Maintenance is a word that almost every property manager dreads, but it’s as unavoidable as your taxes. Luckily, with regular, preventive maintenance, it doesn’t’ have to be that bad, because while you might be spending money on a routine inspection or clean up, you could actually be saving yourself a lot of money. For example, you probably wouldn’t think twice about taking your car in for regular maintenance, and it should be no different for your rental property.
Regularly Inspect Drains and Pipes
Pipes, gutters, drains, and other waterways are not only one of the areas most prone to damage, but also one of the areas that can cause the most problems. Inspecting drains, pipes, and other areas twice a year can allow you to solve problems before they cause damage. For example, cleaning out gutters and drains as part of preventive maintenance can save you the cost of replacing a flooded floor.
Perform twice yearly inspections on the furnace, ventilation, the roof, and indoor plumbing. If you can stop a problem before it creates one, you can save a lot of money. One common example is that small issues with the furnace can be fixed affordably right away, but if left alone, they can be much more expensive as the problem gets worse. This is especially true with plumbing, because a small issue like a leaky faucet can damage expensive countertops and floors. You also want to check for signs of mold or damp, any fences or gardens, and the foundation. You have to pay for a professional inspection of HVAC or furnace and air conditioners.
Respond to Requests Quickly
If you have an emergency request, it is in your best interest to respond and solve the issue as quickly as possible. This is important for a number of reasons. The first is that issues tend to worsen if they’re left alone. The second is that you could be fined for not fixing issues right away. For example, if a toilet is clogged, it could be flooding when homeowners attempt to use it anyway.
Many landlords forget about cosmetic maintenance, but it can be just as expensive if left alone. Regularly cleaning buildings, touching up paint, and handling small issues with wallpaper or trim can prevent much larger issues. For example, it most often takes little to no time to touch up paint, but repainting an entire wall can be much more time consuming and costly. In addition, cosmetic issues can often be a sign of an underlying issue. Mold on paint could mean a leaking pipe inside of the wall. This allows you to take action and fix the underlying issue before it causes more damage.
If you want to save money on your rental property, you should consider swapping out high maintenance items for lower maintenance ones. Many maintenance companies can offer advice on what to change. You should also screen tenants to ensure that they have a history of taking care of their property and rentals. Drains seldom clog by themselves. Hiring a regular maintenance company or handyman is another great way to go, especially if you have multiple rental properties, as you can often save money by committing to going through one person.
Shopping at local hardware stores for budget supplies for repairs can save you money too. You can check out the local stores like Lowes, which offer regular sales and discounts, as well as budget friendly prices.
While you can save a lot of money on home repairs over time with preventive maintenance, you should still save roughly 10-15% of your rental income to put towards repairs, maintenance, and upgrades.
Do you need help with handling repairs, maintenance, or other aspects of property management? Find out about SJA’s Property Management services, or ask us for a free quote.