If you're new to property investments, one idea you may be toying with, especially if you're a local, is taking care of maintenance issues yourself. Is this a good idea? Oftentimes investment property owners can find themselves in over their heads if they try to take on too much maintenance-wise. So, unless you're the ultimate handyman who just so happens to also be a licensed electrician, plumber, and general contractor with tons of time on your hands, it is probably best to leave repairs to the professionals. When making this decision, here are a few things to consider.
Are You Knowledgeable When it Comes to General Home Maintenance?
Though many shows on HGTV will make it look like you can quickly learn how to renovate an entire house yourself, that typically isn't the case. Various repair needs can quickly arise in any home and this is of course true for your rental investment properties. And, while some repairs may look simple on the surface, if you don't know what you're doing, you can end up causing more damage than initially existed.
While things like clearing a drain in a bathtub are relatively easy, do you know how to properly fix a leaky faucet? Or do you know how to tell when it needs to be replaced? What about properly repairing holes in drywall? If things like these aren't done correctly the first time, chances are the issue will happen again or continue to get worse and you'll have to call in a professional anyway.
Are the Repairs Expensive?
As we said, some repairs may that seem simple on the surface really aren't. And, if you don't know what you're doing or don't have the proper tools to complete the job, the cost of the repair will keep rising, especially if you inadvertently create more damage. Just as with most things in life, it's better to do it right the first time. So, unless you're a handyman extraordinaire, it is probably best to have a professional come evaluate the issue and discuss what will be needed to remedy it.
Does the Repair Require a Licensed Professional?
Though you may have some basic handyman skills, there are certain issues that should most always be left to professionals. Things that fall into this category are often things that require a license - think plumbers, HVAC techs, or electricians. After all, do you really want to get into the walls and start messing around with wires? Probably not.
If you take on a job that should be done by a skilled professional, you run all sorts of risks beyond creating a larger maintenance issue and spending more money. Unskilled electrical repairs, for example, can create fire hazards. Even things like pest control should be handled by professionals who have sprays that have been tested to be pet-friendly and non-harmful to humans. Another big one that fits into this category is mold. If mold is suspected to be at your investment property, call a professional to evaluate the area. If mold is indeed found, a professional will know how to properly mitigate the issue and keep it from recurring. Yes, it may cost a bit more to hire these professionals, but it will be worth it in the end by saving you from unnecessary stress and wasted time.
Another thing worth noting is that major repairs sometimes require permits. Licensed professionals will be aware of this, know what types of permits are required, and how to obtain them.
Do You Have Time to Respond to Repair Needs?
Rental properties, just as with any home, may need maintenance attention at any time or on any day of the week. Are you willing and able to be available 24/7? If you have family responsibilities, a full-time job, travel often, or don't live in the area, you're probably not equipped to promptly address your tenant's repair needs. Even if you do have the time and are local, do you want to be responding to a broken HVAC call at 2:00 am? Probably not, especially if it is going to require you looking up how-to videos on YouTube while sitting outside in southeastern NC's hot July weather.
So, you've decided you don't want to handle maintenance issues yourself at your rental investment property. What do you do next? The best thing you can do is partner with a professional property management company. Not only do they have relationships with trusted vendors, but they also take care of coordinating all maintenance needs from scheduling visits to handling invoices. Further, using a property management company’s trusted vendors will allow maintenance and turnover work to be completed more quickly – typically in around 15 days versus 30+ days if owners complete these things themselves. This, in turn, reduces your vacancy time and puts more money in your pocket. Sounds great right? The best part is that you essentially have to do nothing other than be made aware there is a maintenance issue at your property and approve some larger repairs should they be needed.
Do you have the right property management partner on your side? If not, reach out to the experts at Sweyer Property Management for a free quote through our website or give us a call at 910.239.1338.