As a property owner, you want your asset to maintain value as much as possible, regardless of whether you live in the unit or rent it to someone else. Of course, you’ll always take great care of the property you live in, but you can’t always guarantee your tenants will do the same.
Here are 5 things you should consider in order to maintain the value of your property while renting it out, and make it the reliable source of income you set out to create:
- Hire a property management company
When you don’t have the time or ability to deal with maintenance calls, collecting rent, and screening tenants, hiring a property management company can be a life saver. Property management companies have access to the best maintenance crews in the area, and have established long-term relationships leading to the lowest prices on their services.
With a property management company working for you, you don’t have to worry about hiring the wrong company, paying high prices, and chasing tenants for late rent.
- Refinance your mortgage
Renting your property makes it easier to pay the bills, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider refinancing your home mortgage loan with a reputable company. Refinancing your mortgage can do more than save you money on interest rates. Since refinancing replaces your old mortgage with a new one, you have the potential to gain more favorable terms like lowering your monthly payment and reducing the amount of time to pay off your loan.
The sooner you pay off your loan, the sooner you’ll be making a profit from your rental properties. If you pay off your loan early with your existing mortgage, you could be subject to penalties. Refinancing allows you to negotiate a different term so you don’t face those penalties.
- Make basic safety modifications
While you’re not required to make modifications beyond what the law requires for your home to be up to par with safety codes, certain modifications will make your tenants lives a lot easier. For example, if you’re showing your property to someone who is absolutely sold on renting it, but they have an injury or no upper body strength, low toilets might be a deal breaker. Do yourself and your future tenant a favor and replace any toilets that fall below 17 inches.
If you have a patio or a deck that doesn’t have handrails, build some. Not only will your stairs be safer for kids and older adults, but if your tenant ever gets injured, a handrail will be an absolute blessing for them and they will have a higher appreciation for your property.
- Check in with your tenants occasionally
Regardless of what you tell your tenants when they move in, they’re probably used to landlords not responding promptly to maintenance needs. When people who are used to indifferent landlords encounter a minor maintenance issue (like a leaky toilet or a broken ceiling fan), they’re more likely to work around it, assuming it’s not going to get fixed. Or, they may try to fix it themselves.
For example, if the toilet’s flush valve assembly is broken and your tenant doesn’t know how to replace it, they’ll probably remove the lid from the toilet tank each time they flush, which puts the lid at risk for being broken.
Check in with your tenants periodically and ask them if they need anything. This is especially important in the beginning of their tenancy because it will establish that you are there to help. You don’t need to make yourself available 24/7, and you do need to set boundaries for communication, but you don’t want to be unreachable.
The more you take care of your tenants, the more they’ll take care of your property.
- Prohibit the use of liquid drain cleaners in the lease
This one might sound odd, but liquid drain cleaners actually destroy pipes. By allowing your tenant to use them, you’re looking to spend thousands of dollars to replace them.
Explain to your tenants the reason you don’t want them using liquid drain cleaners. Provide your tenant with a simple, plastic drain auger for every sink and ask them to use it as part of their regular cleaning routine to help prevent buildups. Let them know it’s for their own convenience, because they’ll be less likely to experience a plumbing issue that can really put a damper on their day.
Be sure to present the information in an informative, educational way rather than condemning them. Chances are, they’ve been using drain cleaners for their whole life and have no idea the damage they can cause.