5 Essentials to Maintaining Your Investment Property

December 26th, 2013

Property Management

As with your own home, your Alhandra investment property should be a profitable belonging in which you take pride, and for which you care. Each property has different property management needs, but there are some standard property maintenance practices that will benefit you and anyone else who owns an investment property.

In our book, here are 5 property maintenance essentials you should adhere to in order to reap the greatest benefits from your investment property:

1. You Need a Dependable Property Maintenance Crew

Among the biggest stresses of owning a rental are property maintenance emergencies. Whether a toilet suddenly floods, a pipe springs a leak, or the AC isn’t working—the problem needs to be fixed quickly for the sake of your tenant and to prevent more damage and expense than necessary.

From the get-go (before any problems arise), make sure you know several maintenance workers who are trustworthy, dependable, and available to help you with any property maintenance emergencies. Furthermore, you need maintenance workers to be ready to quickly perform any necessary repairs or updates when tenants vacate the property. You don’t want to have to wait around to get your property move-in ready; the longer your property is off the market, the more money you lose.

2. Make a Property Maintenance Schedule

A property maintenance and replacement schedule is essential when it comes to effective property management and will help make your rental property an efficient investment for the long-term.

A property maintenance and replacement schedule should include:

  • A list of items to check or maintain frequently (plumbing, drains, seals, crawl spaces, AC unit, furnace, appliances, and so on).
  • The date when replacements and upgrades were made, as well as their life expectancy, place of purchase, cost, serial number, etc.
  • Scheduled inspections, as well as a comprehensive annual inspection of the entire property, inside and out.

You can easily download and customize a sample property maintenance schedule found through a search engine, such as the following Microsoft template: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/home-maintenance-schedule-TC006090433.aspx

Although it may take some time to draw up your first property maintenance schedule, it is an invaluable tool that, once created, will help you complete tasks quickly and thoroughly.

3. Don’t Cut Corners

When there are repairs to carry out, property investors make the mistake of putting a band aid on the problem, rather than taking a holistic approach to the situation. If you take this approach, you may save yourself a few dollars in the short-term, but in the long-term careful and thorough property maintenance will pay off and save you a lot of money and stress down the line.

So, if valves under a sink are leaking, don’t just tighten them and hope for the best. Rather, replace the valves entirely; the potential water damage from a continued leak will cost 10 times+ more than the valve replacement.

4. Buy quality materials

While we’re talking about not cutting corners, let’s discuss the quality of materials you buy. Cheap materials are, well, cheap. Again, they may save you some money for now, but cheap materials will likely have half the lifespan or less than higher-grade materials.

Before you lay that vinyl flooring, consider this: Vinyl flooring only stays “good” for 4 years or so. Ultimately, it will end up cracking and lifting. This is not only unattractive, but it also can be a hazard—you don’t want your tenants cutting their feet! To help you with your property management, consider using another material like tile. Tile looks a lot nicer and will hold up for decades—in the long run, it saves you money.

5. Pest control

When you invest in a property, pests may not be the first part of property maintenance you think about. But critters such as termites and rats can damage your property and will upset your tenants. If there are pests, the tenant is within their right to break the lease and move out. The loss of money during a tenant vacancy could be catastrophic for property investors.

Even if you do not currently have rodents or insects on your property, you should prevent a pest problem by exterminating at least one to two times per year. Taking this precaution is a small price to pay compared with a broken lease and a bad tenant review.