I have an overseas trip.
I am so excited. I have a 7 day overseas trip planned soon!!! It is a much needed vacation. As a self-manager of 9 properties along with many other life and work requirements the key is having a plan that allows for success even without cell phone reception and limited sporadic cell phone coverage.
At the same time it is important that I provide the same quality of service for my tenants when I am traveling abroad. Luckily, I love to travel, so this isn’t the first or last time I plan to travel overseas. Remember my New Years’ goal was 4 times. I am not overwhelmed or stressed as I already have the backbones of a terrific system in place.
Last April, I created a system that worked very well. In fact, it worked so well, that not only was I able to maintain that status quo but I even continued to do new business while I was gone. On a different continent. In different time zones. I coordinated a lease renewal and organized showings all while traveling throughout Scandinavia. 90% of it happened on an 3 day 2 night overnight Ferry to St. Petersburg. This was made even more awesome because when I came home my rental was now rented and my lease renewal was completed!!! I would have bought myself a case of congratulatory good bubbly if I had thought about it at the time. I got all of the work I needed to do completed AND I had a terrific trip. Total score.
Here are the things that made me VERY successful and what I plan on doing again.
- Stateside Contact- Every time I leave the country I ask a friend or family member, depending on who is available, if they would be willing to be the “emergency” general contact. These are people with landlording experience whom I trust to be able to make the decisions on what are “emergencies” and what should be approved. As they are fully aware on how rentals work, I only focus on educating them on my systems. I leave credit card information to pay for any repairs. I do leave them with emergency numbers if they need me but I pick my contacts because they are trusted to make decisions on the “fly”.
- Rental List– I educate my Stateside Contact by providing them with all of the possibly needed information before I leave. I give them a list of all of my tenants in the different states and I also provide them numbers with people in each area who would be a great resource for vendors for last minute emergencies. For example, my Realtor is my contact in California and South Carolina. In Virginia I have a dear friend who grew up in the area and has her own rental. I also put all my tenants’ contact information and each coordinating property address on the list. This way there is an easy reference to where the tenant is located and whom to call. I also “check in” twice daily to make sure I haven’t missed anything pressing.
Note- I have never had to use my “emergency contact” person to date. They are simply a back up for any business that can’t wait until one of the twice daily “check ins”.
Some other tools and tips to help you manage your empire while you are away:
- Outgoing Message on Voicemail- I leave a message on my voicemail that I will have poor reception and to send me an email instead of phone call. All of my tenant know that if I don’t respond to them quickly (i.e. text ,etc) they should try another mode of communication. I make this clear at lease signing.
- iPhone- I love my iPhone because I still get texts and phone calls from other iPhone users no matter my location. Since a large number of my tenants have iPhones I can still conduct my work when I check on my business twice a day.
- Internet- Since our main credit card is the Hilton we able to obtain Diamond Status ever year. This allows us to get free internet, breakfast, and free rooms. So, we always try to stay at the Hilton chain. This is amazing as it allows me to conduct business as needed. It prevents any surprises and loss of income. You can access the internet abroad by utilizing wifi hotspots if you aren’t Diamond Status Cardholder.
For me real estate is about a lifestyle towards a type of living. It is about funding this lifestyle that allows traveling while self managing. While this mean’s working during my vacation, the key is to limit the working to an efficient manner. Therefore we buy houses that only allow self-management AND we create systems that allow us to provide the best service needed.
What are you dreams and goals? Do your dreams include seeing the world? Are you creating a business model that supports these dreams?
What are your best practices when you travel AND you have a property to manage?
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