As a good landlord, you’ll naturally want to maximize your profits while keeping all the properties you manage in the best possible condition. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Wear and tear, careless tenants and unexpected maintenance problems can vastly increase your overheads at the drop of a hat.
So how is it possible to keep your properties and any fittings you provide safe, attractive and fully functional without your spending going through the roof?
Read on to discover a few hints and tips…
1. Invest in Quality
Take your time to choose fittings and furnishings that will last. It’s tempting to opt for cheap and flimsy items, but it’s likely you’ll have to replace these every time tenants move on. This means that the expense will really add up over time.
There are numerous sites that provide a means by which you can furnish whole properties quickly and easily without sacrificing quality – but try to make sure you take a look at all of the items you order before you commit to buying them.
2. Check Before You Let
Visiting each of your properties and taking photographs, testing appliances and recording an inventory will help you no end. If a tenant reports an item as having been broken before they arrived, you can check your records and see whether or not they are being honest.
You should not have to pay for repairs that were made necessary by a tenant’s carelessness, so proof can go a long way.
You can easily find helpful inventory software online.
3. Help the Residents
Your tenants won’t be able to correctly undertake simple maintenance if they don’t know how to. It’s highly recommended that you leave them a comprehensive guide to the property and its contents so that they know what to do if something goes wrong.
This document should include all instruction manuals, warranty details and numbers to call in case of any problems. Putting this together will mean they won’t be calling you out for every minor issue – or presenting you with a bill for maintenance work they’ve arranged without you.
4. Arrange Inspections
Many landlords choose to regularly check on their properties at pre-arranged times to make sure that everything looks and works as it should. If you do this, you should let the residents know the dates and times well in advance so you’re not interrupting their plans.
Quarterly or six-monthly inspections will help you to catch any problems before they are exacerbated – and by ensuring that your tenants are present at the time, you can ask them directly whether they have noticed any issues that could do with being fixed before they get worse.
5. Stay Up to Date
Keep all documentation regarding the appliances you’ve provided – including boilers, washing machines, dish washers and fridges – and make a note of the date they were bought and tested for safety. Check on them all before they go out of warranty (as repairing them after this will send costs skyrocketing), and take note of when they should be replaced.
For example, a boiler should be replaced at least every 15 years. This may seem a long time in the future, but unless you keep your paperwork and refer to it regularly, the date will come and go without you noticing.
It may be worth downloading some useful property management apps to help you handle your maintenance cycles.
6. Do It Yourself
Your property management agents might offer to handle the maintenance themselves, but this may push the price up unnecessarily. Undertaking any work yourself – or hiring specialists on an ad-hoc basis – means that it will only cost you when repairs are required.
However, you need to remember that handing over these responsibilities may save you a lot of time and stress. Also – if you’re planning on getting your hands dirty, make sure you know what you’re doing or you may rack up even more costs rectifying the mess you’ve made!
7. Choose Your Contractors
It’s a good idea to shop around and get the best deal when it comes to electricians, plumbers and any other specialist contractors, just as you would for your own home. Once you’re happy with both their price and the quality of their work, you can use them time and time again.
The Able Group provides high quality professional services across the country, including plumbing, drainage, gas and heating repair, pest control, locksmith services, electrics and glazing.
Following all of the advice above will help you to make savings in numerous areas and take home a little more profit without forgoing quality and safety.
Of course, if you have a larger portfolio, you will always have a worst-case contingency of selling properties off if your finances take a considerable hit due to maintenance issues.
More positively, you may also wish to take the opportunity to capitalise on an area becoming more prosperous by selling any property you have in that location and investing in somewhere “up and coming”. Either way, there are many ways in which landlords can get a quick house sale and see a speedy return.