When you invest in rental properties, you will always see pros and cons. Most people find that the pros largely outweigh the cons, but you have to account for the potential risks.
One of the substantial challenges is the cost and stress of ongoing property maintenance.
Try These Five Tips
As every homeowner knows, properties deteriorate over time. Appliances run down, pipes leak, paint peels, wood rots, and weeds grow.
If you’re a rental property owner with limited time and a fixed budget, trying to tackle maintenance issues can be a serious struggle. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the frequency of breakdowns and enjoy a low-maintenance rental property.
Here are five of our best tips.
- Install Durable Finishes
Do yourself a favor and install more durable finishes throughout your rental property. This will save you both time and money in the long run.
It will also keep your property looking nicer, which makes it easier to attract new tenants each time there’s a vacancy. Examples include:
- Carpet. It might be cheap, but it can stain all too easily and end up smelling bad after a couple of years. As an alternative, opt for durable flooring materials such as laminate, vinyl, or even engineered hardwood. These last much longer and are easier to clean. They also carry a more luxurious vibe.
- Avoid formica countertops, which stain and chip easily. Go with granite or quartz instead. These are surprisingly affordable nowadays. Never, under any circumstances, go with marble. All it takes is a drop of red wine or coffee and your countertops may sport a permanent stain.
- When you paint primary living spaces (like the living room, kitchen, or halls), consider applying an eggshell finish. When compared with other finishes, eggshell is more durable and easier to clean. (It also doesn’t show as many scratches and marks as other finishes.)
You don’t have to do all of this at once. But the next time you find yourself needing to replace flooring, countertops, or paint, think about switching to these durable alternatives.
- Hire a Property Manager
Unless you’re keen on late-night phone calls and emergency repair requests, you probably shouldn’t manage your own properties. DIY property management might save you money on paper, but it rarely ends up being a cost-effective choice.
We recommend working with a professional property management company to streamline repairs and maintenance (among other things). The manager can field phone calls, schedule contractors, and coordinate all of the details with your tenants so there’s minimal friction for all parties involved. It can be a life-saver!
- Conduct Regular Inspections
It’s a good idea to conduct semi-regular inspections. This means at least once every six months, if not once a quarter).
These don’t have to be professional inspections with a certified home inspector. They should, however, be fairly comprehensive.
With regard to the interior, pay attention to the water heater, appliances, smoke detectors, heating and cooling components, and ceilings. If anything strange catches your eye, investigate it further.
On the exterior, visually inspect the roof, windows, painting, HVAC equipment, crawl space, and landscaping for unusual signs of disrepair.
- Be Strategic With Landscaping
If you have a single-family rental property, you need your landscaping to look good. You also don’t want to have to spend every weekend pulling weeds and mowing grass.
The solution is to use low-maintenance landscaping solutions. For example:
- Use hardscaping instead of grass (whenever possible)
- Install landscape fabric in beds to slow/prevent weed growth
- Use mulch around plants to prevent soil erosion
- Cultivate native, drought-resistant plants
- Keep Tenants Happy
One of the smartest things you can do is keep your tenants happy, obviously. You should check in with them on a regular basis to see how they’re doing and offer to help with any issues they’re facing.
If you do this, you might encourage them to volunteer information they might not otherwise have mentioned. For example, a tenant might notice a small leak in the upstairs toilet, but didn’t want to bother you.
However, if you proactively motivate them to bring issues to your attention, they’re more likely to say something. As a consequence, you’ll be able to fix a minor concern and prevent a potentially more serious problem.
Maximize Your Property’s ROI
ROI is the name of the game. If you’re a rental property owner, you should always be looking for ways to lower expenses, increase income, and boost cash flow.
One way to do this is by reducing the ongoing cost of repairs and maintenance. We trust this article has given you a few ideas to work with!