If you’re a real estate owner, you’ve probably been asking yourself this question over and over again. And yes, many real estate owners indeed find themselves wondering how to properly maintain their properties. There is a reason why this is so important – the main one being that the more well kept the rental property is, the chances are you are going to rent it and for a good time. This can also help you grow your business by giving you a great reputation.
Here are four useful tips on how to properly maintain your real estate and keep it in mint shape.
1. Regular Inspections
One of the best tips you will ever get on how to properly maintain your real estate is to conduct thorough and regular inspections. This includes inspecting both the interior and the exterior of your property. The main reason why this is important is that if your property is well-kept and damage-free it will significantly improve its price on the market and will allow you to hold on to good tenants Some unforeseen costs such as repairs and replacements are inevitable whenever managing property but they can be much worse if you don’t tackle them head-on because they can cause more expensive repairs. Some of the exterior aspects you should inspect regularly are the roof, windows, landscape, and exterior paint. If the roof gets damaged, you’re in for thousands of dollars of costs to repair it along with the mold problems and other structural impairments the elements may have caused while the roof was damaged. Interior inspections include inspecting the water heater, smoke detectors, paint as well as heating and cooling systems. Water heaters need to be drained regularly and they need to be cleaned of sediment in the water. Smoke detectors are a definite must and you should ensure they are always well powered.
2. Hire a Property Manager
Another very useful tip that will help you properly maintain your real estate is to simply hire someone else to do it for you. This job is performed by a property manager, which has a lot of responsibilities and requires good organization. A property manager is a third party who you hire to handle the daily operations of your real estate. This is only a part of a property manager’s job since they can also be hired to handle tenant relations, rent collection, as well as property marketing if the need should arise. When we say only a part of the job, it’s because the responsibilities can be quite broad, and may include some less heard of aspects such as keeping an accurate budget, securing premises, enforcing leases, filling rental vacancies, etc. If you want your rental property to be in the best hands, it might be a good idea to start looking up property managers who are constantly leveraging data to better their services and have them better adapted to your specific needs. Furthermore, you should look for property managers who have a lot of experience in providing their customers with healthy investments.
3. Maintenance Means Happy Tenants
Many professional property managers will argue that being a good property manager boils down to good rental maintenance. One of the ways to keep your good tenants happy, which many landlords do, is to conduct routine maintenance on top of the aforementioned regular inspections. This also means making timely repairs as soon as they occur. Some property managers have even gone as far as saying that maintenance is the face of good real estate management and that it’s the best form of tenant retention there is.
We must say we agree because more often than not tenants are used to very poor quality service, so if they stumble upon a place where the service is extremely good, it will substantially increase the chances that they will want to continue renting from you. However, while good maintenance service is required of you, there is one particular aspect that you need to pay attention to beforehand and that is tenant screening. What good will the regular maintenance be if the tenants keep destroying the place? This is why you should look for responsible renters, with a good credit history and very strong references since they are more likely to uphold their rental units to a high standard.
4. Determine the Budget
As with any other business out there, setting a certain budget will get you places and will ensure that things run smoothly. Determining how much money to allocate for real estate maintenance can be tricky though. Many professional property managers use a specific rule called the 1% rule to help them out. As they note, one percent of the total property value should be set aside to be used for maintenance purposes only.
To be more exact, if your property costs $300,000, you should set aside a $3,000 budget to cover the maintenance over a year. You should always keep in mind that this is a rough estimate, and some maintenance costs such as roof repairs can be quite expensive, and will probably surpass the 1% mark of your budget. If you have to maintain large capital expenditures, such as the aforementioned roof repairs, you should use a different formula: 50% rule. This rule suggests that half of all rental property income should be diverted to operating costs, and should also include taxes, fixed fees, insurance, and an escrow account for big expenses. In other words, if the rent is $3,000 per month, $1,500 will go to the big cost maintenance.
Properly maintaining your real estate is not just about keeping tenants happy. It also means that your property will last longer, and won’t need serious repairs as it otherwise would have required if it weren’t inspected regularly. Furthermore, even if you’re not keeping tenants, a well-kept place is the most likely one to get sold and quickly too. Make sure you use these four tips to your advantage so your property will last you a long time, and you will have better odds of either keeping good tenants or having it sell in no time.