As an investor in single-family rental houses, you want to do everything possible to protect your investment. One of the most important ways you can do that is to keep up with routine maintenance of your rental property and proactively take steps to minimize future repair costs. Here are some guidelines for ensuring the value of your investment property doesn't drop because of a lack of diligence in keeping small concerns from becoming major repairs.
Landlords are required by law to maintain a rental property in habitable condition. A habitable condition means having adequate heating, cooling, hot and cold running water, sewer, electricity, cleanliness, structural integrity and no known environmental hazards such as lead paint, asbestos and mold. Keeping your rental property in habitable condition requires regular inspections – at move out as well as annually – and routine maintenance tasks, including interior, exterior and systems (heating, cooling, plumbing):
Annually inspect and fix caulking around windows, doors, sinks and bathtubs to prevent water damage and heat loss. Check and tighten loose lighting fixtures, stair railings, and door knobs and handles. Ensure windows and doors are working right, repair or replace damaged window and door screens, and repair or change locks as needed. Clean dryer vents to prevent lint buildup, which is a fire hazard, and replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Repair or replace outdated or broken appliances to prevent possible fire or water damage and to stay competitive in the market.
Make sure the roof is structurally sound and shingles and flashing in good condition. Siding should be weather-tight and soffit and fascia in good repair. Exterior wood surfaces must be weather protected. Clean and repair rain gutters and drain pipes. Check the structural integrity of stairs, porches and patios and make necessary repairs to ensure their safety. Repair cracks in driveways, sidewalks and foundation.
Check siding, roof, porches and patios for structural damage. Make necessary repairs to prevent accidents and water damage. Clean and repair rain gutters, window wells and drainage pipes. Repair cracks in foundation and sidewalks. Trim tree branches, fill in holes, and remove debris, junk and any other possible hazards. Keep tree branches trimmed and fences in good repair.
HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical
Annually replace filters in heating and cooling systems and have them professionally serviced. Check electrical systems for overloaded circuits or nonfunctioning or broken outlets, and replace all frayed electrical wires and broken fixtures.
Ensure sure water and septic systems are running freely, with no water leaking from pipes and faucets. Drain water and sediment from water heater, and ensure that any sump pump is working correctly as major water damage could result from a faulty pump.
There is a lot to consider in keeping your rental properties in habitable condition as well as performing preventative maintenance. If you have several properties, it can be overwhelming. Experienced property investors know the value of off-loading this aspect of their business to a professional property management company. Not only will you keep your renters happy and reduce vacancies, you will protect the value of your investment. Visit a site like http://www.nchomerentals.com/ for more help.