Real estate investment properties can be an excellent way to make an income, but if you are constantly having to perform maintenance then it can cut into your time, or even into your profits. If you are new to this and don’t yet know the tricks of the trade then our tips for maintaining a real estate investment property can help hugely.
Probably the single most important piece of advice is to choose your tenants wisely as you don’t want anyone in the property that is just going to wreck it or not look after it. Tenants should treat the property like it is their own. While a security deposit helps, it isn’t the only thing that matters. Try to get references for your tenants to ensure they will take care of the house. There are some real horror stories out there from people who didn’t do their checks and found the tenants to be disrespectful of the property.
There are plenty of simple inspections you can carry out on both the inside and the outside of the house to make sure it is in decent condition. A lot of people make it a condition of the contract that they are able to inspect regularly to check everything is in order with the house.
On the exterior of the home, you should look for any structural damage or anything that could potentially lead to an expensive repair in the future. Rot, chimney cracks, and roof issues are just some of the things that can cause issues down the line.
On the inside of the house, look for signs of dampness and mold, as well as general disrepair. The house might not have been properly looked after, which is a big warning sign. If your tenants know you are going to inspect regularly, they should make an effort.
If your home has a garden, you probably shouldn’t expect tenants to do lots of upkeep so you can make life simpler. Ensure there aren’t any demanding trees or plants and consider switching to artificial turf so they don’t have to mow the lawn all the time.
There are plenty of signs that pests and rodents might leave behind. Check for droppings or signs of gnawed furniture. Mice and rats can be costly invasive species to have to deal with.
Seal Doors and Windows: Pests can wiggle through tiny cracks and gaps, so you should inspect and fix any warped or damaged doors and windows, as well as those that don't fit properly, on a regular basis. Repair any rips or tears in the screens as soon as possible. Use screen mesh with a minimum of 200 holes per square inch, which can be found at most home and hardware stores.
Use the Right Light Bulbs: Replace standard mercury vapor lights with high-pressure sodium vapor or halogen lights to decrease flying insects around doors and windows. Insects will be less attracted to bulbs with pink, yellow, or orange colors.
Look for Interior Gaps: Many pest control measures are carried out outside the home. Some fractures and holes, however, will only be seen from the inside. Regularly check inside, under, and behind kitchen cabinets, refrigerators, and stoves for signs of pests. Look for cracks in the trim and around pipes, vents, and cables.
Plumbing should be regularly checked, too. Over time, plumbing can degrade and it is possible that you can end up with leaks. Not only can these lead to a shocking water bill, but the repairs might be costly too.
On inspection, make sure you are checking all of the main rooms with plumbing in the home, or even get a professional to check.
You don’t want to go to the property when your tenants have left and find that your air conditioner won’t turn on or has a nasty rattling sound. Get it regularly checked and maintained, and get the filters changed. Having the filters in for too long can even be a health hazard. While HVAC maintenance costs, it is better than a premature replacement.
The following are some tips to help you manage your property’s heating and cooling system.
Remove standing water. It is important to regularly remove water that collects in the building's moisture control unit, such as drain pans. The accumulated water also becomes a breeding ground for pollutants and bacteria.
Clean the air ducts. Use brushes, power washers, and vacuum to detail the equipment on a regular basis. Random and dirty units pose a health risk to tenants and can pose costly issues in the future.
Check belts and bearings. Make sure the edges of the strap are straight and clean them regularly. If the belt is misaligned, the belt may wear and the pulley may be scratched.
Replace air filters. In general, air filters are not expensive. So keep a supply of air filters on hand for quick replacement.
Whenever you employ any services or buy anything for the property, make sure you have a record. You may have guarantees and warranties that you need to claim on, but if you don’t know where the paperwork is you may not be able to. Similarly, insurance documents and contracts all need to be kept totally safe and in a location where you can easily find what you need.
If all of this sounds like a lot of work, or you are intimate because you don’t know how to do things like property checks, then it could be worth hiring a property management company. They’re not cheap, but you may still stand to make a very healthy profit on your investment, and free up your time in the process for other projects or even to look for your next real estate property.
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