3 Ways to Avoid Doing Simple Repairs Yourself that Take up Your Time

As time passes, it’s only natural that your rental property will need the occasional repair and maintenance to keep it in shape.  It’s also important that your rental property will still meet the health and safety standards set by your local housing agency.  The good news for landlords is that any repair bills that you fork out to keep your rental property in habitable condition will be tax deductible. But what about when you have a tenant that calls for every little repair or if you own multiple properties and find your phone always ringing for a repair call.  We all know, time is money and what if you don’t have the proper time to dedicate to constant minor repairs of your property.  There are 3 main ways to deal with minor repairs; have the tenants fix them, hire a handyman and perform preventative maintenance to cut down on the amount of repairs that are occurring.

Allowing Tenants to Perform Minor Repairs:  If you have the right tenant, asking them to make minor repairs can be a negotiable part of a lease.  Most landlords will even create an agreement with a tenant to have minor repairs performed by the tenant for a credit towards their monthly rent. Of course we are discussing minor repairs; fixing a plugged drain, rehanging a towel bar, changing a door knob, not a major repair such as plumbing or electrical.  If you have a good relationship with your tenant, in many situations you will find that they are not out to “nickel and dime” you, but will be willing to assist in minor home repairs.  Additionally, if you are renting to former homeowners you have a better chance of adding a “minor repair clause” to your lease.  If your tenant is reluctant to perform small repairs, you may be able to add a clause to your lease that you will not be responsible for repairs under a certain dollar amount which will help avoid tenants trying to call you to have a kitchen cabinet knob screwed back in.

Hiring a Handyman:  People that you can hire for real estate repairs are generally divided into 2 major groups: handymen and licensed contractors.  Handymen are usually not licensed and may just be someone who happens to be good with his hands working part time for extra income.  On the other hand, licensed contractors usually have to go through formal training and run a full time business.  Your average handyman is usually skilled enough for simple repairs and the important thing is that they will charge you less for their services.  However if you require major repairs or a complete revamp of your rental property, then it’s highly recommended that you look for a reliable licensed contractor to do it for you.  In fact for some critical repairs such the electrical rewiring of your rental home or installing a new air-con compressor, you will need a permit for it.  This means that only a licensed contractor is allowed by law to do it.

Before you hire someone to repair and maintain your rental property, ask around for recommendations.  You can look for other property owners or call your local landlord association to find who are the repairmen that they have worked with and will gladly hire again.  If you are hiring a licensed contractor, his work record should be publicly available at your local housing agency.  When looking through his records, it’s important to watch out for any recent complaints and work violations.

Preventative Maintenance:  Many minor repair calls can be avoided with preventative maintenance to your rental property.  Some preventative maintenance that should be done on a yearly basis can include, but is by no means limited to:

  • Air Conditioner:  Replace filters at least twice a year, before and after summer.  You should encourage tenants to replace filters on a monthly basis, but worst case scenario, replace during the peak times of use.  Doing this as well as servicing the unit annually can extend the life of the system by several years.
  • Tree Growth:Take note of branches and root growth.  Look for any trees that may need to be cut back from the house, walls, power lines or A/C.  Also watch for root growth beneath concrete surfaces.  Catching overgrowth early can prevent major expenses like repaving a driveway.
  • Electrical: Look for any damaged or overloaded sockets to prevent fire hazards.
  • Bathroom: Check caulking in shower, toilet and sinks.  Apply new caulking as needed to prevent water damage and mold.
  • Roof: Repair any areas where damaged shingles are apparent.  Be sure to also check all drains and gutters for blockage and leaks.  This can extend the life of a roof by several years.
  • Danger wildcard:  This item isn’t limited to one area, but encompasses the safety of the overall property.  A few items that would fall in this category are: uneven pavement, loose fence posts, mold growth, exposed wires or anything else that might cause tenants harm.  Also be sure to replace carbon monoxide and smoke alarm batteries as needed.We Buy New Jersey Houses For Cash. Get Your Fair Cash Offer Today.

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