Owning a buy-to-let property can be scary. You’re trusting strangers with something you’ve put countless hours of work into. One of the most important things to know is how to save on your buy-to-let property’s maintenance. It’s a major skill that could put thousands into your bank account. Here are some home and apartment maintenance quick tips to see you right in the property market.
Manage the property yourself
Property management agencies are usually not as invested in your home as you are. I’ve seen so many property agents who rush from home to home, barely glancing at the places, while charging a fortune for property management costs. If you have the time, I strongly recommend you manage the place yourself. If things get too stressful, you can always turn to an agent later.
Maintain a good relationship with your tenants
This is especially important if you’re dealing with home management on your own, but even if you’re going through an agent, it’s nice for tenants to know who’s home their living in. It humanises things, so they’re more likely to treat the place with care.
Know what’s required of you
Landlords can sometimes go overboard when dealing with tenants requests. You should listen to what they want, but you can always say no if your tenant is asking too much.
In the UK, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to fit and maintain smoke alarms, ensure there are no safety hazards such as uneven stairs, repair structural and plumbing issues, and fix common areas in apartment blocks. Landlords are responsible for the costs of all of these issues.
As a general rule, if something is broken and your tenants aren’t at fault, you should fix it. Just don’t go overboard with tenant’s request by changing the paint colour because they don’t like it.
Explore your property agent options
If you’re wanting to go through an agent, there are a lot of options to choose from. Some have different fees and levels of landlord involvement.
Sometimes agents have a minimum threshold of expenditure where they don’t have to contact you before spending your money on the house. Try and find an agent who can lower this threshold so you can work with them to find the cheapest repair option.
If you’re qualified, look for an agent who will let you perform home maintenance on your own.
Try to inspect for permanent damage and worsening conditions every few months. If you’re with an agent, ask to tag along.
Remember, you’re looking for long-term damage, so there’s no need to comment on the general tidiness of the tenants. You’re not their parents telling them to clean up their dishes.
Check for water damage and leaks
While you’re inspecting, one of the main things you want to look for is leaks and water damage. This could show in water spots on the wall, mould appearing around pipes, and leaky faucets. These issues can be disastrous for the long-term health of your home, so it’s worth getting a plumber in to do annual inspections and assess any potential risks.
Don’t crank your rent up
This may seem counter-intuitive since rental properties should be making you money, right? A lot of landlords don’t realise that raising rent prices can incentivise tenants to leave. This means weeks of wasted rent while you look for new occupants. That’s why it’s recommended to keep rent slightly below market value, so even if your tenants leave, you’ll have no problem filling the place up again.
Use certified contractors
Rental property maintenance services are something you should not cut corners on. If you need plumbing work done, call a plumber, if you need electrical work done, call an electrician. Unless you’re certified, doing this work yourself could put your home at risk and cost you in the long run. You’ll also be breaking the law which could see you fined.
Rental property maintenance costs can soar if you don’t do things carefully. But, if you be polite, professional, and plan ahead, you should be fine.
Author: Johanna Cider
“Johanna Cider is a New Zealand based writer with a love for design and interiors. You can read more of her work on her Tumblr”
Rental Property – by Patrick Perkins via Unsplash.com
Landlord-Tenant – by Rawpixel.com via Unsplash.com
Property Inspection – by Mar Newhall via Unsplash.com