Protecting my property from a distance

I have a house that I rent out, but I live in a different state. What's the best way to protect my property? Is running a background check enough or should I take other precautions?

I rent out a house as well in ...

I rent out a house as well in another state.  I use a property management firm and they charge a hefty fee, 10% of the monthly rent and 20% in the first month of any new lease. I sure would like to have another option, but being out of state at minimum you need someone that you can trust to go by the property.  With a local property I would love some interent tools to manage my property instead of paying a firm to do so.  What do you think?

I have been renting out homes ...

I have been renting out homes now for over ten years 3 thousand miles from where I live. I tried the property management company approach but found they are more concerned with collecting their take than actually caring for your property, especially when it comes to move outs.  What I started doing 8years ago is managing them myself. The tenants are given s book of deposit slips with the property name written by me across the top of the slip, the signature and cash back lines blacked out with permanent marker so they can not alter the slip into a check. They then deposit their rent directly into our account to remove any statements of "checks in the mail".  Do your research for reputable people such as handyman, gardener, etc to take care of problems that arise. Never own property in a place you don't enjoy visiting a couple times a year, make the trip and do an inspection. If you have a good handyman or heat a/c person, have them do a yearly check on the unit and ask them to check every vent for airflow so they can unknowingly to the tenants, be doing an inspection of the home for you too. The tenant will think you are a great landlord because you keep their appliances, etc maintained with preventative maintenance, and you will have eyes and ears in your property for a lot less money than paying a management company.  Get to know their/your neighbors. Give every one of them your name and phone number to call if the even remotely suspect any problems or a condition going on at your home. Express your desire to be contacted about everything whether it can be proven by them or not. Neighbors are wonderful too for giving you eyes and ears into your home. Get their names/numbers and ask if it is okay to call them occasionally about your home/tenants. If you do get a call, follow up or they will stop calling Thinking you don't care. Neighbors are also great for showing a home too for a small fee. They love being able to screen who moves in next door. A good program to use to handle all the rent payments, bills, etc - Quicken Proprty Management software.  Happy Renting!

Savannah:  Great answer.  What...

Savannah:  Great answer.  What tools would you like to see online to make this process easier for you?  What tools do you use in your current property management software?

Love your idea about the neigh...

Love your idea about the neighbors helping to show the property. Nosy neighbors can definitely be useful. I am looking for a site where my tennants can pay rent and also make maintenance requests. That way I can manage what work has been done on each property and easily keep track of the yearly maintenance cost.  

That's a really good idea. I'd...

That's a really good idea. I'd like to see that too.

Agreed and I have the same iss...

Agreed and I have the same issue. Did you see the ideas tab? You should suggest a service for these guys to set that up!! Maybe they charge like 50-100 bucks per visit and you just have them go by every 6-9 months. And never pay a prop manager again

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