How to Manage Investment Property While Serving in the Military

Posted by Lauren Schneider on Friday, November 12th, 2021 at 7:44am.

How to Manage Investment Property While Serving in the MilitaryActive duty military members often find the best housing option for a Permanent Change of Station is to buy property in their new location. However, when PCS orders arise again in a few years, they must sell or rent their homes. Many military homeowners often tend to hold onto their houses and keep them as investment properties while on active duty. They find several benefits to maintaining ownership.

Owning a rental home offers a steady stream of passive income and provides a potential living option when they separate from service or retire. The problem military homeowners face, since they are absent landlords living in a new area or deployed for long periods, is how to manage their properties. Continue reading to learn about the best ways to manage an investment property while on active-duty orders in the military.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Should Active-Duty Military Self-Manage or Hire a Property Manager?

Once a military member decides to maintain ownership of their home, they'll need to decide whether to be a hands-on landlord or hire a property manager to oversee their investment. Either option is acceptable as long as the owner knows what to expect.

Self-managing saves some money, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility and details that can't afford to be inadvertently overlooked. There will be lease agreements, managing maintenance, showing the property between tenants, and addressing tenant issues. If the homeowner has a decent network of contractors, along with good neighbors that plan to stay local permanently, it's possible to self-manage. However, being an absentee landlord can also come with a lot of problems. In many, if not most, cases, it's advantageous to go with a property manager while overseeing an investment property remotely.

How to Self-Manage an Investment Property While on Active Duty

Homeowners in the military who opt to self-manage after weighing out the pros and cons of investment properties while off-site should know what to expect. This way, there are no surprises, and they can experience minimal vacancies on their property. Great ways to do this include:

  • Engaging in consistent marketing on real estate listing websites, social media, and Craigslist.
  • Obtaining professional photos to use online and offline in marketing materials.
  • Writing a clear, accurate, and descriptive listing for the home.
  • Being responsive to every applicant and query about the property.
  • Having a trusted local representative who's willing to step in for move-in/move-out dates, along with when issues emerge (and this undoubtedly will happen!)

Additionally, taking a 360-degree video to include alongside the property's listing can give potential tenants a good walk-through. Many tenants are likely to be other military members and may have to rent a home sight unseen.

How to Hire a Property Manager

The best way to connect with a good property manager is to talk to a trusted or reputable real estate agent. Many agencies offer this service themselves, but they'll likely be well-connected to trustworthy and sound property management companies or individuals even if they don't. Once options are identified, hiring property management tips for homeowners include:

  • Speaking with two to three property managers to compare services and pricing.
  • Asking questions relating to years of experience, current portfolios, licenses, qualifications, and fees.
  • Determining track records for vacancy rates, evictions, and turnover times – these data points can be enlightening if they do well with property management or can keep tenants happy.
  • Asking for references to get a better idea of what to expect when leaving the property in the hands of someone else.

Finding a good property manager can make owning a hands-off investment property much easier. The person or company chosen will determine whether or not the property is a good, long-term investment because the good ones will keep properties rented and ensure tenants are satisfied and take care of the property.

Are You Managing a Property While on Active Duty?

Remember, it's essential to do the math when deciding to keep a property as a rental to ensure it's a good investment. Be sure it can cover mortgage payments, homeowners' insurance, taxes, maintenance, and repairs, along with property management fees and other expenses associated with homeownership. By following these tips, active-duty military members can enjoy passive income and minimal challenges from their investment property.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

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