A critical part of your cash flow equation as a property owner is your rental property maintenance expenses. Obviously, the higher your expenses are, the less your profitability will be. The inverse is also true. Taking a proactive approach to maintenance issues will improve your bottom line and your profits. Also, a well-maintained property will attract more tenants and they will be willing to pay more, so your rent revenues will go up. It is a good idea not to cut corners when it comes to maintaining your property and keeping it in good condition.
Be proactive. Your property should look good before it goes on the rental market, and it’s important to do a complete inspection prior to someone moving in. When you do that, there will be no arguments at the end of the rental period over damage. You should also do routine inspections after you have a tenant move in. This is a good idea for two reasons; you can look for unreported maintenance issues, and you can check on whether the tenant is taking good care of the property. You can also look for lease violations and make sure there aren’t any unauthorized pets or people living there.
During your routine inspections, look for things that need to be repaired or replaced. Look under sinks for leaks. If you don’t check for wetness near the pipes, you could end up with mold, which is problematic in Florida. Mold will present a whole series of potential problems and liabilities that you want to avoid. Check the air conditioning filters. Make sure your tenant is changing the filters regularly. In Florida, we recommend that filters be changed every month in the hot season, when the air conditioning is being used regularly. In the off season, the filters should be changed every two months. If you have a dirty filter that restricts the air flow, your system will work twice as hard and last half as long.
Check for potential termite damage. Remember to get the air conditioning unit serviced at the beginning of the hot season. Have the heat checked as well when winter rolls around. Most Florida homes use coil heat or a heat pump, and even though we don’t use the heat very often, you will need to have the heat working for those few days that do reach the freezing mark. Look for ceiling leaks as well, because those could cause expensive problems if they are ignored.
Another way to save money on maintenance costs is by doing a thorough background check on your tenant. At Sarasota Management and Leasing, we always make a point of interviewing prior landlords. Talk with them to find out if the tenant took good care of the property and if they were easy to work with when it came to maintenance and repairs.
Finally, a skilled property manager will help you save money on maintenance and increase your profitability. A property manager can minimize your expenses. They get things fixed at a lower price than you would as an individual landlord. A good property manager will know when to call a handyman and when to get a repair done by a licensed contractor. These decisions can improve your maintenance experience and have a direct impact on the return you get on your investment.