When it comes to investing in rental properties, there’s a lot to think about. From choosing the right market and finding the perfect location to researching local regulations and dealing with tenants, there are many important pieces of the puzzle to consider. Another crucial factor is maintenance. Because having a well-maintained property helps ensure that you maximize its value over time. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about maintenance when buying an investment property.
Understand Your Maintenance Responsibilities
Before signing on the dotted line, make sure that you understand what your maintenance responsibilities will be as a landlord. Some properties may require more upkeep than others—for example, older homes could have plumbing or electrical problems that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Other properties may require more basic maintenance, such as lawn care and snow removal. Make sure you are fully informed of your responsibilities before purchasing an investment property.
Create a Maintenance Budget
Once you know what maintenance tasks will need to be done on the property, create a budget for them. You’ll want to account for both regular expenses, like monthly landscaping or pest control services, and unexpected costs, like plumbing repairs or roof replacements. It’s also important to factor in some cushioning so that there is money available if any issues arise between budget cycles. A good rule of thumb is to set aside 1-3% of the value of the property each year for maintenance.
Create a Maintenance Schedule
Create a regular schedule of maintenance tasks to keep your rental property in tip-top shape. This could include things like regularly cleaning the gutters, changing HVAC filters, or checking for water leaks. You may even want to hire a professional inspector annually to check that everything is in working order. Keep in mind that some of these tasks will need to be done more frequently depending on where your property is located and the type of rental you’re offering (e.g., apartments vs single-family homes).
Know When to Call a Professional
When it comes to maintenance, knowing when to call in the professionals can save you time and money. If you have a tenant who needs repairs but you’re not sure how to go about them, calling an experienced handyman or plumber can be a great way to get the job done quickly and safely. For example, when it comes to water heater repairs, only a trained and certified technician should handle the job.
Prepare for Emergencies
No matter how well you maintain your investment property, the unexpected can still happen. That’s why it’s important to prepare for emergencies. Have a plan in place for if and when something goes wrong. This could include an emergency contact list of repair people that you trust or a fund that you designate solely for maintenance-related repairs. Preparing ahead will help ensure that any problems are taken care of quickly and efficiently with minimal disruption to your tenants.
Maintenance is an integral part of owning an investment property—and one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Taking the time to understand your responsibilities before purchasing a rental property, creating a budget and schedule, knowing when to call the professionals, and preparing for the unexpected will help you ensure that your property is in good shape all year round. By taking the time to properly maintain your investment property, you’ll be able to maximize its value over time and provide a safe and comfortable home for your tenants.