All people just starting out in the rental property investment might be struggling greatly with the maintenance of their properties. Property maintenance is crucial for profit because it ensures your investment attracts quality tenants, reaches good prices and allows you to expand your business. In order to maintain your property in top shape, you need to build a network of people who will help you on your way. Here are a few essential property maintenance tips to keep you on your track.
Determine the type of tasks you need to perform
Firstly, it’s important to know that property maintenance depends both on you and your tenants. Certain responsibilities (named in the lease) require the attention of the tenant like changing the air filter, changing batteries in smoke detectors and replacing burned-out light bulbs. Your contract should contain the following tenant responsibilities like:
- Cleaning appliances, walls and floors, as well as emptying the trash to prevent mold, bacteria and stench.
- Taking care of damage outside of normal wear and tear (caused by pets, neglect of smoke detectors or landscaping watering systems, roommates that rent the place…)
- Reporting issues that are outside of their responsibility to avoid expensive damage and complicated repairs (think water leaks, electrical issues, mold issues, etc.)
Don’t dismiss DIY from the start
Once you know which tasks are your responsibility and which ones belong to your tenants, it’s time to tackle them. If you have any skills like electrical or plumbing license or knowledge in painting walls or repairing fixtures, you can save a lot of money by taking care of these by yourself. However, make sure that all your other real estate activities are taken care of before you tackle DIY maintenance.
Consider hiring a professional property manager
If you’re a beginner rental property investor, you might be able to handle the maintenance yourself, but if you have many properties and a busy schedule, a professional property manager might be a great addition to your team. This is especially important for long-distance investors and people with a full-time day job. It’s basically impossible to handle all repairs and issues, do your normal job and have a healthy family and social life.
A good professional property manager has:
- A network of businesses and connections from vendors to handymen to handle any repairs quickly
- Good understanding of the local law
- Volume discounts that can keep your expenses low
- Knowledge of how to spot and fix issues before they escalate
- Knowledge of the newest rental trends
Work with reputable people
If you don’t have any DIY skills or don’t have time to put them to good use, make sure to hire experienced people with a good reputation. For instance, make sure to find expert air conditioning contractors to tackle everything from simple repairs to total air-con system updates. Air conditioning is a crucial commodity in your rentals and they need to be in working condition 24/7/365.
Also, ask for recommendations when it comes to other professionals like cleaners, plumbers and landscapers. Check their reviews and check with your local Competition and Consumer Commission or Better Business Bureau for complaints. Contact companies for more information and choose the ones that match your needs the best.
Insist on contracts
Once you find responsible people to help you manage your properties, it’s time to shake some hands. Rental property is something that involves ongoing commitment, so contracts are a must. Consider signing a 12-month contract with clearly defined work orders and payment arrangements. Also, make sure all your records are in order.
Invest in regular pest control
Here’s an important piece of information: your tenants need to make sure there are no pests on your property, but they are very rarely proactive when it comes to this thing. And if you want to continue profiting from your property for a long time, it’s crucial to be one step ahead of the pests at all times. Sign a contract with a reliable pest control company and have them inspect your property regularly. This investment might cost you money, but in the long run, it will ensure great savings.
Allow tenants to make easy requests
Your tenants need a practical way to make requests when it comes to maintenance. A great way to allow them this commodity is to use rental property management software that will make everything from rent to maintenance easy and fast. Or you can create a dedicated email address for maintenance matters as well as a separate phone number for emergencies.
If you can’t always respond, hiring an emergency maintenance service to be at your tenants’ disposal is very smart. This way, no matter what kind of emergency happens during night or day, assistance will be available to them momentarily.
Being a rental real estate investor is a very lucrative job or a side hustle that can bring you great passive income, but it does require a commitment to maintenance. But with these tips above, you’ll be able to be a good renter and have plenty of time and money for growing your portfolio.
Written by Mike Johnston