When it comes to real estate investing, each investment property is a huge chunk of savings investment, which if neglected, will not be worth what you paid for it and cost you a fortune in repairs due to neglect. Good property maintenance is essential to any real estate investment. And it will definitely increase your property value, add to the overall community value, and get you a good price if you ever choose to sell if your investment is kept in good condition.
When doing maintenance on your property investment there are two roads to choose from:
1. Hire a contractor
If you’re not that handy with tools and wiring then it might be wise to hire a contractor to maintain your investment property. But how do you know a good contractor from a crook? There are several ways to weed out the good contractors from the bad, for example:
- Meet at the contractor’s place of business
- Ask for customer references. True professionals will gladly provide references of other general contractors and property owners, including a mixture of different types of property that have utilized their services.
- Inquire with your local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau
- Ask friends, relatives and wholesale suppliers to recommend trades people
2. Do-it-yourself (or DIY) property maintenance
Sure, you can save a ton of cash if you do most of the property maintenance yourself. However, if you’re new to property investment or don’t know how to work with tools to do basic home renovations, you could do more damage than good. Then there’s the more technical stuff—like flooring, electrical wiring, plumbing, heating systems, and structural building—where ignorance could cost you more in repairs in the long run. When it comes to what you don’t know—look to the professionals for help.
Whether you go with a contractor or do your home maintenance yourself, the follow list of 10 property maintenance essentials will add value to your home:
1. Have the basic tools on hand
Regardless of it you hire a contractor or DIY home maintenance, all property investors should have a toolbox containing a set of screwdrivers, a hammer, pliers, a measuring tape, caulking, a standard wrench for pipes and leaks—and of course, duct tape. You should have a sturdy ladder locked away in your garage for roof and chimney maintenance, cleaning gutters and window repairs.
2. Check the electrics
Get a professional electrician to give your home’s electrics, including smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, the thumbs up as far as safety is concerned. In addition, have extra fuses and light bulbs on hand for burn outs.
3. Get a handle on your fuse box
Even if you’re not a qualified electrician, it’s vital that you know, as the home owner, where your fuse box is located and how to use it in case of an emergency.
4. Listen to your walls
I know you’re not the wall whisperer, but you should examine the skeleton of your house regularly for things like surface cracks and damage or cracks in wallpaper or paint. Also, look inside your walls for things like damp or dry rot in your walls—especially in wetter areas, like the bathroom and basement. You can lessen moisture and condensation by installing a bathroom fan and a dehumidifier in your basement.
5. Examine your windows
Check your windows regularly for leaks. Caulk any openings and wipe any excess condensation. Windows should get a new coat of sealant/paint at least every three years (minimum) to protect from severe weather damage.
6. Update your furnace
A newer, high efficiency furnace will save you a lot on gas bills. If yours is old, it might not be working as efficiently as it should be and it might break down in the cold of winter.
7. Get footing on your flooring
The floors in your property experience more dents and bumps compared to any other surface in your home investment. Try your best to steam clean carpets yearly and keep areas clean by laying down mats by all entrances.
8. Think like a plumber
Do your duty by taking a wrench and tightening any dripping taps, checking pipes and inspecting taps for deteriorating rubber washers regularly.
9. Be mindful of your insulation
To prevent unnecessary heat loss, check your attic for insulation. If you bulk up the insulation, you can drastically increase your energy savings.
10. Electrical, gas and water
Basic maintenance, like replacing old washers and installing a ceiling fan can be DIY projects. However, any major utility projects should be looked at by a qualified electrician, plumber or gas technician.