While some property owners and managers may enjoy what they do, no one owns a rental property exclusively as a hobby. If you’re not turning a profit, you’re investing a lot of time, money, and effort for nothing. It’s essential that property owners do everything in their power to maximize their return on investment and ensure they’re getting the most-possible out of their rental. In this article, we’ll review just a few ways you can make property maintenance and upkeep less stressful and easier to manage—as well as how maintenance and proactive action can help prevent more expensive repairs.
Set a seasonal schedule for upkeep
Even setting aside the immense stress it would put on you, it’s just not possible to knock out a property’s annual preventative maintenance needs in a single week, or even month. As many property owners already know from maintaining their own home, maintenance and upkeep are a year-round project that never truly ends. The good news is that this means you can spread out everything that needs to be completed through the 12 months of the year, aligning certain projects to the seasons in which completing them makes the most sense.
In the spring, you’ll need to check your property’s roof for any water or ice damage. You’ll also need to get the lawn ready for the rest of the year. The hottest days of summer are perfect for taking care of projects inside, especially when you’re between renters and it’s time to repaint. In the fall, clean out gutters and downspouts and start winterizing the property for freezing temperatures.
Once you’ve set a seasonal calendar for your property’s maintenance, you’ll feel much more confident that everything is getting done when it needs to be.
Schedule your preventative maintenance
While you may be able to take care of the lawn or clean out the gutters, you won’t be able to do everything the property needs. For everything else, you’ll need to bring in an experienced professional for preventative maintenance.
For example, you should schedule annual tune-ups for both the air conditioner and furnace. These systems are essential to the property’s indoor comfort. Preventative maintenance not only can help prevent an in-season breakdown, but it can also reduce your renter’s cooling and heating costs while extending the life of the system. It’s a win-win for you and your renter. Have an HVAC professional out to your home in the fall to take a look at the furnace, and again in the spring to check out the AC unit.
It’s easy to overlook preventative maintenance, or be tempted to skip a year or two in order to lower your overhead and maximize your rental income. However, in this long run, this tends to lead to more problems and headache.
Work with, instead of against, your renter
Being a property owner or manager gets a lot easier when you have a cooperative relationship with your renter. After all, both parties have a lot at stake when it comes to home upkeep and repairs: your renter may not own the air conditioner, but they also don’t want it to die in the middle of summer. In most cases, you won’t be successful in enlisting your renter’s help in directly maintaining the property. But, you can use them as your eyes and ears inside of it.
When your renter first moves in, provide them with a list of things to look out for, based on your prior experience with the place. For example, if you know the water heater in the garage is entering its final years, tell your renter to call you at the first sign of any leaks or pooling water. For this approach to be successful, you need two things. First, you need a clear line of communication: be upfront with your renter about how and when they can call or text you. Second, you need to be incredibly reactive to their observations. If your renter feels you’re uninterested in the issues they’re pointing out, they’ll be less likely to go out of their way to tell you about early warning signs they notice.
At the end of the day, you don’t have to become best friends with your renter. It’s a business relationship, after all. But, a little bit of cooperation goes a long way to helping protect the long-term value and safety of the property.
Save even more money with these other tips
Preventative maintenance and a proactive approach are just the start. There are many other ways to cut down on your property’s upkeep costs and keep more of your rental income in your wallet. Be sure to check out this infographic for more information.
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