Keeping up with rental repairs is one of the many obligations of a landlord, seeing as they are responsible for providing a habitable residence to your tenants. Of course, since repairs and maintenance costs are inevitable, property owners need to account for such expenses in their monthly budget. If you have trouble making an accurate estimate, you should learn more about hiring a property manager to oversee your investment.
However, most budgets don’t account for large-scale repairs, and when a significant accident happens, it can severely disrupt your plan and threaten your profits. That’s why this article highlights 5 landlord tips to avoid expensive rental home repairs.
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Inspect for Structural Problems
Structural problems refer to issues a building might have with its framework, including the base, support beams, pillars, and other architectural features. Since these features are integral to building stability and housing standards, they are often some of the most expensive rental home repairs. Restoring a defect can cost you nearly $50,000. Thus, it’s especially essential to inspect these structures because not only can neglect be costly, it can also be detrimental to the lives and properties of your tenants. If you’re wondering what red flags to look for, start with wall cracks, sloped floors, and sagging ceilings.
Also, don’t forget to check spaces like your basement and attic. Since these are often less used spaces, signs of structural defect can quickly go unnoticed. In the scenario where you do find an issue, you should contact a professional structural engineer to investigate the matter further and provide repairs.
Get a Scope of Your Roof
While you’re concerned with avoiding costly structural problems, you should take a look at your roof. A simple patchwork can put you a few hundred dollars short, but a complete replacement can be as expensive as a framework issue. According to Forbes, the roof replacements range in the neighborhood from $5,500 to $11,000. Of course, that number can quickly rise depending on the materials you use and the square footage of the house. Seeing as a replacement is so expensive, it would be best to keep the one you have in good condition.
Although closing costs usually include roofing inspections, you should still make a habit of checking it out yourself. Ideally, it would be best to conduct an annual assessment around fall, so you can patch up any broken shingles and prepare for winter. While you’re at it, don’t forget to clear out your gutters. When they get clogged, they tend to retain water, seeping through the roof and weakening its internal structure.
Ensure you Scan the Electrical Wiring
For the most part, electrical problems never go beyond replacing a few light bulbs, outlets, fans, and other minor features. These usually cost below $500. However, on the rare occasion, you encounter a significant electrical wiring problem, you should probably budget closer to $5000. Moreso, you need to handle electrical issues with caution as they can easily trigger a fire, resulting in further damage and expenses. Thus, it is crucial to avoid such problems at all costs.
Signs that might indicate a faulty wiring system include warm, sparking, or smoking outlets, fizzling sounds, flickering lights, and regularly burnt-out wires and bulbs. Since electrical problems possess such an enormous safety threat, it would be best to hire an experienced electrician to inspect the issue and make repairs.
Prevent Water Damage
Often, it’s the landlord’s job to keep the water running. But when liquid starts to build up in the wrong place, it can become a safety hazard to your finances and tenants’ homes. Hiring a licensed plumber costs from $175 to $450, excluding the cost of materials such as cement and fixtures like a new sink, toilet, or pipe.
Therefore, educate your tenants on the warning signs of an impending plumbing problem, like frozen pipes, backed-up toilets, and low water pressure. On your part, you should ensure you weather-proof your pipes appropriately and clean your septic tank frequently. Asides from the immediate damage water can cause to the property, a buildup of moisture can also result in a mold infestation. This fungus can have mild to severe health implications for the residents, which might open you up to legal liability.
Keep your HVAC in Good Condition
A complete HVAC unit replacement costs about $7,000, so it would be in your best interest to keep the one you have in good condition. Since the HVAC system is integral to maintaining high air quality levels controlling the room temperature and humidity, you need to have it running 24/7. Thus, hiring a licensed HVAC company to perform routine maintenance on your unit will go a long way in maintaining its performance. They can also give you a much-needed heads up if something is wrong and needs fixing.
Although, you or your tenants might notice a problem first if the HVAC system has issues with heating or cooling, if it suddenly develops strange buzzing noises, or starts to leak. Besides inspecting your unit, you could also prevent such problems by keeping it clear of debris and cleaning the filters regularly.
When it comes to owning a rental property, you always have to make room for contingencies. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid being blindsided by big-budget repairs that threaten to cost you thousands of dollars. Hopefully, this article on landlord tips to avoid expensive rental home repairs may expose some of the untended dangers in your units and help you avert a crisis. Since many of these faults have tell-tale signs, it’s not too late to nip the problem in the bud, ensure your tenants’ safety, and save yourself a lot of money.