About 44 million Americans rent a property. That’s about a third of people living in the US. If you’re a landlord looking to find the right tenants for this huge pool, you’re going to need to maintain your rental property the right way.
Read on to learn how you can keep your property in top shape so that you can get the most bang for your buck when it comes time to rent.
Keep the Exterior Neat
When you list your property on Zillow or Craigslist, the first thing people are going to see is the building itself.
Cracked and peeling paint are no-gos. People will think that you as a landlord don’t care about their home. They also might think that your maintenance and tenant care are sloppy, which is going to drive them away fast.
You’re going to need to paint the house if it looks old. Change the shingles on the roof. It won’t just look better but will also prevent leaks, mold, and fire hazards that will keep tenants away. Get new siding when you need it, too.
It’s also important that you keep your yard, trees, and hedges clean. Hiring commercial property pruning services is an easy and fast way to get the job done right. They’ll keep your trees low and your bushes clipped and clean.
Ensure the Essentials
Whether you have tenants in a building or not, you need to keep up with basic utility maintenance. It’s annoying, but you don’t want a pipe to burst or freeze because residents aren’t there to pay utilities. At least it’s an investment that pays off for landlords. The property won’t be condemned.
HVAC maintenance professionals are some of the most important people you can call. They’ll:
- Clean out the AC unit to eliminate fire hazards
- Make sure that incoming tenants have heat and AC
- Clean out coils, drains, and other elements
- Get rid of frost and other pipe problems to prevent lawsuits and property damage
This means that it’ll all be ready for move-in day once you find new tenants.
It’s also important that you run the heat in winter if you’re in a place that gets cold weather. This is true even when the building’s empty. If you don’t keep the heat at around 60 degrees or more, you might wind up with frozen (or even burst) pipes.
That’s a super expensive fix and will probably cause a lot of problems for the building!
Talk to Tenants
Once you have tenants in your buildings, you’ll start collecting rent. That’s awesome because you can use some of that cash to maintain the building. If you keep your properties in the best shape possible, you’re not going to lose great tenants because the building’s hard to live in.
Have them periodically give feedback about the properties. Let them do it anonymously. That’ll get you a more honest response. Ask questions like:
- What do you think needs more maintenance?
- What aspects of the building would you change?
- Are you satisfied with how fast and thorough maintenance is?
Talking to tenants is one of the best ways to figure out what needs work.
Set up an easy portal on your website where tenants can request maintenance work. Letting them do it online will be more convenient. It’ll also be more organized for you to have everything in one portal instead of dozens of emails.
Do Preventative Maintenance
Even if your tenants don’t ask for it, though, there are some maintenance-related things that you’ll always need to do. You’re going to want to get the roofing and siding looked at periodically. You’ll need to replace floors, walls, and ceiling tiles sometimes.
Do inspections at least once a year. See what needs to be updated and then go for it. By being proactive, you’ll stop yourself from needing more expensive and annoying repairs down the line.
You also need to give tenants a way to cook and store food. Appliances don’t last forever. Switch them out every few years so they don’t stop working. If they don’t work right and tenants complain, you might be fined.
You also should put a clause in the lease so that tenants need to tell you about problems that are happening. This obviously won’t always be possible, but if there’s a noticeable problem, you can insist that tenants tell you. Say that they’ll be subject to a fine if they don’t tell you about something obviously noticeable.
Keep to a Standard
You might want to standardize things across all your properties. They could all use the exact same paint for the walls. You can add the same flooring and appliances to every unit.
This will make repairs easier because you won’t need to remember what color paint matches what unit. You can just bring the paint in and get to work knowing it’ll all match.
Basically, this makes everything easier for you. It also makes your properties and tenants easy to keep track of. You’ll know exactly how much everything costs.
It’s also a good idea to conduct routine maintenance at the same time across the board. That way, you’ll only need to deal with it once a year.
Speaking of organization, it’s important that you document everything that happens and keep files organized. Keep documents of repairs, renovations, changes you made, tenant complaints, maintenance requests, and how much money each property brings in.
Being a landlord is a business, so maintenance fees and time might be tax deductible. Keep track of all the time and money you spend on projects so that you have it when filing taxes.
You also should just keep documents for your own personal records. That way, tenants can’t complain and say you didn’t do something that you said you would. This will keep you out of financial and legal trouble. It’ll also keep you organized.
Maintain Your Rental Property the Right Way
Now that you know how to keep your rental property in top shape, it’s time to get started. Start the process of renovations by researching what tenants like to see, how you can stick to a budget, and more.