How to Manage My House

I’m not planning to sell my house — I expect to move back to Maryland in a few years, and I like my house and its location. Besides, at the point when I move away I will have recently completed building an addition onto my house, and I want to enjoy it myself! So I’m going to rent out the house.

Fortunately, the Washington DC area is full of people who move overseas for a few years at a time. They work for the State Department, the US Agency for International Development, and other organizations. This means there are a number of property management companies that are experienced in handling rentals for overseas landlords.

I’ve already told my remodeling contractor that when we get done with my addition I’ll want him to build a storage room in the basement. We’ll build it in a corner that has no windows, and I’ll put a secure lock on it and give the property management company a key. A friend has suggested I get a number of airtight containers for clothes and books (great idea!) but I worry about storing any of my upholstered furniture in the basement — it can get kind of humid down there, even when the dehumidifier is going.

I’d like to hear from people who have moved overseas for a few years. In particular, I’d like recommendations for property management companies based in DC or Maryland and suggestions for the questions to ask and what to look out for. How did you handle mail? Phone and other utilities? (I’ve had my phone number fo 27 years and I don’t want to give it up!) Did you store some of your stuff in your house? What other issues should I consider?

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