Every landlord with long-term success takes great care of their properties. They realize that even though it can be tempting to let houses start to fall apart just to save a few bucks, it pays to keep the house in good shape. That’s why rental repair management is so important.
But as your portfolio grows and you have more and more houses to maintain, this burden on your shoulders also keeps getting bigger and bigger. To help you stay on top of everything, here are a few ideas to try.
Share the Load
There’s a reason why most construction projects have a general contractor. It helps tremendously to hire someone else to worry about getting everything done on time and working with subcontractors!
Rather than getting into all of the nitty-gritty yourself, have someone else do that for you. That gives you a single point of contact for status updates, new instructions, etc. Even though this does take away from your profits, it also reduces the attention and stress you devote to the problem. This leaves you more energy to focus on expanding your portfolio further.
Just keep one thing in mind when you hire a general manager of the rental repairs: just because they’re good at doing the hands-on work doesn’t mean they’ll be a good manager!
Use a Tracking System
Trying to keep everything in your head doesn’t work. You’re likely to forget something, which could lead to more expensive problems down the road. Instead, use something to keep track of what is needed on your properties.
The method you use doesn’t matter all that much, as long as it works best for you. Some landlords stick with pen and paper, and just keep their portfolio with them all the time. Others like spreadsheet programs including Microsoft Excel, or more customized software packages more suited to the rental industry.
Work with the Tenant
Despite what some investors with bad experiences may say, every tenant is different. One may not want to lift a hammer to save his life, while the tenant next door may love getting her hands dirty. In every situation, you should find the solution that works best for all parties.
Need a repair and your tenant has experience doing it? You may be able to save some money by having the tenant do it in exchange for a slightly lower rent payment that month.
Got a great tenant who really wants a part of the house updated? Maybe they’ll be willing to split the cost with you- or sign a longer-term contract- if you move forward with it.
Upgrades vs. Repairs
So your house’s furnace is 25 years old, but the HVAC guy says it’s a simple repair? Or maybe the hot water heater is on its last leg and the temperature and pressure relief valve needs to be replaced?
While these kinds of things may be mitigated by a simple repair, it might make sense to just replace and upgrade the whole thing. The whole idea behind rental repair management is to do what’s best for the property, right? The property is like your employee- and as long as you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your customers.
Wrapping it Up
The bottom line is that with rental repair management, there isn’t a black and white way to do things. What costs less money now may cost more in the long run, just like trusting a tenant with a repair may be a horrible move or the best you’ve ever made.
The best thing you can do besides performing regular maintenance (i.e. changing the air filters, getting the furnaces looked at each year, etc.) is your due diligence. Unless it’s an emergency, get multiple quotes from contractors, make sure you understand what’s necessary, and then move forward.