Saving money while maintaining your Golden, Colorado rental property isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Sure, maintenance costs are expensive and there are always going to be repairs that are needed when you’re renting a home to tenants. But when you’re smart about the timing of the repairs and you’re willing to invest in services and inspections, you’ll find you can save a lot of money over time.
What kind of maintenance is most cost-effective?
The answer is preventative maintenance. This will save you the most money.
It’s a financially smart idea to have a preventative maintenance plan in place, both to protect the value of your asset and to extend the lifespan of your most expensive home systems and appliances.
When you pay attention to preventative maintenance, you’ll find you’re catching problems while they’re still manageable. It’s a good way for rental property owners to keep costs down and to increase the value of their investments. Remember that maintenance means to maintain and keep it in good shape.
Make this a priority if you want to save money. A Golden property management partner can help.
Budgeting for Preventative Rental Property Maintenance
Preventative maintenance covers a lot of ground when it comes to repairs, inspections, and seasonal work at your property. Minor and routine services such as pest control, filter changes, and landscaping are a good place to start. Ongoing contracts can be set up with local companies to take care of insects, snow removal, and lawn care.
The most important things you’ll want to focus on when putting together a preventative maintenance plan, however, are your major systems. This will require a budget. Don’t get discouraged when you think about what you have to spend on these measures; you’re still saving money by avoiding emergency repairs and expensive replacements.
Schedule your preventative services before schedules get busy for your contractors. Most repair calls concern heating in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, and then leaks, drips, or plumbing issues all year long.
What’s the Most Important Preventative Maintenance?
When you’re approaching this from a standpoint of wanting to save money while protecting the value and condition of your property, there are two specific and important places to start.
1. HVAC Inspections and Annual Service
Replacing the furnace is expensive. Repairing a cooling system is also expensive. These emergency repairs cost more than maintaining the HVAC system from year to year with an annual inspection and service contract. Reduce the risk of surprise repairs by working with a local HVAC technician who can conduct annual inspections and provide ongoing service to keep your system running efficiently and correctly. You’ll find yourself responding to fewer maintenance requests.
Well-maintained HVAC systems operate more efficiently. And, when you have that annual contract with an HVAC company, you can usually expect discounts when something breaks or needs attention outside of their routine visits. You’ll have that relationship in place already, which will help if there is an emergency at your rental home that needs attention. You should also provide your tenants with furnace fitters and have the HVAC report to you if the fitter was not charged often.
2. Preventative Plumbing
Water is never good for rental properties, whether we’re talking about leaks from within the home or water intrusion from the outside. A slow leak may seem minor, but if it’s ignored for too long, you can find it quickly becomes a plumbing disaster. Conduct routine inspections where you check under sinks and caulk toilets and tubs.
Clean out the gutters once or twice a year. Branches and leaves can cause clogs and hold water too close to your home. Make sure sprinklers and irrigation systems are functioning and not rusting or deteriorating.
If there are ongoing clogs to the main drain, have it scoped with a camera to see if it’s more than just tree roots or tenant clogs.
How Golden, CO Tenants Can Help with Preventative Maintenance
Tenants can help you save money on repairs.
Your residents can be important partners when it comes to taking care of your rental property and paying attention to preventative maintenance. This is one of the reasons you want to make sure you have great tenants in place.
Share your expectations early, and reinforce them throughout the lease. Tenants need to know that all repair issues should be brought to your attention right away. You don’t want them waiting to report things or ignoring minor problems.
You’ll also want your tenants to understand what they’re responsible for when it comes to maintaining your property. For example, if they’re good about changing the air filter every three months, you’re less likely to pay for air conditioning repairs.
Talk to your tenants about how preventative maintenance can prevent damage that they might be responsible for at the end of the lease term. If they don’t want their security deposit charged, they’ll be more aware of how they’re cleaning and taking care of the property while they’re living there.
It should be clear in your lease agreement what the responsibilities are for the tenant and the owner when it comes to preventative maintenance. Include a list of what needs to be done within the body of the lease or as an addendum. You want to state what maintenance the tenant is responsible for and the cost they will be charged for non-compliance.
For example, if the tenant lets light bulbs burn out and does not replace them, they will be charged for each bulb that is burnt out at the end of the lease term. When this is in the lease agreement, no one is surprised by the charge.
Your lease agreement should also reference preventative maintenance inspections, which should happen annually. You want your residents to be prepared that you’ll come to the property once a year to take a look around and make sure there aren’t any potential issues.
Conducting Preventative Maintenance Inspections Saves Money
Every property owner wants to assume that their tenant will maintain the property properly and keep things looking great. It’s good to be trusting, but you also want to verify that this is the case. Annual preventative maintenance inspections can save you money by helping you catch issues early. They should be done annually, at minimum. If you have a tenant who seems to let things slip and doesn’t always report repair needs, you may want to get inside the property twice a year.
Always provide your tenant at least a 24-hour notice period in writing that you expect to conduct a walk-through of the property.
Once you’re at the property, check the systems we discussed earlier. Look at the HVAC, check for leaks and drips under sinks and behind toilets, and test the appliances, faucets, locks, and lights. You can also use this as an opportunity to make sure the tenant is abiding by the terms of the lease. Talk to your tenant and make sure they have everything they need to take care of the property.
Put Together a Team of Licensed Vendors and Contractors
To save money and set up an effective preventative maintenance plan, you’ll need a reliable team of vendors. If you’re working with a Golden property management partner, you won’t have to worry about finding the right vendors. You can leverage the relationships your management team already has in place.
If you’re managing on your own, create a list of licensed and insured vendors and contractors who are committed to caring for your investment property. If there’s an emergency in the middle of the night, you don’t want to be looking for a plumber. You want to have someone reliable and responsive who will answer your call.
Listen to the advice and recommendations these professionals provide. They’ll often have great ideas on how to keep costs down.
It’s also important to have all the insurance you need in case a covered catastrophe does occur. Preventative maintenance will help you avoid costly breakdowns of systems and appliances, but it can’t help you avoid the snowstorm that sends frozen branches through windows or trees through your backyard fence. Unpredictable things can still occur. Make sure you’re covered.
Think about renter’s insurance as well. Accidents happen, and tenants can cause considerably more damage than normal wear and tear. You might have insurance, but your deductible may be $5,000 or more, and if you file a claim, the insurance company could increase your rate substantially.
Instead of relying completely on your own insurance policy, require the tenant to provide evidence of either liability insurance or renter’s insurance which includes liability and insurance for the tenant’s personal possessions.
Preventative maintenance is a topic that covers a lot of ground. There are several good reasons to prioritize it, and saving money is definitely one of them.
We’d be happy to tell you more about our own maintenance services. Contact us at Laurel Property Services, Inc. In addition to providing property management in Golden, we also serve Wheatridge, Morrison, Lakewood, Arvada, and Genesee, CO.