If you find yourself frequently doing monthly tasks like collecting rent, paying mortgages, renewing insurance premiums, etc., then you are in luck. These are the simplest chores to automate for free. Set them up to auto-deposit or draft directly to and from your business account the first time. You won’t have to touch them again. Just watch your bank statements for bookkeeping purposes and to catch any mistakes that may pop up.
2. Create Systems
There are tasks landlords do on a regular basis with predictable steps and processes. Tasks like listing openings, screening tenants, showing properties, signing leases, and even problem-solving calls with tenants (like plumbing issues) can be dealt with much more efficiently and with less stress when you create a system for each situation.
3. Virtual Assistant
Now that you’ve created systems for your predictable, regularly occurring tasks as a landlord, you can hire a virtual assistant to do them for you. Virtual assistants are freelancers who work from their computer and get paid a specified and agreed-upon wage for their work. Often, they work from other countries where the livable wage is lower than in the U.S., making them more accessible to a landlord growing her business.
4. Separate Utilities
If you’re managing your own properties, make it a habit to look for those with as many separate utilities as possible. This can be easier in single-family homes of course, but is just as important when you’re buying a multi-family property. This means the tenant can put the utilities in their name. Then they’ll spend their time paying them each month, saving the landlord not just money, but very valuable time.
5. Yard Maintenance
This may seem obvious, but I continue to be surprised at the number of landlords that think they are the only person who can maintain a pristine yard on their rental properties. Remember, it’s your investment, not your house, (from this blog post). Just let it go. You shouldn’t be doing that. Especially if you’re reading an article about how to make landlording more passive. Tenants renting single-family homes should be required to maintain their own yard. In multifamily cases, this expense should be accounted for before buying the property.
6. Property Management
Any advice on automating landlording and making investing more passive would be incomplete without bringing up hiring a property manager. A good property manager is worth their weight in gold. When they do a good job, their 10 percent (or whatever they charge) fee is well deserved. Anyone who’s managed several properties understands this well. The time and energy a good property manager gives back to the investors they manage for is easily made up by allowing them time to do the deeper work of finding more ways to make their money work for them through further investments.
If your investment properties are in an area where property management is an option and you’re not enjoying the landlord game or are finding yourself short on time, hire a property manager. Keep looking until you find a great one. Then use all that free time to scale up.
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