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How Not to Drown in Expensive Home Maintenance

August 12, 2019

Whether you're a landlord or a tenant, you probably don't enjoy dealing with maintenance issues. They're costly, inconvenient, and always seem to happen at the wrong time. Basically, there is no right time for repairs. However, preventive maintenance is always a helpful strategy to predict time-consuming repairs. Checking working conditions of equipment and appliances and performing regular rental inspections can save you a lot of time in the long run.

To avoid panic over maintenance issues, consider these easy tips:

  • Start saving (for a rainy day).

You don't necessarily need to set money aside, but having savings will help you become more financially independent and secure if you happen to encounter an expensive emergency. Let's say you've received an urgent maintenance request. With a so-called emergency fund, you'll eliminate any stress related to your finances and have the ability to resolve the issue instantly. 
The amount of money you save will depend, first and foremost, upon your income and monthly expenses. Your lifestyle and unpredictable circumstances are also crucial factors. Employees of big corporations tend to be more financially secure than self-employed workers. But in both cases, it's reasonable to save money in accordance with your monthly income.

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  • Try to repair first. 

Replacement costs are usually higher than the amount you'll spend on repairs. For instance, you'll pay from $8,000 to $15,000 for furnace and air conditioner replacement. That's a lot! So take a professional look at your property and define what you or your repair person can fix, rather than replacing anything - unless it's time to upgrade your appliances. 

  • Take care of the landscape. 

You might think that maintenance related to landscaping won't cost you much. But that's true only if you're regularly taking care of the lawn, trees, and outdoor plants. If the landscape isn't well-maintained, you automatically decrease the value of your rental. 
Keep in mind that the landscape of your rentals will pay off sooner or later. Encourage your tenants to take care of the plants and lawn, and you may be pleasantly surprised at the end of the tenancy. 

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Related to: How to Become a Maintenance Guru: Tips for DIY Landlords 

  • Clean your gutters.

Cleaning gutters is important, especially before the rainy season. With a strong leaf blower, you can get leaves and debris off the roof and gutters in a matter of minutes. When cleaning gutters, you should take a look for any leaks or cracks and fix any damages you identify. 
With these preventive measures, you'll save more than you expect, since gutters protect your home's foundation. 

Related to: Rising Up to the Fall Challenge: Rental Property Maintenance Checklist

  • Prevent plumbing leaks.

Changing pipes is an expensive repair that also requires a lot of time and effort. To avoid plumbing leaks, check your water pressure and the condition of the pipes in the whole rental before renting to tenants. You might also need to install a new water softener to prevent water leaks. 

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  • Do rental inspections.

Rental inspections are usually done at the beginning and end of the tenancy. If performed regularly, rental inspections help to identify maintenance issues and resolve them instantly. However, you can't perform an inspection without notifying the tenant at least 24-48 hours in advance. Keep that in mind to avoid violating any of the lease clauses. 

How do you prevent expensive home repairs? Share your ideas and experiences by leaving comments below. We’d love to hear what you think. :)