agents to show properties such as at open houses or showing a house. As long as they do nothing more than that. It’s best to check with your local rules though to find out.
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