So, you have a rental property. Maybe you are interested in purchasing a rental property for passive income or long-term investment. Whatever the case may be you will need to inform yourself on how to maintain the property and how professional management will partner with you on this.
If you already own a property and you are self-managing this may be the hardest part of turning your property over to a professional management company. Not to worry though, change is tough for almost everyone. When handing over control of maintenance you want to make you understand exactly how it is handled but most importantly why it is handled in that way. Below are a list of questions to ask yourself and ask of your management company to assist with this process.
- Are you budgeting for ongoing maintenance for normal wear and tear? – Properties do not last forever without having to do small repairs. Simply ignoring this will not make for a pleasant experience with maintenance. By being honest as a property owner from day one that there will need to be funds set aside for general upkeep of the property is crucial to the success of your property.
- Do I have quality residents living in my property? – It is a simple question but there is a reason to ask this of yourself. It is proven that having quality residents in your property will reduce the cost of maintenance for the unit drastically and here’s why. First they likely had good credit/landlord history from day one and want to keep it that way when they move out. Second, quality residents stay longer and renew at a higher rate thus reducing vacancy and turn costs for you as the owner. Finally, quality residents are more proactive with maintenance of the property they are living in.
- Do I have the right person doing work on my property? This is the most important question to ask yourself and the management company. An example of this is a handyman doing plumbing work that requires a licensed professional. What happens when the handyman work is done incorrectly and the leak comes back worse than before? If you try to file an insurance claim, the insurance company will likely not cover it because a licensed plumber wasn’t used to do the work. That is when your problems become a nightmare. Sure, the rate for a plumber will be higher than that of handyman but what is the cost of poor work that causes further damage?
- How can I or my management company help with preventative maintenance? If you are properly budgeted like we discussed previously this will go a long way. HVAC units are the number one work order for rental properties. Why is this? Because people set it and forget it. Do not fall into this pit. Take care of your HVAC unit by servicing it often and change the air filters so the system can breathe easier. Ask you management company how they can assist with preventative HVAC and other maintenance.
- How do the residents like the way maintenance is handled? – You may find this question a little puzzling but here is why this is particularly important. Most importantly, the resident pays the rent so keeping a happy resident through the entire duration of their stay is important. It is proven that happier residents stay longer and take care better care of the property. Also, you want to make sure that the residents are being taken care of in a fast and professional manner when a work order is placed. Again, response time and communication with your resident results in an overall higher success for your property.
Knowing that your property will need maintenance at some point, these are just the high-level questions you should ask yourself and your property manager. By having the right resident, the right vendor, and the right expectations this often-viewed headache will turn into a much better and higher appreciating investment.