Mistakes are easy to make when you’re renting out a Salt Lake City property, and one area that’s especially common for costly errors is maintenance. Most landlords and investors are not contractors, and while you might enjoy the DIY project around your own house once in a while, keeping your investment property in great condition can seem overwhelming and expensive. There are three mistakes we see rental property owners make all the time. They can have terrible repercussions for your tenant retention as well as the condition of your investment, so we want to help you avoid them.
First Mistake: Not Using Licensed and Insured Vendors We’ve encountered landlords who like to make repairs themselves at their rental properties. This might work okay if you have a lot of time and resources available to you. Usually, tenants are forced to wait until their landlord is available and that usually means a few days and even weeks will go by before the repair is addressed. If you can only get over to the property on weekends or your days off, don’t put yourself in charge of maintenance. The number one reason a tenant vacates is because of maintenance. Odds are you are losing money on the vacancy side of the ledger by not hiring a professional who can do the work quickly. In worst-case scenarios, tenants are permitted to make their own repairs. This is a terrible idea, and we strongly advise against it. That’s opening you up to a lot of risk and liability, especially if you tenant gets injured or if something goes wrong and your property ends up damaged. A lot of maintenance mistakes can be avoided by using licensed and insured vendors and contractors. You might save a few dollars having a friend fix the roof leak or install a new water heater, but the risk is rarely worth those savings. Invest in good repair people, and make sure you have relationships in place before you need them for a middle-of-the-night emergency.
Second Mistake: Putting Off Minor Repairs It may seem like there’s no sense of urgency when a tenant reports a dripping sink or a toilet that is making strange noises. However, delaying those small repairs will usually lead to larger and more expensive maintenance problems. A small drip can turn into a huge plumbing disaster weeks later, and then your $200 repair bill can suddenly become $2,000 and a very upset tenant. We have been managing Salt Lake City rental properties for a long time, and we can tell you that no repair issue has ever become easier and cheaper with time. Be responsive to those repair requests, no matter how minor.
Third Mistake: Lack of an Emergency Plan No one likes to think about the potential for catastrophes, but as this last year has shown us – anything can happen. Does your tenant know where to find the water shut-off if there’s a plumbing disaster? Do they know who to call if a fire starts in the kitchen? You need an emergency maintenance plan in place that protects you, your residents, and your property. Someone will need to be available to your residents 24 hours a day in case the unthinkable happens in the middle of the night or over a holiday weekend. You need to have a team of emergency vendors in place who can act quickly. You need to know how to file an insurance claim and where your closest hospitals, fire departments, and police stations are. Without an emergency plan in place, bad situations can very quickly get worse. These are just three of the most common mistakes we see. At TierOne Real Estate we only use licensed and insured vendors, we inspect the properties quarterly, and we offer 24/7 emergency service with the addition of disaster preparedness on all of our professionally managed rental properties. If you have a question about this topic or need assistance with anything else, contact a TierOne Real Estate Property Manager at 801-486-6200. We are here to help you with your rental/investment property whether you are a current client or one in the making.