Ask any Richmond property manager, and they’ll tell you that routine maintenance pays when it comes to rental properties. It is easy to ignore preventative maintenance sometimes, but when you have to write out a big fat check for something that could’ve been fixed by a $3 filter or a little tube of grease, you catch on really fast.
We’re going to share with you some of the most overlooked yet essential property maintenance tasks that could save you a bundle.
Doorstops only cost a couple of dollars but could save you tons of money later, especially in damages and repairs. Without a doorstop, you could get dents on your doorknobs, causing them to suffer unnecessary wear and tear before their time. Renters will open and close stuff all the time, so it’s up to you to put preventative measures in place to protect your property from bumps and scratches.
2. Garage Door
Garage door maintenance specialists can be costly just to show up at your doorstep. So it’s best to keep your garage door in ship-shape by performing ongoing maintenance to avoid excessive wear and tear.
Something as simple as lubricating the chain drive and door joints with grease can help preserve the door and prevent it from getting jammed. Adjust it, make sure it is running right. This can take just minutes, and it’s effortless.
3. Check for Leaks and Water Damage
A little drip underneath the sink can turn into a flood. Hence, it’s important to check underneath each area that has exposed plumbing every time you perform routine maintenance or property inspections.
The toilet supply line can also lead to so much damage that you end up having to replace the subfloor as the bathroom floor becomes drenched and soggy from water damage—all of this from a minor leak underneath the sink.
Backsplashes in kitchens and bathroom spaces can swell from splashes and rundown around the baseplate. These are all sensitive areas for water damage.
Richmond property managers warn that while renters may take care of some areas of the yard, they are unlikely to check the sprinkler system unless they’re having problems with it. When doing a routine inspection, set the sprinkler on manual, watch it operate, and see where they’re spraying. Check for leaks or damage.
Bathrooms with a tile shower require vigilance. Pay attention to the caulking and the grout. If you see cracking and separation in the grout, water could be getting behind the wall, and it should be touched up with new grout. On the vertical seams and where the tile meets the floor, that should all be caulked, not grouted, because there’s movement there and you want to make sure you have a nice tight seal to avoid leaks.
When your lawn is looking worse for wear, neighbors will often call to let you know because this reflects poorly on the rest of the neighborhood. It not only negatively affects the value of your property but that of your neighbors as well.
If your lawn is not looking good, send a notice to your renter letting them know that they have 3 days to take care of the issue, or else you will hire a professional and they will be charged for the services. If the renter fails to take care of the problem within 10 days, send the professional and charge them. This should be outlined in the lease and on the notice that you send them.
5. Use a Maintenance Checklist for All Routine Inspections
Make sure the renters are doing the routine maintenance that they’re supposed to do. List out the renter’s responsibilities during the tenancy. This should be outlined in the lease or house rules. Have clear deadlines in place, such as replacing the air filter every three months.
Ensure you set clear expectations of the consequences if they fail to maintain the property. For example, let them know there is a $55 charge to replace a dirty furnace filter that the renter failed to replace on their own.
While having clear guidelines is important, this doesn’t mean that you should leave the routine maintenance up to the renters. No matter how decent and responsible the renter seems, you should still do regular inspections to make sure important cleaning and up-keep are getting done. Follow up and make sure that everything is done on the property.
You want to do more than just asking them over the phone. You should visit the property and talk with them in person. This is your chance to catch a lot of big problems before they become costly issues.
This is your property. Keeping it in good condition will not only save you money in the short-term but will also protect your investment long-term as well. Property investors really lose when they fail to prioritize routine maintenance, and the quality of renters goes down because the property quality of the home is going down. This means that the rent amount you can demand goes down as well. All of this can be resolved through routine inspections and maintaining that quality with your properties.
Of course, you can outsource all of this to your Richmond property manager, who will hire a contractor to ensure that the property doesn’t get neglected. A property manager typically has a maintenance team on call ready to provide preventative maintenance at favorable rates. Plus, you won’t have to go through the time-consuming chore of liaising with renters and contractors. It’s a win-win.