For many people, there's a surprising gap between buying a house and being prepared to maintain it. Especially for anyone buying investment property and is new to the landlording business.
You see, as the landlord, you're the sole person responsible for maintaining every aspect of the house and property even when circumstances are beyond your control. When something goes wrong, it's up to you to judge how much each repair will cost and what you want to do in any situation where a major repair is necessary.
While you may feel everything is locked down and low-maintenance, never forget that sometimes weather and environmental circumstances can require a major repair no matter how well you planned for more predictable circumstances.
To help equip you to be a responsible landlord or decide that it's time to hire a property manager, let's look over some unavoidable home maintenance expenses requiring repairs, whether you're prepared for them or not.
You may be able to predict an upcoming storm, but you certainly can't stop. Even if your roof is in perfect condition before a big storm, high winds, hailstones, and flying tree branches could result in anything from a few hundred to several thousand dollars worth of repairs.
You might have to replace a few loosened shingles or, in worse cases, extract a chunk of tree from your attic before repairs can even begin.
Is your investment property built on top of clay-rich soil? While this is a very important detail, it's not one that most homeowners think to ask, investigate, or know about.
The importance of clay-rich soil is how it responds to moisture (like rain and drought). The clay expands when it's wet which can push your foundation up unevenly. It also contracts when it's dry, which can pull your foundation apart as it sinks.
If the house happens to be on clay-rich soil, you're likely to wind up paying for foundation reinforcement, if not, full crack repairs.
Homes are built with the water heater and HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) appliances included. In fact, it's in place every time the house is sold.
Like the roof, the basic home appliances are easy to forget about and are simply assumed that they'll last forever. However, both the water heater and the air system are only rated for about a decade of regular maintenance before needing to be replaced. Fortunately, this is also a great opportunity to install more modern and efficient models.
Another act of nature few homeowners can fully prevent is infestation.
When the weather cools down and the bugs try to move indoors, or the weather warms up and they wake from hibernation, you're at a higher risk of some damaging pest like termites or carpenter ants.
These kinds of pests can cause structural damage as well as a health risk.
Finally, there's the plumbing. Pipes also wear out in a house and the amount of time this takes varies depending on what they're made of and how they were installed.
You may find your pipes can't stand up to rigorous use within the first few weeks or experience a burst frozen pipe several years after buying an investment property. In any case, you'll need a plumber, replacements, and possibly water damage repairs for your home near the damaged pipes.
Becoming a landlord is one of the best routes to passive income, but 'passive' is a relative term. Expect to be called on for maintenance needs, big and small, several times a year for each residential property you invest in.
This is why many landlords choose to work with property managers who can handle all the day-to-day and even year-to-year maintenance needs of each house. For more information about property maintenance or how to begin working with a property manager, contact us today!