Posted on March 16, 2021
If you own a rental property, you know there is no end to the amount of situations that can throw you for a loop and potentially cost you money. Some of these are unavoidable, but there is a lot you can do to minimize risk and keep your property safe, appealing, and profitable. Devoting a small amount of money and time to your property can help save large and expensive surprises down the road.
Starting From the Top
Literally! One of the highest-cost items in a home is the roof. Of course, if your property is an apartment in a multi-family building or condominium, this will be less of a concern, but you should still keep up with the state of the building, even if it is not your responsibility to repair. If the roof or other exterior repairs are not your responsibility, make sure you know whose it is so that you can contact them if there are any other issues.
You should have a record of when the roof was last replaced. Check to see if the roofer offered a warranty and if it is still in effect. Know the type and average lifespan of the roof you have. It is a good idea to have the roof inspected at least one per year--ideally in the spring so that you can evaluate for any damages that may have resulted from the harsh weather of winter. Upon inspection, the roofers should be able to give you an idea of the remaining life of the roof and any repairs that need to be made.
Keeping up with this will help prevent roof leaks, which can cause costly damage not only to the home, but to your tenants' property. It's probably not possible to prevent them entirely, though, so make sure you are ready to act quickly in the case of a leak and that you know if you are covered by a warranty.
Other Exterior Concerns
Every time you visit the home, it is a good idea to quickly look over the siding, eaves, and gutters to see if there is any visible damage. These may not need the thorough inspection as the roof, but keep your eyes open for signs of damage--cracks, discoloration, sagging, loose pieces, missing trim, or anything similar can be a quick and easy repair if caught early.
You should also consider a routine exterior pest treatment. Termites and carpenter ants can cause significant structural damage to a home, while ants, roaches, and rodents can make your tenants uncomfortable and lower the income potential of the home. Effective routine exterior treatments are available at a low cost and cause little to no disruption to the residents of the home.
Interior maintenance is just as important, but carries some important considerations. Because routine interior maintenance requires access to the home at times the tenant has not requested it, you need to make sure to keep an open line of communication with the tenants so they do not feel like you are intruding on their space. Even though you own the property and have the right of entry, a renter's sense of privacy is important to their satisfaction with their home.
One easy way to both honor the privacy of your renters and ease the burden for yourself is to pass on the responsibility of some interior items to the tenants. Tasks like replacing HVAC filters can be written into the lease. You also want to make sure that your renters are both comfortable with and easily able to reach you with any and all concerns. Some may be insignificant, but even the smaller things may give you early warning of a bigger problem. That said, even if you do have your tenants replace the filters, you should have the HVAC system inspected and tuned up annually to maximize its lifespan.
One of the best ways to ensure that this work is done thoroughly and in a timely manner is to hire a professional property manager to take on these responsibilities. At Staffordshire Realty, we have the experience, connections, and resources to ensure that your property is taken care of and protected. Let us take the stress from you.
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