Anyone who owns property will tell you that ownership is only half the battle. The other half is maintenance. It's not cheap and can be needed at inopportune times but that's part of the game of owning property. In the case where the owner does not live in the property maintenance can be a problem if a reputable, reliable maintenance crew is not in place to handle whatever may arise and no one is regularly checking on the property to see if there are any structural concerns. Discovering there is a problem via a notice from the city or county inspector's office is not how a property owner wants to be informed. Usually when that happens it is already too late to avoid a fine and there are underlying problems that cannot be seen.
Maintaining any type of property whether it is residential or commercial is not a cheap proposition. Material costs and labor costs are constantly increasing making it a formidable undertaking to maintain the property while at the same time making payments on it.
Property maintenance and property management, although two separate aspects of property ownership, are kissing cousins when it comes to overall care of a property. Property maintenance is usually left to be handled by a property manager who schedules, inspects and sometimes even performs maintenance. To a landlord or real estate company the property manager is invaluable to keeping a building up to local building codes as well as resident satisfaction.
In the world of property ownership all maintenance is not equal. Some areas are more expensive and the resulting problems can be costly if not caught early.
One of most important parts of a structure without question is the roof. And depending on whether it is a pitched roof or a flat roof, any structural damage or weakness needs to be detected immediately and taken care of without hesitation. Postponing roof repair can have devastating effect upon the rest of the structure. Generally a roof can last anywhere from 10 years to 50 years depending on what type of material it is made of, the weather conditions and even what color the roofing material is. A roof that is under a large tree, near a large body of salt water or near an airport where it could be hit by occasional falling debris may need to be inspected and either replaced or repaired more often.
According to Karen Warseck on Facilities Net the roof should be inspected at least twice a year; once before the most severe season and again afterwards. Periodic inspections will help to ward off future problems and the resulting complications that will come with a faulty roof.
Although the plumbing is an internal component of a structure it still needs attention. The lifespan of plumbing can fluctuate depending on the material used and water composition running through the pipes. Copper pipes can last 50 to 70 years under normal conditions but that lifespan can be decreased by as much as 20 years if acidic water is used. Many modern buildings use plastic piping which is considerably cheaper but still all plumbing is in danger of corrosion and needs regular inspection to be sure a problem is not developing.
The other most important part of a building is probably the foundation. Naturally any structure is only as sturdy as the foundation on which it rests so any defect or weakness in it must be dealt with immediately. Just like it is with the roof, the foundation cannot be allowed to have leaks that will affect the interior of the building. But unlike the roof, foundation structural failure has the possibility of producing a partial building collapse. Cracks in a foundation are a sign of weakness and that weakness can produce stress on other parts of the foundation causing uneven weight distribution and possible collapse. Buildings in earthquake zones and other extreme conditions are more susceptible to foundation damage necessitating frequent inspection.
On BBC.com they list five reasons that buildings collapse and at the top of the list is "a weak foundation." According to the article almost half of a building's construction costs can be tied up in the foundation. This fact makes it imperative that it is strong enough to support the building and withstand any weather and environmental conditions that may be present.
The electrical wiring of a building is another important component that can and should have a long lifespan but like other areas of the structure regular monitoring needs to be done to ensure there are no hidden faults waiting to show themselves. Because wiring is contained within the walls of a structure there is no way to inspect it. For this reason attention must be paid to indicators of electrical problems. Flickering lights, static sounds when light switches are turned on or frequent power surges that trip circuit breakers are signs of possible underlying electrical problems. Outside power cables should be checked regularly to make sure there is no interruption of power. Tree branches tangles in power lines should be trimmed. In most cases the local power company will trim them and they should be called to ensure they are trimmed safely.
Ultimately property ownership can be rewarding and profitable. And properly maintaining it is the key to getting the maximum return on your investment.
For information how Home Team Property Management can help with your property management needs contact us.