Investment property maintenance costs can eat into your portfolio's profits, it's true. The best rule is to estimate the property maintenance costs using the "1% Rule." Namely, your annual maintenance will cost about 1% of the property value.
For example, a $500,000 rental property (Think multi-unit) should expect to pay approximately $5,000 annually in maintenance. While that may seem like a small slice of your income, this cost can easily spiral out of control when you have to hire per job rather than having a list of vetted contractors to work with on-call.
What to Watch out For
When you're a solo investor, there are still some clever hacks you can take advantage of to keep maintenance costs in-line. Have you ever considered providing phone support before dispatching contractors to respond to tickets? As a professional property management company in McKinney, we find that the top rental unit repair requests are:
- Garbage disposals
- Plumbing leaks
- Appliance issues
- HVAC systems
- Clogged air filters
- Clogged sinks and toilets
- Pesky pests
- Roof leaks.
Here's where you have the chance to either save some money or get a more detailed report to help your maintenance professionals do their job right. Keep in mind; this is by no means an exhaustive list. However, it gives investors a great starting point to amend any data your tenants submit through a text or online request. It also makes your tenants feel acknowledged and cared for when you respond promptly—even if it's just to gather more information.
Clearly, this does NOT constitute an all hands on deck emergency—unless there is smoke coming out of the disposal or some leaking pipes associated with misuse.
Still, it's worth talking with your tenants in the event of a disposal malfunction to prevent further damage from occurring in the interim. Your tenants should also be educated on what can and cannot go into the disposal.
- What were you doing when the disposal stopped working?
- What type of objects were you attempting to grind?
- Have you reset the disposal?
- Is the disposal stuck?
- Is it humming but not working?
This can be more serious, as it may lead to additional damage to your McKinney rental properties. Talking your tenants through how to shut off the water main can be a saving grace here.
- Where is the water coming from?
- What is the flow rate like?
- Is it leaking from the base of the water faucet, pipes, or water heater?
Usually, issues with appliances do not constitute an emergency. We've found that issues with appliances are more closely associated with user error than anything wrong with the appliance in question.
- Did you check/reset the breaker?
- Is the oven turning on? Is the temperature accurate?
- Did you lose power recently?
- What kind of sounds is the fridge making?
This can be critical in cases of extreme weather or a complete failure of systems to function. Namely, if the heat doesn't work during the depth of winter, this could lead to pipes freezing (yes, even in McKinney!) and additional property damage.
Each of your tenants should also know when, where, and how to replace their air filters. This is imperative to the long-term success of your properties' HVAC functions. You may choose to maintain, but you can also choose to roll it into the terms of your lease. If you choose the second option, be sure to inspect the air filters during routine seasonal maintenance.
- Have you checked/reset the breaker?
- Have you checked/replaced the air filter?
- Have you checked the batteries in the digital thermostat?
- What is the current temperature inside versus your setpoint?
Clogged Sinks or Toilets
We've all been there; as long as the clog isn't resulting in a direct overflow, troubleshooting this one could quickly be done over the phone with the right guidance if the tenant has some everyday household items on hand. Diagnosing the materials your tenant has already tried can be very helpful in preventing damage to your units.
- Has the clog caused overflow onto the floor?
- Have you tried using a plunger, Drano, or a similar product?
A periodic maintenance schedule to prevent infestations will usually nip this issue in the bud when you have multi-family units. However, sometimes this can be homeowner induced. Work with your tenants on proper food-storage procedure, trash-bin policies, and identify if any tree limbs overhang your property. This can introduce pests into the home.
- What kind of pests did you see, and where?
- Was any sugar or other foodstuffs left out in the open?
- Are there any overhanging tree limbs?
- Where are you placing your trash?
This is bad news, whether you operate mostly single-family or multi-family units. As a professional McKinney property management company, we always recommend leaving your roof work to the professionals. Still, you can work with your tenants on identifying the state of your gutters and where leaks are located in the home.
In multi-family units, identifying the location of leaks may, in turn, point to an issue with other residents.
- Is there any visible damage (like wet carpet or drywall)?
- Is there standing water?
- Where in the home is the leak occurring?
Standing water is a serious issue that may require dispatch of a water remediation company, not to mention the roof repair. Water remediation can be expensive, but the cost of avoidance is mold. As any investor knows, mold can spell doom for an otherwise profitable property.
A Property Management Company in McKinney Can Help!
In the age of social media, rapid response to property maintenance tickets is imperative to keeping your rental properties' online presence positive. However, not all tickets require high-salaried, after-hours responses.
Issues that dictate the need for immediate resources are those that might cause loss of life and damage to property if the problem doesn't receive immediate attention. That said, answers to additional questions will enable you to direct resources more appropriately: you may not need the plumber to come in if all your tenant needs is a new o-ring at the faucet!
Sometimes a quick phone call with your tenant can help your residents help themselves. There's always give and take when it comes to cost-management, but adequate property maintenance is mandatory. Words spread fast, but water spreads faster.
However, you don't have to handle this all on your own: a professional McKinney property management company can take the stress out of midnight maintenance tickets. A property manager also has the advantage of experience: working with a high volume of properties is the mother of invention!
That said, not every property manager in the McKinney area has the same level of experience! So, how do you find the right fit for your investment portfolio when you have multiple properties? Look no further than RentHub's FREE guide to finding the best property manager!
We know how important your investment properties are to your financial future: download your copy today to find the right property manager for your maintenance needs!