3 Tips to Help Limit Tenants from Calling you for Every Little Repair

There is never a bad time to invest in real estate.  When the economy is boosting, it is a good time for investors to sell their property.  Likewise, when the economy is bad, it is a good time for investors to buy cheap and hold.  Many new investors often frown at the prospect of being a landlord because of the constant repair calls from tenants.

The solution to pretty much ending all the repair calls altogether has everything to do with how you structure your contract.  In addition, you also have to screen your new tenants thoroughly before you approve them to live in your home.  When you get these two components of renting correct, almost all your repair expenses will disappear.

Screening Your Potential Tenant

Screening the tenant is often a tedious job that many landlords avoid.  This is a very important process that needs the utmost attention.  If you do not want to handle this process yourself, you can hire a management company or send the tenant to an online service or renting authority.  The renting authority can pull the credit, check background and even accept rent payments for you.

The only thing the rent authority won’t do is call the references.  This important part you will have to do on your own.  Remember not to skip this step because you can learn some very valuable information about your future tenant from their past landlord.

How to Lessen Repair Calls

The first things you have to take into account is what will cause your tenant to call you the most.  These repair calls are usually items that are caused due to negligence of the tenant or appliances.  As far as negligence, doors do not usually come of the hinges unless someone is slamming them extremely hard; during an argument for example.

The best way to lessen these calls due to negligence is by not being a slumlord.  Make sure that before you rent the property that everything is in great condition.  Then next step is to ask your potential tenant to do a complete walkthrough of the property to pinpoint any repairs they may see.  You should perform this walkthrough before signing the rental contract and after signing the rental contract.

After both walkthroughs are completed, make your tenant sign to the fact that the house is in great condition.  You should be advised that some tenants that are extremely picky and will find some very minor issues such as touch up paint here and there.  Do not worry however; the more issues they find in the beginning, the better it will be for you later.

Putting Together a Strong Rental Agreement

Once the house has been confirmed to being in tip top shape, you can then put together the agreement that protects you from those late night repair calls.  The agreement should be put together so that all minor issues are handled by the tenant while all major issues handled by the landlord.

With that being said, put a clause in the contract that stipulates that any repairs under $250 dollars be handled by the tenant.  Additionally, you should also stipulate that any repairs due to negligence no matter what the cost be handled by the tenant as well.  Some of these repairs will include holes in the drywall, broken doors, items flushed down the toilet and other common maintenance issues.

The contract should also state that the house is being rented without appliances.  When renting the property, you should give the tenant 2 choices for acquiring appliances.  These choices should include you personally giving them appliances or the tenant leasing appliances from you.  Most tenants will allow you to give them appliances for free to avoid paying the leasing fee.

If they accept for you to give them appliances, these appliances now belong to them.  This means that when they move out, they can take it with them.  But best of all, they cannot call you to repair these items.  You can usually find cheap appliances used or brand new with minor damages in hidden areas at several appliance stores.

How to Avoid the Major Repair Expenses

Avoiding the minor repair cost can be covered with a strong contract, but how does a landlord avoid those major repair costs?  This is actually easier to deal with than the simple repairs.  The major repair cost can be handled 80% of the time through your homeowners insurance.  Most major repair cost will derive from roofing, HVAC and major plumbing issues.  These are all covered by your homeowners insurance which will run you about $300 dollars a year.

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