The Investors’ Guide to Rental Property Maintenance
What is a rental property investment?
A rental property investment is when you purchase a condo, home, apartment, or any other dwelling with the intent of renting it out on a long-term basis. The end goal is ultimately to make a profit, so in some cases, a rental property investment may include buying a “fixer-upper” and completing renovations, then renting it out for a significantly higher price than the mortgage amount.
Investing in a rental property can be majorly successful or cause a huge headache. It’s important you know what to look for and how to properly manage the property maintenance before spending your cash on a property meant for investment.
It’s also important to make sure that you’re keeping up with proper maintenance year-round, which, for different climates, may look different. If you’re in a location where the climate varies wildly in each season, keep in mind that you should be ensuring the following seasonal maintenance:
- Clean rain gutters and ensure eavestroughs are free of debris, leaves, and sticks
- Power-wash exterior surfaces like concrete pads and pathways
- Repair any cracks in concrete patios, pathways, and driveways
- Inspect your HVAC and air conditioning
- Keep lawn maintained, trimmed/mowed, and weeds at bay
- Ensure gates and locks are working/in good condition
- Conduct seasonal pest control to avoid bug infestations
- Re-level concrete if pathways or the foundation is shifting
- Have your roof inspected and ensure any cracks or damage is fixed/the roof is replaced
- Re-caulk any areas that are letting in air
- Once again ensure gutters are cleared as leaves begin to fall
- Inspection your furnaces and change all filters
- Winterize pipes to ensure they don’t freeze
- Keep the faucet slowly dripping at all times to maintain water flow and avoid freezing pipes
- Flush the water heater
While these are great things to stay on top of each season, keep in mind that it will be your tenants’ responsibility to maintain the property while they are renting. Subject to your lease agreement with them, this includes things like lawn care, water costs, gutters, and more. In the meantime, hiring a property management company can help you ensure your property is maintained properly without you having to worry about setting everything up or going to the property to do the work yourself.
Making sure that the investment is profitable
Ultimately, finding long-term tenants is a great way to keep your rental property bringing in income and have it profitable. To attract long-term tenants, keeping your property properly maintained and staying on top of more serious issues such as leaking water tanks and broken AC systems (covering these costs yourself) is important.
Ultimately, your property should be well-maintained, safe, and you should be available for your tenants (or have a property manager who can be readily available for them).
- Obtaining property management services will allow you to focus your time on other avenues
- Potential tenants will appreciate your dedication to maintaining property
- You will show that you care about the living situation of tenants, and are not just looking to make a profit
- Property maintenance can be costly and time-consuming
- It cuts into your bottom line
Rental options for landlords
- Fixed-term lease.
- Fixed-term lease followed by periodic-term
These are the most common forms of rentals for residential properties. It guarantees tenancy for a set period of time, often between six months and two years.
This is not an ideal option for landlords as it does not guarantee income or a long-term tenant. It can lead to a revolving door of tenants, quickly deteriorating your property if tenants do not care about how they treat the property, and can make it difficult for you to consistently find new tenants.
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