Owning property is a large investment. Like any investment, it should be managed by professionals. Part of this includes performing regular maintenance to keep your property well maintained.
There are three reasons why you want to schedule regular maintenance on your property:
- You’ll lose money if you don’t. No one will want to rent a place that is run down and unattractive.
- You risk a lawsuit if a tenant gets injured from your negligence.
- You’ll pay more to repair a problem that has been neglected.
Here are some tips for performing maintenance on your property.
Create a Maintenance Schedule
Having a schedule can make maintenance simple, especially if you have more than one property. You will not forget jobs that should be done on a regular cadence. There is no forgetting which property had the water heater flushed and which one needs a roof inspection. If maintenance is neglected, small problems can turn into major ones.
Consider this when you sit down to plan your maintenance schedule:
- Where is your property located? Northern locations will require different upkeep than properties in the south.
- How old is your property? If you’re renting out a newer home, there may be fewer tasks to schedule.
Here are some typical maintenance tasks that need to be done on a regularly:
- Cleaning the gutters and power washing the building,
- Snow removal or lawn maintenance, if the tenant isn’t taking care of it,
- Pest control and prevention
- HVAC inspection and cleaning,
- Checking the roof for missing shingles, especially after a major storm,
- Flushing the water heater.
Budget for Expenses
It is so important to have a budget for regular maintenance. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. If you keep putting off flushing the water heater, you could end up having to buy a new one sooner than you’d like.
At some point, you’re going to have to buy a new water heater anyway. When that time comes, it would be nice to take the money out of your maintenance budget rather than put it on your credit card as an emergency expense.
You don’t have to have a crystal ball or be a mathematician to figure out how much money you need to set aside for your maintenance budget. There are a few ways to calculate the cost of maintenance and how much to set aside each month.
As you calculate this, don’t forget to do it for all of your properties, if you own more than one. And you’ll need to take into account the age of your properties as well. For example, older homes may require extra attention.
- Save 1 Percent
It’s easy to calculate your maintenance needs with this system. Just set aside 1% of your property’s value. According to Zillow, the average price of a home in St. Louis in Oct. 2020 was $140,000. That means you’d need $1,400 a year, or about $116 a month.
- $1 Per Square Foot
This method makes it even easier to calculate your maintenance budget. You estimate $1 per square foot per year. If your rental home is 1,200 square feet, figure $1,200 for maintenance, or $100 a month.
- The Monthly Rent Formula
Estimate to spend 1.5 times your monthly rental rate for annual maintenance costs per property. For example, if you’re renting a house for $800, you can anticipate an annual cost of $1,200.
One of the easiest ways to keep up on your property’s maintenance is to be available for communication so your tenant can alert you of any issues. As the landlord, you’re responsible for the big stuff – replacing an appliance, repainting after a renter leaves, or cleaning gutters. But you can’t be everywhere, so your renter can be an extra set of eyes and ears for you.
They should be responsible for light upkeep and minor maintenance such as keeping the lawn mowed or replacing a light bulb. Your renter should also alert you of any major problem that is developing. If a faucet is leaking and the tenant’s effort to tighten the pipe by hand isn’t working, it might be time for you to get involved.
An open line of communication will make maintenance procedures simple and allow for a good relationship between you and your tenants. This could save you money in the long run.
Taking these steps – creating a maintenance schedule, having a maintenance budget, and having good communication with your tenant – will help you keep your property in tip-top shape.
Contact Deca Realty to manage your property and take care of your maintenance needs. So you can focus on expanding your rental business or other professional pursuits.