Maintenance costs have risen over the last year, and the best way to keep those costs contained is by taking a proactive approach to the condition of your Austin investment property. Property owners must invest in and commit to preventative maintenance. Not only will it keep your repair costs down by avoiding those expensive emergency calls, but it will also protect the condition and value of your asset.
The surprise repair expenses are always disruptive. Here’s a preventative maintenance checklist that will help you avoid those major repairs at your Austin rental property.
Provide a Well-Maintained Home
Give yourself a good starting advantage. Make sure your home is attractive and functional before you allow your tenants to move in. Before welcoming tenants to their new homes, everything in the property should be inspected to ensure it’s safe and working. Take a look at your major systems such as plumbing and electrical, and pay attention to the smaller details too, such as light bulbs and air filters.
When you ensure your home is in excellent condition before a tenant occupies it, you are showing that tenant you care about its condition. You’re also investing in preventative maintenance.
During the leasing process and before the move-in, discuss with your tenants the process for reporting maintenance issues. Make sure your tenants understand that they need to let you know immediately if something breaks, deteriorates, or needs to be replaced. When you work together with your tenants, you will keep your home in good shape.
Tenants can be good partners when it comes to preventatively maintaining your property.
Service Heating and Cooling Systems
The weather in Austin can be extreme, especially in the summer with high humidity levels. We also get some high winds, periods of intense rain, and cold winters. Your rental property’s heating and cooling system will certainly work hard all year long. This is one of the most expensive systems in your home, so you want to make sure it’s running as efficiently and effectively as it can.
Preventative maintenance is the key to keeping repair calls and costs to a minimum. Have a technician come out to your property twice a year, each season, to inspect and clean the HVAC. This will ensure that any problems are detected early. You’ll know your tenants are unlikely to complain about their air conditioning not working in the middle of July.
Inspect Your Plumbing System and Watch for Water
Plumbing can also add up to major expenses if you’re not paying attention. Here are some of the preventative tasks you can add to your checklist when it comes to plumbing:
- Inspect your water heater at least once a year. Test the pressure relief valve, and look for any evidence of rust or corrosion. Check for leaks and look at the intake screen. You should flush the water tank once a year to protect against having it leak or explode in the middle of the night.
- Look under sinks and behind tubs for any signs of leaks, drips, or standing water.
- Clean out the gutters twice a year, and make sure they are pointing away from the property so there’s no chance of water getting inside and causing mold.
- Clear any branches, dirt, leaves, or grass off your roof. Look at ceilings and walls for water stains, which could indicate you have a leak somewhere in your building.
- Check your irrigation or sprinkler system, if you have one. Look for leaks and rust.
Always check your property’s foundation for signs of cracks or movement. Water can usually cause this, and it’s a difficult problem to catch if you’re not inspecting regularly.
Keep Your Appliances Working and Safe
Appliances can cause fires and other hazards, particularly clothes dryers. Make sure you have the vents vacuumed out at least once a year, and be sure that none of the appliances you’re providing for your tenant have been recalled or identified as needing to be replaced.
Make cost-effective decisions that are also preventative. For example, don’t continue repairing a 25-year-old dishwasher. Replace it instead.
Prepare for Potential Emergencies Ahead of Time
Cleaning the furnace, inspecting the roof and the gutters, looking for leaks, and winterizing your property should all be part of your seasonal and preventative maintenance plans. These things will reduce the likelihood of emergencies. Those unexpected maintenance calls will always be a disruption, no matter how well you maintain your investment property.
There’s often going to be a water heater that explodes in the middle of the weekend or a tree that falls through a window. But, if you can ensure qualified technicians are regularly inspecting and servicing your rental property and its functions, you won’t have a large number of those emergencies.
Schedule Routine Inspections and Create a Budget
A major part of preventative maintenance is getting inside the property to take a look around. This will give you the opportunity to check for any maintenance needs that have gone unreported by your tenants. Check under sinks to look for leaks. Make sure the air filters are being changed regularly, and inspect the roof and the windows. Take a look at the landscaping. If there are any issues, resolve them immediately so they don’t become larger and more expensive headaches.
Prepare for small and large repair expenses by putting a little bit of your rental income aside every month. If you build a maintenance reserve fund, you won’t feel the financial shock of having to pay for a new roof or a new water heater quite so severely. Having a maintenance budget will also allow you to estimate the lifespan of your systems. You’ll know when you can expect to pay for new floors, a paving job on the driveway, or a fresh coat of exterior paint.
These are the items we include on our own preventative maintenance checklists. We can help you better maintain your Austin rental property. Please contact us at Austin Landmark Property Services, Inc., CRMC ® – A Certified Residential Management Company. We serve the Austin area and Central Texas including Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, and Bell counties.