Ever heard that phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” A lot of Dallas property managers use that strategy when it comes to their rental. They ignore the minor issues and don’t take care of any repairs until they are absolutely essential. At Specialized Property Management Dallas, we don’t believe in that strategy.
Now that you have acquired the property and have tenants occupying it, it’s all about planning, planning, planning. Sometimes a tenant will be in a rental property for a full year without any huge maintenance costs, and that’s great. But that’s also the best case scenario. Chances are, appliances will break, floors might need to be replaced, and a leaky faucet will need to be repaired. Instead of hoping for the best, when it comes to maintenance issues, landlords should plan and prepare for the worst. Here are a few suggestions from your team at SPM Dallas on how to keep rental property maintenance costs down and tenants happy.
Plan on Maintenance Costs
A popular strategy of some rental property owners is to buy a brand new home that’s just been built and lease it out to tenants in the area. Leasing a brand new home means chances of major maintenance issues cropping up are pretty low. However, you should still plan on maintenance costs for the first few years, as you didn’t build the home yourself and you don’t know exactly which items in and around the property are likely to break.
If the rental home you are leasing out is older than 15 years, there is a good chance you will have to spend a little extra money maintaining it. That’s ok, but take the time to get to know the quirks and traits of your property before tenants move in. Do the windows stick? Does the toilet run? Is there a post on the fence coming loose? Make a list of items inside and around your property that may not need to be replaced yet, but could in the near future. Little issues that don’t need immediate attention can turn into big problems down the road.
Respond to Tenant’s Maintenance Requests Quickly
Tenants tend to mirror what they see from their landlord. If the landlord is proactive in taking care of maintenance issues, responding quickly when things need attention, and showing that they care for the home, tenants are more likely to do the same. However, if a landlord is lax when it comes to maintenance issues, they will generally experience a higher tenant turnover rate. Dallas property managers should do all they can to respond promptly to maintenance issues. Not only does this cut costs on issues that could damage the home further, but it also reduces your liability, and keeps tenants happy. Renters get frustrated and might consider vacating early if they don’t have regular contact with the landlord in times of trouble.
When a rental property maintenance issue arises, have a line of communication always available for your tenant. Take care of the problem as soon as possible and make sure you are in compliance with all laws and regulations. For instance, if an appliance such as the refrigerator breaks, you usually have anywhere from 14-30 days to arrange to have it repaired or replaced.
Ignoring maintenance requests does not make them disappear. That easy fix often becomes more expensive with time as the home deteriorates while waiting to be repaired. Unwise scrimping on maintenance is poor management and leads to many additional problems.
Overlooked or ignored maintenance calls are one of the primary reasons why tenants leave. When you listen and respond to your tenant’s needs quickly and efficiently, you are going to earn a reputation as one of the Dallas owners that’s great to lease from. You want your tenants to tell their friends what a great experience they had with you and how you took care of their maintenance issues right away.
Smart Dallas Property Managers Schedule Property Inspections
Landlords have basic responsibilities to meet habitability laws and standards for all of their tenants. If a tenant reports a problem like mold growing in their bathroom, you should know that has to be taken care of right away. When you as the landlord fail to uphold habitable conditions, a tenant can have legal cause to take you to court.
“You are legally required to keep rental premises livable in Texas, under a legal doctrine called the “implied warranty of habitability.” If you don’t take care of important repairs, such as a broken heater, tenants in Texas may have several options, including the right to “repair and deduct” from the rent.”Nolo.com
One way a landlord can be proactive about maintenance issues is by performing routine property inspections. Regular property inspections keep the rental property looking great and up to code. You should schedule property inspections on at least a biannual basis with a licensed inspector whom you trust and give your tenant plenty of notice and reminders before the scheduled inspection. The inspector should make sure there are no safety or health hazards and conduct a thorough sweep of the property similar to this single family rental program owner’s self-inspection checklist from Dallas City Hall. Regular property inspections are also a great time to check that your tenants are complying with all terms of the leasing agreement such as the number of people living in the property and presence of pets.
To be sure there is no confusion about who is responsible for taking care of certain aspects of the rental property, make a list of the rental property maintenance your home will need throughout the year and who is in charge. For example, is the tenant responsible for changing the air filters, or are you? Are you going to be the one to trim the trees and mow the lawn, or will you leave that up to the tenant? A successful Dallas property manager plans ahead so there won’t be any surprises. If you live out of state, compile a list of handymen or companies you trust to take care of repairs for you.
Plan on Repeating the Process
If you keep a tenant happy, they typically will stay put longer, but even so they won’t stay forever. Job changes, schooling, expanding their family and outgrowing the home, or even purchasing a home of their own—life events happen to tenants too.
Every time you have a tenant move out, you will need to prep the property for a new one. Costs will vary, but could include new paint, new carpet, bringing things up to code if necessary, and any normal wear and tear repairs. Prepare the property between tenants to ensure it meets all safety and health codes, and is appealing to anyone who may just drive by to see the home. A well maintained home will rent faster, saving you expensive vacancy days.
How Much Money Should I Set Aside for Rental Property Maintenance?
Dallas property managers should plan on spending approximately 2 months rent per year on maintenance costs. So, say your property rents for $1350 a month. You should have at least $2,700 set aside for maintenance emergencies, and even more if your home is older. That way, if a repair is needed, it is not an unexpected sum that has to come out of your vacation fund.
Why Property Owners Choose SPM Dallas
Plan for the costs of needed maintenance and repairs so they will not be so overwhelming when problems arise. When you work with Specialized Property Management Dallas, you’ll also receive discounts on appliances, cleaning, and repair and remodeling services from our network of contractors. As the old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Don’t make failing part of your plan. Plan for maintenance costs ahead of time and be proactive about issues when they arise, and you are well on your way to being a successful landlord.
“SPM has been managing my homes for the past couple of years and they have done it outstandingly. Even in this trying times, they managed to lease a home in under a week. I look forward to many more years of a fruitful relationship with SPM.”Google Review from Gerardo R.
“SPM provided me with excellent service on my rental home for over a decade. They were always very quick to respond to service calls and provided competitive quotes when repairs and service was required. . . In the 10+ years that they managed my property, I never once had a single late rent payment . . . I couldn’t have imagined having an easier experience renting my home than I did thanks to SPM.”Google Review from Chris W.
Only Specialized Property Management Dallas has the experience and knowledge to help you succeed as a rental property owner, while also keeping your maintenance costs down. As the preferred Dallas property management company, we have over 30 years of experience in rental property maintenance. You can also rely on our experts to be on call 24/7 for your tenant’s maintenance issues. Our comprehensive property management services save rental owners time and money they can put toward other things. Put us to work for you today!