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Buying Investment Property In Another City

by Erik Evans

The best homes for sale as a real estate investment won't always be in your home city. This article discusses some of the added issues that come up with home ownership in a different city from your own.

Why Buy in Another City?

Buying in another city is a common thing when the real estate markets change but you're not ready or willing to move to the other city. For example, your current area might have a cold real estate market that you don't want to buy in. Or you might not be able to afford another property in your area. Or you may simply realize that there is a great real estate opportunity in an up-and-coming city. Whatever your reason for looking at real estate in another city, there are some additional challenges that come with ownership.

Who Will Live in the Property?

Screening tenants becomes of utmost importance if you will not be around to check on them. Aside from credit checks and employment verifications, you might want to have a property manager check references from past landlords and meet the tenants to get a feel for their maturity.

Who Will Do Upkeep?

You may need to hire a property manager if you don't plan to be in the same city as your property. When you have tenants, someone needs to be available to check on issues and contact local service providers. While you can sometimes do that remotely, it's not as safe as having someone that can physically be on the property to ensure issues are taken care of. There is also a bit of safety added by having a property manager who can routinely visit the property to make sure there are no problems with safety hazards or unruly tenants. Having a local presence is a good deterrent for tenants who might otherwise decide not to take care of the property.

What Are the Expenses?

Property management will take a little bit out of your income—as will property taxes. Plan to spend $100 on average for maintenance; that way, big bills won't catch you off guard.

In short, there are a lot of things to think about when you're determining whether a property in another state would be a good investment for you. Get a real estate agent on the ground in the city to look for appealing properties on your behalf. Also, pay attention to properties that offer virtual real estate tours that give you a good sense of what the property is like. To learn more about these tours, check out a company like Virtual Image and Animation. That way, when you're in town to check out properties, you will already have some great candidates lined up.