Many of the Airbnb investors begin by purchasing and running properties in their own home town or neighboring areas. If you’re lucky and you’re in the area where the regulations towards short-term rentals are positive and the property prices and travel demand are right, then it makes it’s easiest to do so.
However, if you are looking at areas further away - whether by necessity or choice - then, inevitably, you’ll face the prospect of being miles away from your properties and needing to manage them remotely. In this article, we’ll share some of the approaches and strategies we’ve taken to oversee and manage properties in 4+ cities without physically needing to be there.
The first fundamental is that you’ll need to vet, hire and train your ground team. Typically, that will consist of two individuals - a housekeeper and a handyman. Finding the right people is both the most challenging but also the most important task. After all, you are looking for individuals who not only do their job well, but that are also reliable and are available on a consistent basis. We’ll talk about specific strategies on how to vet and train these individuals in later articles, but this really is the key and the foundation.
The ground team handles property-related tasks, but depending on the number of listings you may have, there will be a healthy amount of guest communication on a daily basis as well. There are great tools available that can dramatically reduce the volume of inquiries and questions, but they do not fully eliminate it. As you go over 5-10 listings, it’s worth considering to outsource it.
For that, we typically bring on a virtual assistant to help out. We’ve had great luck working with amazing individuals in Central and South America, which is ideal as it’s a similar time zone to us.
Once the individuals are on-boarded, we typically use WhatsApp as a way to keep in contact.
We prefer it over other tools because it’s free, simple and is great for sharing photos and videos, which comes in handy. Plus, it’s a good way to keep everyone connected in a group, so that everyone is aware of what’s going on.
We can’t sing enough praises about tools like Smartbnb that help automate the standard pre-check in, in-stay, and post-check out communication.
As the vast majority of messages we need to send is the same from guest to guest, a tool like Smartbnb follows specific pre-set rules to send out pre-defined communication to the guests - thus eliminating the need to do it manually. Especially at scale, the amount of time it saves is significant.
Every property needs to be re-supplied every 2 to 4 weeks. For that, our favorite method of online shopping is Amazon Prime Now. Different from the regular Amazon Prime, it ships products from the local warehouses and offer delivery in as soon as 1-2 hours. As a host, it’s particularly beneficial because we’re able to schedule deliveries next day between 12 to 2pm, when the housekeeper is there and can put the items away.
If Amazon Prime Now is not available, regular Amazon and Google Shopping are great alternatives with unlimited options and 1-3 day delivery options.
We typically recommend to install an outdoor cam to provide footage in case there are problems or issues that arise. We rarely check it ourselves, to be frank, but it’s nice to have the option to at least check up on the exterior of the house to make sure it’s still there!
After trying a number of solutions, we highly recommend Wyze. At a $30 per camera with no monthly fees, it’s the most affordable and robust option available.
As a whole, a property can take anywhere from 10 to 30 days to properly setup and automate. In part that’s due to the unknown variables, such as how long it will take to find a reliable housekeeper and handyman.
It helps to have flexible full-time work that allows you to work remotely while you’re setting up, so that you can be based at the property and not rush to complete everything in a weekend. But once the setup is done, it becomes quite possible to manage and oversee a property while living elsewhere.
If you have any questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!