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How to Become a Maintenance Guru: Tips for DIY Landlords

March 11, 2019

The property management business is not just about collecting rent payments and interacting with tenants. A successful DIY landlord is also a master at keeping their rental properties in shape and solving maintenance issues like a service professional. Since prevention is better than cure, take a look at these five tips that will help you upgrade your landlording skills and become a maintenance guru by preventing damage beforehand or fixing it in the blink of an eye.

Tips on how to prevent maintenance issues if you are a DIY landlord

1. Should I hire a service professional?

Sure, service professionals know the best way to fix a problem, but if you're planning to cut costs and save money, additional expenses aren't what you need. That's why you should start learning new skills instead of looking for a service pro. There are numerous Youtube videos and how-to guides that can provide insight or detailed instructions on how to repair a broken window or install an Ikea shelf. It might even be fun! On the other hand, landlords who manage more than ten units usually hire a licensed service professional for such tasks. Service pros are likely to finish the repair faster and provide you with certain guarantees, since they have the right tools and experience.

So if you manage a few units and have plenty of time, give yourself a chance and try to prove that you're a jack-of-all-trades. But don't put your rental and tenants at risk if you have no motivation to roll up your sleeves and start doing minor repairs yourself.

2. Regular rental inspections.

Your first responsibility is to ensure your rental meets habitability standards so that no tenant withholds rent for lack of repairs. Yes, some tenants may refuse to pay rent if the rental is in bad condition. Although such claims aren't legally justified, you'll need to put a lot of effort into proving that the tenants probably just don't have money to pay rent.

For this reason, rental inspections should be done not just at the beginning and end of the tenancy. It's important to arrange regular inspections in order to observe any maintenance issues and address them instantly. Keep in mind that these inspections must be written down in the lease agreement. Also, a tenant must be notified in advance. A 24- or 48-hour notice before an inspection will work. Regular rental inspections will help you to keep an eye on your rental properties and solve any maintenance issues on time.

3. Take care of the landscape.

Maintaining the landscape of your rentals will sooner or later pay off. Not only will it attract prospective renters, but it will also allow you to make cool DIY projects like decorative items and outdoor furniture. Encourage your tenants to take care of your landscape plants and lawn, and you may be pleasantly surprised at the end of the tenancy. Another bonus is that by relying on your renters, you establish good tenant-landlord relationships that will strengthen your business ethics.

4. Upgrade appliances.

Nobody wants an old refrigerator that won't keep a Diet Coke cold enough or a broken oven that won't reheat a pan of lasagna. Provide your tenants with new appliances or be ready to repair the broken ones. The benefit of buying new appliances is that they can be replaced in the event of damage (because of the warranty). Whether it's a manufacturer's or home appliance warranty, you have protection for repair bills and unexpected expenses.

5. Take advantage of property management software.

A property management software system that offers built-in maintenance management is a great tool helping thousands of landlords to better deal with maintenance issues. Thanks to TenantCloud, any maintenance request submitted by the tenant can be assigned to a service professional and resolved right away. If you're not sure you can handle a repair, send it to your connected service professional. And that's it!

These are just a few tips to keep in mind. Do you have any other recommendations for DIY landlords? Share your thoughts and experience by leaving comments below. :)