How to manage and make money from abroad

Real estate investor Oliver Limcangco is finally living the dream after achieving financial freedom through his property portfolio. In a new regular posting, the 31-year old shares his insights into how he acquired 26 doors and manages it all while travelling abroad.

As I write this, I am staring at the bustling Shanghai downtown in plus 35 conditions, with an ice cold drink in my hand. I've been on the road for the past four months, and in a couple of days, I fly to Poland for a week and then train all the way to Prague.

With 26 suites and more on the way, people always ask me how I can travel the world and manage our portfolio at the same time when most people struggle in managing one.  I'm here to tell you how to do this whether you have one or 26.

In order to manage your portfolio properly, you need to know exactly what you are managing. I have a tracker that has the following information which I update monthly:
•    Property address (per suite)
•    All monthly expenses (mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc.)
•    All income (suites, garage, etc.)
•    Mortgage details (mortgage number, lender, payment frequency, expiry, etc.)
•    Tenant details (term, lease expiries)

It's great to have all the information but it won’t be any good if you forget any of it. Get an online calendar to keep up with the expiration of everything from leases to utility contracts. In addition, put a reminder one month before these expiries as well to give you enough time to deal with them.

If you have more than five units, you probably have a property manager, and for good reason. You need to make sure you are fully connected with your PM on all aspects of your portfolio. You need weekly status reports with your PM - make sure you carefully analyze all your statements every month and discuss any discrepancies / unexpected expenses. When your reminders for expiring leases come up, make sure you follow up weekly to check the status. Your PM has hundreds of doors to manage, it is your job to make sure your issues are solved first.

You also need to understand that if you are on top of your portfolio, you are probably in the top 10 per cent of investors who are proactive about it.  This means that you will be asking your team to work harder on your properties - don't cheap out on gifts, lunches, and affirmative praise to their bosses.  You may think it is small stuff but when it comes to people, a little pat on the back goes a long way.

Remember, the harsh truth is that no one will care about your portfolio the way you do, and it is your responsibility to make sure you know what is happening in all your suites at any given time. Set it up properly, track your issues and risks relentlessly, and follow up constantly.  It may seem like a lot of work (and it is!) but with this, I am able to travel the world, manage my properties, and buy more properties through my cellphone and laptop – and there’s no reason why you can’t do it either!

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