Maintaining your single-family investment property is an important part of earning money on it. While repairs are always going to cost more than you want them to, it’s better to make them quickly. Simple problems are often easy to fix and inexpensive. The problems that you leave alone for a few weeks or months will only grow in cost and in required work.
Preventative maintenance is essential in protecting the condition and value of your investment. It also keeps your long term repair costs down.
Your preventative maintenance checklist should include a few critical things.
Servicing your Heating and Cooling Systems
The weather in Winston-Salem is often unpredictable. You can expect tenants to use air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. Sometimes there’s snow and ice and rain and high winds. We’ve had oppressively humid months and we’ve even had tropical storms sweep through.
All of this means that your rental property’s heating and cooling system will work hard all year long.
The HVAC 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 going to help keep your repair costs down. Have a technician come out to your property twice a year, between 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
Next on your preventative maintenance checklist is looking for leaks.
Plumbing can create major expenses if you’re not paying attention. 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. Tenants tend to call when they don’t have hot water.
Pay attention to even minor leaks and look for standing water or lack of drainage. 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 systems if they’re underground. You want to make sure they’re not leaking, stopped up, or rusting.
Schedule Seasonal Maintenance Issues
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. Taking care of these things once or twice a year will ensure you don’t suddenly have to make major and expensive repairs.
Other seasonal checklist items can include:
- Pressure washing the outside of your home
- Conducting safety and habitability checks (smoke detectors, exterior lighting, etc.).
- Cleaning out the gutters.
- Cleaning out the dryer vents.
- Paying attention to landscaping and trimming branches away from the home.
Each single-family home will be unique and have its own set of needs. For example, if you have a deck, make sure you’re treating the wood regularly. If there’s a pool, you’ll want to have it cleaned and inspected by a qualified technician.
Ask for Preventative Maintenance Help from Tenants
Your tenants can help with your preventative maintenance program. Make sure they understand the importance of reporting repair needs right away. Don’t let them get comfortable with deferred or unreported problems. Remind them to change the filters every month or every few months. Schedule at least one inspection annually so you can take a look around and make sure there isn’t anything that needs your attention.
Preventative maintenance allows you to be proactive instead of reactive, and we make it a big part of our Winston-Salem property management plans. If you have any questions or need any help, please contact us at Capstone Realty.