The Importance of Routine Maintenance in your Investment Property
It is easy to underestimate how important routine maintenance is when it comes to your investment property. When things are ticking over nicely, the tenants are paying rent on time and there are no reports of anything urgent it can be convenient to put the “small jobs” off until the property becomes vacant again. This is where you as a landlord need to be careful.
There have been instances where I have dealt with new landlords who unfortunately have done exactly that and it hasn’t ended very well for their wallet or their investment property. Sometimes the “small jobs” can turn into big jobs and with big jobs can come big dollars. To tackle this here are some of my top tips to make sure the routine maintenance for your property is being kept up to date. This way when your property becomes vacant again, there won’t be any wait before it can be shown or advertised, you can dive straight into the market again!
This is hugely important. Whether you have a Property Manager or you are self-managing. Just because the tenants are telling you everything is fine doesn’t mean there isn’t maintenance that needs to be addressed. Your Property Manager should be asking your tenant at the routine inspections if they have any maintenance to report and relaying directly back to you. We find the best way to do this is to provide our landlords with photos and written commentary for each routine inspection. This can also be a good record-keeping exercise if you are self-managing landlord.
When maintenance is reported it is best to get it addressed right away, the multiple reasons for this include ensuring no further damage is caused to the affected area, to prevent the tenant from getting frustrated and to protect your investment property from a deteriorating presentation when it is ready to re-let.
Another great way to ensure regular maintenance is happening is to create a property maintenance schedule. Examples of what might be included in this schedule could be your annual pest treatment, the annual air conditioner service and clean, clearing gutters before the wet season among others. If you have a Property Manager in place then this is something they can do for you very easily. If you are self-managing the simplest way to do this is to set reminders in your calendar a few weeks prior to when these jobs are due so that you can book them in with the relevant contractors. When creating your schedule, work out the best times of the year for these jobs, which contractors you want to use and exactly what jobs you want to be done.
Obviously with jobs comes expense so it is a wise idea to put some funds aside at the beginning of your investment journey for routine maintenance. Consider that things can happen unexpectedly, an air conditioner might stop working, an oven might need replacing due to age or you might have a leak to deal with in the irrigation. To prevent any stress for you it would be wise to have some extra funds put aside for the emergency jobs. If your property is managed by an agency you can request to set an expenditure limit where you have an agreed amount you are happy to spend in the case where these repairs need to be done.
A hugely important maintenance factor to consider is what happens when your property is vacant. When your tenants move out who will look after the swimming pool? Who will maintain the garden? These areas still need maintaining and in particular if your property has a swimming pool it is important you get the power connected once the property has been vacated so that your filter can continue to run. If you don’t live nearby the property my advice would be to engage local contractors who can carry out this upkeep for you while the property is empty. Most contractors have dedicated packages for circumstances just like this. If your property is managed by a Property Manager they will be able to set up regular maintenance for you at your request with their local contractors.
Hopefully this advice has helped and perhaps has given you some food for thought when it comes to your investment property.