How Regular Maintenance Can Increase Your Rental Property Value
Whether it is for the home you live in or a rental property, regular maintenance is something you must do to get the most out of any home and keep the cost of owning that property down.
By DOUGLASS BRIGGS
Whether it is for the home you live in or a rental property, regular maintenance is something you must do to get the most out of any home and keep the cost of owning that property down. Maintaining a home promptly and professionally helps owners catch potential problems at their early stages, before they become full-blown damage that is costly and time-consuming to fix. This is true for your primary residence but even truer for a rental home.
There are two primary ways that a rental property puts money in the pocket of its owner. The first and well-known one is through the rents that tenants pay. The second way is through appreciation. Appreciation is the increase in the market value of the property over a period of time. And proper maintenance plays a major role in determining the amount of rental income a landlord earns and how much the home increases in value.
But there is one additional way that maintenance can improve the owner’s earnings on a rental property. Routine inspections can help landlords detect problems early and limit their maintenance efforts to repairs rather than replacements. It is not advisable to allow structural and system damage to progress to a point where you have to replace parts. Thus, you will save money instead of spending it on expensive replacements.
If you are a landlord looking for ways to improve your earnings while reducing the operational cost, here are three reasons why you should pay more attention to maintenance.
Benefits of proper maintenance to a rental property
By inspecting the home regularly and dealing with problems speedily, the owner of a rental property can reap the following benefits:
Attract the best tenants
Most landlords want tenants who will pay the rent on time, look after the property and live in the home for a long-term. But what most property owners fail to accept is that tenants who give a lot to keep a rental in good shape will also demand a lot from the owner of that rental property. In other words, quality tenants only want to deal with quality landlords. And a landlord shows their quality by the way they deal with small issues in the rental.
Charge the highest rent
By maintaining their rental in the best possible shape, landlords give their property an edge in the highly-competitive rental market. They create more demand for their property because tenants realize that their comfort is assured when they live in that home. As a result, the owner of that rental can pick and choose the kinds of tenants they want. And one of the ways they do this is by charging higher rents that only the highest-quality tenants can afford.
Preserve the value of the property
Failing to maintain a rental will create a vicious cycle. And this can start the property on a downward spiral. Failure to detect a minor issue makes it become a major problem. The problem creates tenant dissatisfaction and increases the home’s vacancy rates. Fixing the avoidable problem increases the operating cost of the home. The combination of higher vacancy rates and high operating costs means even less money to look after the home, further reducing its quality. If this process repeats often, it won’t be long before the home becomes decrepit and loses value.
Key maintenance tasks in a rental property
What are the most important maintenance issues that landlords cannot afford to overlook? There are three key aspects to maintaining a rental property:
Routine checks will involve the following:
monthly drive-by or perimeter inspections;
checks for water damage or leaks after heavy rainstorms;
quarterly inspection of tenant’s apartments (if it is part of the lease agreement);
biannual inspection of the roof, ceiling, walls, and foundations;
inspection of crawlspaces and basements for mold or water damage;
inspection of smoke and CO2 detectors;
inspection of the electrical systems biennially;
and other similar tasks.
Regular maintenance tasks
The tasks here are:
monthly or bi-monthly pest extermination,
regular filter changes,
regular cleaning of the gutters and downspouts,
lawn and landscape maintenance (including walkways maintenance),
cleaning of common areas,
annual or biannual flushing of water heaters,
regular cleaning of shared appliances,
and other similar tasks.
How landlords handle emergencies affects tenants’ happiness and determines how much is spent on repairs. To deal with emergencies in the most efficient manner, landlords need to establish protocols for how tenants report problems. It is also advisable for landlords to have a standby handyman to solve emergencies during odd hours of the night, weekends, and holidays.
Finally, the major part of maintaining a rental property is preserving its appearance: internally and externally. At the minimum, landlords should repaint the exterior of their rental every 5-7 years. And every time a unit becomes vacant, the wall paint should be touched up or, at the very least, cleaned.