Have you ever had an angry tenant because their fridge went out, ruining all of their food? We hope not.
If you’re a landlord you probably know what a big deal it can be when things break at one of their properties. Sometimes it’s something small like a window AC unit, but sometimes it’s something major like the hot water heater. Either way, it still means money that comes out of your pocket. Purchasing investment real estate means planning for everything; repairs, maintenance and Cap-Ex.
An ounce of prevention, as they say. Being able to anticipate when these repairs and replacements need to be made and being able to plan accordingly can mean the difference between an angry tenant and a happy one. If, for example, the air conditioning or heater breaks you will need to be able to repair or replace it immediately or risk legal action! There are some preventative maintenance jobs that can save a landlord thousands of dollars.
You can preemptively prepare to replace household items that might be on their last leg by writing down when you purchased them and beginning to monitor them closely when they are getting “old”. Simply Self Storage came up with this handy graphic that explains when items in the interior and exterior of your home might need replacing. The list also includes several major appliances and items around the house you might not have thought to check.
Figures outside the property tend to suffer the most wear and tear and should be monitored closely to ensure they are in good condition for your tenants. You will want to check things like the window AC unit at around 10 years and the roofing and siding closer to 25-30 years. Decks, depending on what material they’re made of, can last 35 years or longer!
Fixtures inside the property that might need replacing include the carpet (which lasts about 10 years), the faucets and fixtures (around 15 years, depending on their quality) and the HVAC system (can last around 20 years). Counter tops can last upwards of 50 years, longer if they are made of stone and well taken care of! There are some landlord repairs that even property owners can learn how to fix.
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Appliances are among some of the smaller repairs to a property but they unfortunately also need to be replaced more often if they are not well maintained. The microwave will usually last around nine years, a dishwasher closer to 10 and washer and dryers will usually start fizzing out around 12 years into their life. If your tenants take good care of them you can usually repair these items to make them last longer. However, if your tenants don’t take good care of them they may need to be replaced more often.
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There are other items around the house that will need monitoring. Things like the smoke alarms and fire extinguisher can last around 10 years, but it’s imperative that you ensure they’re being properly maintained. Check them often to be certain they’re working properly. If your property has a sprinkler system you may need to replace it every 20 years. Electrical wiring will not need to be replaced very often, but due to safety hazards it’s best to monitor it in older homes.
If you stick to the timelines included here you should have no problem anticipating repairs or replacements that need to be made in your properties.
Planning ahead not only helps you prepare for the costliness of these repairs but also keeps your tenants happy!
What have you found to be the most expensive parts of your rental to maintain and repair/replace? Any preventative maintenance tips? Don’t be shy!