Turning Your Houston Rental Home into a Money Tree
Investment properties are supposed to keep investors financially secure. However, many times, investment properties turn out to be money pits. How can rental property owners make sure their investment is bringing in more money than is going out? How can they keep from going in the red due to maintenance, repairs, high tenant turn over, lawsuits, and just not enough time to be there for your renters when they need you?
Maintaining your property to keep it in pristine condition is something that every investment property owner in Houston-Galveston Bay Area needs to do. Keeping repair costs low by using preventative maintenance techniques to keep repairs at a minimum, budgeting for unexpected repairs when they do occur, understanding local and state statutes regarding the hiring of contractors, being available to tenants when they have problems, and looking for responsible and reliable renters will all help save money in the long run.
The good news is that with a little planning and some smart decisions, taking good care of your property won’t require significant extra effort. Instead, it will just take some new habits and a few changes to the way you are already doing things. Here are several ways landlords or rental management companies, such as Real Property Management Prestige in Clear Lake, can keep maintenance costs low and tenant satisfaction high.
- Preventative Maintenance
Preventing appliance and structural break downs will be less costly than the repairs needed due to the lack of preventative maintenance. Changing air filters on AC/heating units, keeping the coils of the refrigerator clean, checking for potential structural problems that might occur due to foliage overgrowth, making sure gutters and drains are not clogged, and fixing any water leaks that might rot wood or damage other structures, attract insects and rodents, or cause mildew are just some techniques rental property owners and their tenants should do to prevent further damage to the home and land. Regular inspections and evaluations will help landlords or rental property management companies spot small problems before they become big ones.
- Budget for Unexpected Repairs
No matter how much you use preventive maintenance techniques, something will inevitably break down. Don’t get caught being unprepared for an emergency or maintenance request. If the property owner does not have the funds to make repairs quickly, dissatisfied tenants might leave or just not resign the lease when the time comes, especially if the repair issue violates the lease, and/or threatens the health and safety of the tenants. Therefore, it is important for landlords to set aside some money every month to deal with repairs quickly when needed. Having an account for money set aside for repairs instead of using credit will also save landlords money in the long run. There are several formulas to help figure out how much money a landlord needs to set aside for maintenance and repair costs, but a quick estimate would be about 1% of the total property value per year. EX: A property valued at $190,000 should cost $1,900 a year to maintain (or $160 a month).
- Know the Law
Doing a repair yourself or sending someone else to fix a problem at one of your properties sounds easy. However, there are some repairs that require a licensed professional with credentials, otherwise you could be in violation of federal or state law. Furthermore, most repairs require documentation of the communication between the landlord and tenant to avoid lawsuits. Be sure you know the rules and regulations before you dive into anything!
- Answer the phone
When your tenant calls, pick up the phone, no matter what time it is. If you respond promptly to your maintenance requests, you’ll have happy tenants. Even better, you’ll have the opportunity to take care of any problem before they become larger issues. That means a well-kept property that will attract quality tenants for years to come. If late night calls for stopped up toilets sounds like something you would rather not deal with, a better solution might be to hire a rental property manager.
- Get ready for a show
When you switch tenants, rental property owners should perform maintenance checks, fix needed repairs, repaint where needed, switch out light fixtures, replace air filters, and do a thorough and detailed cleaning such as shampooing carpets and cleaning windows. Regular turnover maintenance can go a long way in keeping your home in the best possible condition and will help attract the best possible tenants.
Getting Professional Help
If all these chores sound like too much for you to handle efficiently and effectively, let Real Property Management Prestige handle them for you. The cost of not maintaining your property properly far outweighs the cost of our services. Don’t let your investment bleed you dry. Turn a money pit into a money tree and watch your profits grow!
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