How to Manage US Properties From Overseas as a Nonresident

How to Manage Your US Real Estate Remotely (Even If You Live Overseas)

Dec 29, 2022

Whether you bought a property in America to have a vacation home for your family or are planning to rent it to generate passive income, you’ll need to find a way to manage US Real Estate overseas.

Handling property management yourself is an option, but we wouldn’t recommend that. As a foreign investor, you most likely live several countries away (or even across the ocean). That makes it incredibly challenging to monitor and manage your property yourself.

The best way for nonresident investors to avoid most property management problems is to delegate property management to a third party. Doing that is the most reliable way to manage your property remotely and ensure someone is always available in case of emergencies.

However, deciding who you’ll delegate property management to is a challenge. In this article, we will cover the three best property management options foreign investors have and help you pick the best one for your needs.

3 Ways Nonresident Investors Can Manage US Real Estate Overseas 

All the options we will present have pros and cons, but they’re all viable for foreign investors. Which one is best suited for you will depend on many factors:

  • Your personal preferences;
  • The city or state you decide to invest in;
  • How many properties you need to manage;
  • Your real estate investing vision;
  • And more…

So before you decide how to handle property management, ask yourselves all of the above, and see which of the following methods best aligns with your goals.

property manager is checking on the next tasks that need to be done for a foreign investor while a guy in the back is painting walls

1. Delegate Property Management to a Close Person You Can Trust (Family Member, Friend, Acquaintance, or Another Tenant)

Many nonresident investors turn to the family, friends, or contacts they have abroad for help with property management. The reason is simple — this option is the most affordable.

If you were to hire a professional to handle property management for you, they’d usually take a significant cut of your ROI (10%–20%). But if you have relatives or know someone who lives in the state you’re investing in, you can ask for their help.

Since these people already know you, it’ll be easy to establish regular communication and a bond of trust. Because of that, they’ll be more likely to be meticulous when managing your property.

On the other hand, if you’re renting an entire apartment complex, you could also pass the property management duties to one of your tenants. Simply giving one of your trustworthy tenants a discount on their rent is often enough motivation for them to accept additional responsibility. This method allows you to always have someone on-site ready to address emergencies without hiring a professional property manager. 

Although this is the most affordable option to handle property management as a foreigner, it has several significant downsides. Your friends, family, or other tenants will have little to no experience in property management, so their learning curve will be steep. That also means you’ll need to be available much more than if you were to delegate it to a professional or agency. 

And if you’re aiming to build an extensive investment portfolio and create a self-sustainable real estate business, a single person with little experience won’t cut it.

Pros:

  • The person is trustworthy
  • You’ll have an easier time communicating due to your relationship
  • You’ll save money since you won’t have to pay high property management fees
  • The person will take care of your property like it’s their own

Cons:

  • They will have to take care of everything themselves
  • They likely have no experience in property management
  • The person won’t be doing this job full time
  • It will be impossible for them to manage a large number of properties
  • They will need to screen potential tenants and handle tenant contracts themselves
  • The person likely isn’t familiar with the industry’s legal norms and regulations

2. Hire a Property Manager

Unlike relying on someone you know to help you manage US properties as a nonresident, hiring a property manager will come with a fee. However, these individuals come with experience, connections, and availability you will never get from a family member or a friend.

One of the most significant benefits of paying a professional property manager is that they’ll come equipped with all the necessary knowledge to screen applicants, handle contracts, and address any issues that may come up. 

Although property management agencies usually have better connections and more profound market knowledge, individual property managers are easier to reach and communicate with. The biggest downside to partnering with an individual is that they can only handle a finite number of properties. So if you’re planning to scale your investment portfolio, you may need to consider going with an agency instead.

Pros:

  • It’s easier to communicate when a single person is responsible for all aspects of property management
  • They will be doing this full time
  • Property managers have access to all the necessary contract templates and legal knowledge for screening potential candidates
  • They have connections with local contractors that can come in handy when you need emergency repairs
  • Professional property managers are easier to get in touch with than agencies who deal with a lot of clients
  • They are often cheaper than agencies

Cons:

  • If they are working a full-time job besides property management, they may not be as available as you’d like them to be
  • You cannot infinitely scale your investment portfolio with just a single property manager
  • Agencies have better market insight, more connections, and more detailed blacklists than individual property managers
  • You will need to monitor their performance and make sure they aren’t doing anything shady behind the scenes
tow guys fixing a roof

3. Partner With a Property Management Agency to Manage US Real Estate Overseas

Partnering with a property management agency is the costliest option of the three. However, working with an agency as a foreign investor has several advantages, making them a worthy investment for some.

Firstly, agencies are well-connected in the local market. They know the best contractors, have the most extensive tenant blacklists, and have dedicated teams for each aspect of property management. That makes them incredibly efficient at handling everything from finding tenants and legal aspects of the process to responding to emergencies quickly. 

The other massive advantage of an agency over an individual property manager is that they can manage an infinite number of properties. So if you’re looking to build a large real estate business in the US, you’ll need to hire a property management agency sooner or later.

Unfortunately, as experienced and resourceful as agencies are, communication is often the biggest issue. Since property management agencies handle hundreds of clients daily, getting in touch with them and coordinating tasks is harder than with an individual manager. 

Pros

  • Partnering with an agency allows for infinite scalability
  • Agencies have the best connections and the richest blacklists in the market
  • They have entire dedicated teams specializing in different aspects of property management (e.g., legal, contractors, property inspectors)
  • Agencies conduct more in-depth tenant screenings

Cons:

  • Agencies are the most expensive option of the three
  • Coordination issues may occur since agencies handle a large number of clients (and you are just one of many)
  • Communicating with agencies is harder since they have many independent teams working for a single client
  • Agencies often charge more for maintenance and contractor jobs due to having various company-side expenses themselves

So Which Option Should You Choose to Manage US Real Estate Overseas?

All of these three options are perfectly viable choices for most foreign investors. But your choice will entirely depend on your business goals and preferences.

For instance, if you bought yourself a vacation home, you can easily ask a friend or an acquaintance to help manage it while you’re away. If you’re a small investor or are just getting into real estate investment, partnering with a property manager will likely be the best option. But if you plan to scale quickly, you should consider hiring an agency.

At the end of the day, finding the right property management partner will be trial and error. You need a partner that you can trust. But you also need to verify whether you can trust them. 

That’s why you should always closely monitor and review your property management partners — especially if they do it professionally. 

Here are a few things you should review from time to time:

  • Whether they are doing the best job they can;
  • How high is your ROI with them;
  • Whether they’re learning from their mistakes;
  • Financial reports and receipts for all services rendered;
  • Whether you’re overall satisfied with their performance.

Once you ensure you’ve chosen the right partner, it’s all smooth sailing from there.

a nonresident investor signing a contract with a property management partner and paying for the next month's service

Need Help Finding the Right Property Management Partner for Your Real Estate Business?

If you’d prefer to minimize risks and work with carefully vetted and reliable property management partners from the get-go, the easiest way is through referrals.

For instance, here at NRI, we help nonresident investors handle every aspect of the investment process, including property management. Our CEO has personally tried and tested dozens of property managers and agencies to ensure we connect our clients with only the most trustworthy and honest partners. 

We have connected dozens of clients with property managers and agencies across Texas, Wisconsin, and Florida. If you’re investing in one of these states, we can immediately find you the right property management partner. But even if you plan to invest elsewhere, our agency’s network of connections can help you find the right property management partner quickly.

Why not jump on a short discovery call to learn how we can help you find the right property management partner for your real estate business? Let us teach you how to manage US Real Estate overseas.

Subscribe to our newsletter