Any homeowner knows just how much work it can be to stay on top of home maintenance and repairs. Even something that seems like a simple fix can result in multiple trips to the hardware store and cost a lot more than you might expect.
Now scale that up for an investor who owns one, two or 20 multi-family rental properties. It quickly becomes clear how challenging it can be to stay on top of maintenance requests and manage the associated costs that can quickly escalate.
Tips for Keeping Maintenance Expenses in Check
The repairs and maintenance category is easily the most expensive part of owning rental properties in Central Ohio. We’re not saying this to scare you away from investing in real estate properties, but it is an important factor to consider when planning your budget, setting rent rates, and determining your potential cash flow.
Among the most expensive maintenance items are those related to things like your HVAC unit, water heater replacements, roof repairs and mold issues. While many repairs are unavoidable, there are some ways to take the sting out of the costs associated with them.
- First, invest in high-quality products – While they’ll be more expensive up-front, they should last a long longer. This means fewer trips out to your property by the repair person and fewer associated labor expenses.
- Second, keep the long-view in mind – This piggy-backs off the previous point while reiterating that all your expenses should be viewed from the perspective of thinking in decades, not years. While you might have an expensive maintenance year, if you get a good-quality product, hopefully, you aren’t having to significantly address that issue again for many years to come, and your overall expense rate will go down (especially your labor costs).
- Third, keep up with routine maintenance and address problems preventively – It’s almost always cheaper to prevent a problem than it is to deal with a much bigger issue after it gets out of hand. While some of this will rely on your tenants telling you about an issue, you should also keep up with seasonal changes that can affect your properties and do more thorough repairs and upgrades during a turnover.
Maintenance expenses are part of owning rental properties, but there are ways to reduce your overall costs by investing in quality products and staying on top of issues preventively.
At RL Property Management, we work with property owners like you every day and are happy to answer any of your questions about owning rental property or working with a property management company. Get in touch with us to learn more.