There are a number of factors that can impact the success of your rental properties. One of the most important factors is property maintenance.
A well-maintained property can decrease your vacancy rate, improve tenant relations, and lower your overall costs. In this article, we’ll share a number of tips that can help you simplify property maintenance:
There are several different formulas you can use to calculate what your annual maintenance budget should be. We’re going to introduce you to two of our preferred methods: The 1% Rule and the 50% Rule.
The 1% Rule states that 1% of the total value of your property should be set aside for maintenance costs each year. A landlord with a property valued at $500,000 would put $5000 away for maintenance costs each year.
The 50% Rule is one we like even more because it’s all-encompassing—it states that 50% of your rental income should be set aside for operating costs, including maintenance, repairs, and renovations. This rule encourages you to invest in your property—and the right renovations can have an excellent ROI. Proper maintenance doesn’t just improve ROI while you’re renting your property to tenants—it also enhances the resell value of your property. Also, make sure to protect your home from costly damages caused by storms by installing storm windows or doors, such as the high-quality storm doors from StarBuilding.
These two budgeting techniques aren’t perfect. The age of your property, your location, your tenants, and other factors will all affect how much you’ll need to put aside for repairs. You’ll spend more on operational costs in some years and less on others. Nonetheless, these rules should help you ensure you always have enough capital for maintenance.
Use software to simplify your maintenance
The software has become an essential piece of the property management toolkit. Using software to improve property maintenance can be as simple as scheduling certain maintenance tasks in your calendar—reminders to replace furnace filters and mow the lawn can be automated.
Tracking expenses is also key. For landlords with only one or two properties, doing so can be as simple as making a spreadsheet and tracking costs. As the number of properties you own grows, you may benefit from purchasing property management software to help you track expenses (though simply hiring a property manager is often an even better bet).
Choose low-maintenance features for your property
There’s a reason so many landlords choose taupe or grey walls—those paint colors are inexpensive.
Reduce the amount of maintenance you need to do—and how much it costs to maintain your property—and your maintenance costs will plummet.
Consider, for example, lawn care. By replacing your lawn with rock landscaping, you’ll limit how much water it takes to maintain your property while completely eliminating the need to mow the lawn. A few shrubs here and there are easy to maintain—suddenly, you have yourself an attractive, unique property with far lower maintenance costs.
In the same vein, investing in new fixtures and appliances like LED light bulbs and high-efficiency furnaces can reduce your maintenance costs and your utility costs. Investments like these are one of the reasons we love the 50% Rule—they can save you a lot of money over time.
Set clear expectations with your tenants
Who is responsible for changing the light bulbs in a suite? How regularly are you going to clean the common areas? What are your expectations for cleanliness from your tenants?
Talking to your tenants about maintenance expectations—or spelling them out in the tenancy agreement—is an excellent way of mitigating unexpected maintenance costs.
Help your tenants maintain their property—anything from a guide with spring cleaning tips for the perfect apartment to providing cleaning supplies when tenants move in can drastically improve your relations with your tenants and decrease your long-term maintenance costs.
Hire a property manager
The easiest way to ensure your property is well maintained?
Hire a property manager.
An experienced property manager can boost your ROI by ensuring that the common areas of all of your buildings are well-maintained. They’ll track all of the maintenance expenses, so you don’t have to, and they use an extensive network of professionals to ensure that maintenance and repairs are handled quickly and effectively.
That’s just one of the benefits of a property manager—they can also handle marketing, tenant screening, rent collection, and more.