Protecting the condition of your home and the value of your property requires a schedule of routine home maintenance. This can sometimes seem overwhelming, especially if you’re not comfortable making your own repairs and seeking out continuous improvements. It can also be expensive; even those small repairs seem to add up quickly.
Routine home maintenance is important, however, in avoiding bigger and more costly problems.
When you’re renting out a property, that routine maintenance is even more critical. Your tenants are expecting to live in a clean, well-maintained, and safe home. The value of your property depends on it remaining in good condition. You’ll have a hard time attracting and retaining good tenants if the property is always in need of repairs and replacements.
Home maintenance is more than an extra item on your to-do list as an investor. It’s an investment that’s always worth your time and resources. You expect a lot of repairs, but there are also surprises that you’d rather avoid, like that leaking water heater or the broken furnace.
Preventative maintenance will save you money and protect your property.
In this blog, we want to talk about why home maintenance is so important (and always will be), and what you can do to make sure nothing is getting missed at your own property.
Purpose of Routine Home Maintenance
The purpose of routine home maintenance is ultimately to prevent expensive surprise maintenance.
Checking up on the condition of your property cannot be a one-time thing. Good maintenance requires continuous inspections and service when it comes to the property’s foundation and exterior as well as the appliances, heating and cooling systems, plumbing, security, and electrical functions.
This type of routine maintenance will help prevent expensive parts of your property from breaking. You will save money and keep your home in good condition.
Here is a quick look at why it’s so important:
- Money saving opportunities. Your routine maintenance plans will save you a lot of money, especially in the long term. Think about what you’ll pay for a new roof. Depending on your property, you could be spending up to or even more than $10,000. But, if you have that roof inspected annually, you’ll not be surprised when the roof has to be replaced. And, you’ll be able to make some preventative repairs to extend the lifespan of the expensive roof. Routine home maintenance allows you to fix small problems before they become large and expensive problems.
- Better tenant retention. When you’re making consistent and routine repairs, your tenants are happier in their homes. Responsive maintenance shows them that you care about their quality of life and their comfort. This will lead them to stay in place for longer, which reduces your risk of vacancy and turnover costs. It also keeps their own costs down. When you’re having an HVAC tech check your air conditioning unit once or twice a year, those tenants will have an efficiently running unit, which means their electric bills are lower. The air quality in their home improves.
- Increasing rental value. Routine home maintenance will also drive up what you’re able to charge in rents. That’s more consistent income on a monthly basis and it also boosts the value of your asset. Well-maintained homes always rent for more, and when you’re ready to sell - you’ll find you can list the home at a higher price.
- Your systems and appliances last longer. Think about your dishwashers, refrigerators, and washing machines. Think about your water heater and your landscaping. The wear and tear that these parts of your home take on with tenants living in your property can be extreme. But, when you are servicing and inspecting these parts of your property on a regular basis, you can easily extend the life of those appliances and all the expensive equipment that comes with your property. Minor efforts like vacuuming your fridge coils and your dryer vents will save you from unexpected disasters and total replacements.
- Keeping your property safe. Routine home maintenance keeps your property secure, especially when it’s vacant. Home invasions are always a risk, and if there’s no one living in your rental property at the moment, it’s at risk for thefts, vandalism, and even squatters. When you’re maintaining your home and showing up regularly, it’s less of a target.
How to Keep Up With Routine Home Maintenance
You understand the importance of routine home maintenance, so how do you keep up with everything that needs to be done? You’ll need a reliable team of vendors and contractors as well as a checklist that will keep you organized.
- Put together a checklist. You don’t want to be showing up at your occupied property every month asking to take a look around. This will be disruptive to your tenants. So, create a checklist that you’ll use during move-in and move-out inspections. Plan an annual inspection during the lease term. You can let your tenants know this is specifically to look for any routine maintenance issues that may need attention. If you include it in the lease agreement and give your tenants plenty of notice before you show up, it won’t be disruptive.
- Enlist your tenants’ help. Maintaining a property is a shared responsibility. Make sure your residents understand your expectations for how they will take care of the home. You’ll want them to understand the importance of reporting issues right away. Unreported maintenance is just as dangerous and potentially expensive as deferred maintenance.
- Work with professionals when maintenance is needed. You need a strong team of vendors and contractors. If you have a preferred network of talented people to help you take care of your home, you’ll find that emergencies are responded to faster. Having service contracts in place with HVAC techs, plumbers, and other professionals will ensure you get the best service and the most affordable rates.
Routine maintenance has to be part of your overall investment strategy. It contributes to better returns, higher tenant retention, and a more profitable rental property.
Routine Maintenance Is Responsive
Encourage your tenants to report maintenance issues as soon as they’re detected.
Then, make sure you take action as quickly as you can. This is the best way to reduce your rental property maintenance costs and to make sure you’re keeping up with routine repairs. Tenants are always going to expect a well-maintained property that’s safe, habitable, and comfortable. When they sign a lease agreement and pay rent every month, they expect their rental home will be functional.
Responding with a sense of urgency will save you money and also limit the risk that your minor repair will become a huge problem. Evaluate your current process for managing tenant maintenance requests. Does it allow you to document the problem, respond right away, bring in the necessary vendors, and complete the project to your satisfaction and that of your tenant’s?
This is the goal.
Emergencies are often going to be called in. Your tenants will need all of your contact information in case they need to get in touch to report a fire or a flood or some other catastrophe. For routine repairs, you might want to consider a written system of making requests. This way, everything is documented. You can prove when the request was made and what you did about it. You can also make notes, indicating when you followed up with your tenant to ensure all the work was done correctly and completely.
Prioritize Preventative Maintenance in Phoenix Homes
Preventative maintenance won’t necessarily be a repair. But, it will reduce your general repair costs and cut down on the number of emergency repairs and replacements you’re required to make. Preventative maintenance should always be routine, whether we’re talking about the home you live in yourself or the property you’re renting out to tenants. Set up a preventative maintenance schedule seasonally or annually to make sure you’re doing things like:
- Testing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
- Scheduling inspections and servicing of your HVAC unit
- Inspecting the roof and any chimneys or fireplaces
- Flushing the water heater and any outdoor irrigation systems
- Paying attention to pest control with an ongoing service
- Clearing gutters
- Checking for water, gas, and sewer leaks
This type of proactive maintenance will require a slight investment of time and resources, but it will save you a lot of money on maintenance and repairs in the long term.
There’s also climate to consider when we’re talking about Phoenix and Arizona’s East Valley area. The heat we experience here puts an extra strain on properties in our area. You’ll have to think about that when you’re deciding how and when to make repairs and maintain your home.
There’s a lot of ground to cover when we talk about maintaining your home. We’d be happy to take a look at your unique property and offer some recommendations on how to best maintain it. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at TCT Property Management Services. We manage homes in the East and West Valley, including Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, and Phoenix.