How I manage my properties in the UK, whilst being in the USA.

I was really panicking about the management of my property portfolio when coming to the USA.

It’s not that I can’t do it. I’ve travelled the world and still kept everything in check before… Australia, South Africa, Europe. It was whether I could do this for a sustained period of time without wanting to punch a wall in frustration that I am never on the right time zone.

Turns out, when I actually just went with it, the main thing I needed was a local phone line and these 14 things… oh and to hold my nerve and just get on with it ;):

  1. I have Skype on my Macbook, which has a London based phoneline installed. I can call the UK on a UK number, so it’s a local call. It costs me £61.20 a year for 400 minutes a month to any UK landline or mobile.
  2. Spare keys are held in 3 places, lock boxes, with my solicitor and my parents
  3. I use Whatsapp to message my tenants and guests and they can get hold of me that way… providing I’m not sleeping.
  4. I still have a main residence in the UK which I Air BnB whilst I’m not there. I then divert the mail to my Mums house so someone is always able to open it.
  5. I have built a good group of contractors that I trust in Bath and London. I have an electrician, plumber and general handyman available by Whatsapp who know my properties and will willingly pick up keys and go and resolve problems.
  6. I have all of my property details stored on Google docs, including land registry information and all leases and mortgage docs. If I need to instruct an agent, I can prove that I am the owner really easily.
  7. For lettings I use Upad, they already have my properties information stored, with high quality photo’s. I then ask a family member or a friend to do an evening of block viewings and compensate them accordingly.
  8. Inspections I do myself. I make sure I’m back in the UK every few months.
  9. I have really in-depth instruction manuals on how to use everything in each of the properties, so that tenants and guests can find their way around. This includes cut off valves, white good manuals even down to how to work the windows and radiators!
  10. I have insurance for white goods and electricals that the tenants can call and get a maintenance person to come and assist them if anything breaks down – £14.49 per month for an Indesit service plan per property. They replace any item that can’t be fixed!
  11. For developments, I work with my development partner and put it through our business. Whilst I’m not in the country I do the project admin which is the money and the health and safety and making sure everything is running on time. This relationship has been built on 8 years of trust and is now a joint venture that works. It was sold before I started travelling. Shaun doesn’t mind as he likes to be in the UK with his kids.
  12. Viewing new properties – I get my Mum to do it! She’s got a good eye for these things. I brought my flat in Bath without even seeing it, she saw it and said it was perfect so I brought it.
  13. Signing documents – my solicitor emails me the document, I print it off and put it back in the post next day recorded delivery. Yes expensive, but it does the job. If it can be an electronic signature than even better, for tenancies I do everything online.
  14. For Air BnB, I have the app on my phone and monthly I just update my cleaners with bookings. If it’s last minute I phone them using Skype. They check everything out for me and send me a report if there is anything damaged. I then take it up with Air BnB.

I now want to hear from you! Will you be incorporating any of these things into your property portfolio? Let me know in the comments section below!

Natasha

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