It’s hard enough for many property owners in Ocala to keep up with their home’s year-round maintenance needs. When you have a rental property that you’re not actively living in, that challenge gets even harder. Yet, preventative maintenance and seasonal upkeep is the key to keeping your overhead low. A little cash invested into maintenance and tune-ups can end up saving you thousands of dollars down the road.
Invest in maintenance and upkeep
Consider your property’s cooling and heating systems. If the furnace stops working in winter or the air conditioner quits in the summer, it could be a big problem. In many states and municipalities, a non-functional HVAC system—depending on the season—could be grounds for the tenant to legally vacate the property if you don’t fix the issue in a reasonable amount of time. In other words, there are high stakes involved here.
That’s why seasonal tune-ups are such a good idea. A spring AC tune-up and fall furnace tune-up helps ensure that your cooling and heating systems are ready for the season ahead. During a professional air conditioning tune-up, a certified technician will fully inspect and thoroughly clean out the system. They’ll check critical components and test the unit’s performance. If there are any lingering problems, they’ll report them to you so that you have the option to deal with them before they lead to a full AC breakdown later in the summer.
Preventative maintenance doesn’t just reduce you and your tenant’s stress. It can also save you a ton of money. From a return-on-investment perspective, it only makes sense.
Use a DIY approach for most upkeep
Being “handy” isn’t a prerequisite to being a property owner. Some landlords make it seem like it’s impossible to eke out a profit without physically handling every aspect of the property’s maintenance and repairs yourself. In most cases, that’s just not true, and hiring a professional can be a less expensive option if it means the repair gets fixed quicker, with fewer parts, and with a reduced risk of something catastrophic going wrong.
That’s not to say there isn’t a time and place for a do-it-yourself approach, however. Today’s property owners have more access to online videos and step-by-step how-to guides than ever before. If you want to learn how to do something in your rental, you totally can! From caulking around windows to prevent drafts to flushing out the water heater, there’s a guide to just about everything. Taking care of a majority of your property’s maintenance can end up saving you a lot of money.
A final caveat, however: there are still going to be some things beyond your proverbial pay grade. Never work on your plumbing, electrical, roof, or HVAC systems. There’s just too high of a risk of something going wrong, getting hurt, or you doing damage to your property. These high-stakes repair and maintenance projects should only be handled by a professional with the requisite training and experience.
Work with your renters
When the relationship between you and your renters becomes strained, adversarial, or even just distant, it means that communication will move that much more slowly in a crisis. If you set the standard that your tenant can only contact you Monday through Friday between a specific set of hours, you also have to realize that you might not hear about that leaking pipe they first noticed on Friday night until Monday morning rolls around. Your actions matter, too: if you are generally uninterested in quickly responding to problems in the property, your renter will eventually get the message and stop calling you about things that don’t immediately impact them.
Set clear communication standards
There’s a better way forward. First, establish a clear communication plan with your renter. Many successful property owners will text with their tenants: this allows them to have around-the-clock communication without it being intrusive. At the very least, give your renter your cell phone number so that they can call you in an emergency. Have your renter serve as your eyes and ears. If there are specific maintenance and repair issues you want to keep an eye on, such as a water heater that soon needs to be replaced, encourage them to call you immediately if they notice any problems with it.
Build mutual trust
You build a great renter-property owner relationship on mutual trust. Your renter needs to count on you to take fast action if there’s a problem in the property. You need to rely on the renter to let you know when something goes wrong quickly. All told, this positive relationship can end up saving them a lot of stress and a lot of money in repairs and property damage. It’s a win-win situation.
Start saving and getting more out of your rental
Are you ready to start better maintaining your rental property and saving money? Good call! For even more tips on how you can prevent major rental property problems through adequate maintenance, be sure to check out this new infographic.
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