Assuming you plan to hold your Roanoke investment property for a long time, you’ll need a maintenance plan that covers the coming month, the coming year, and all the following years that you’ll have tenants living there.
Rental homes withstand a lot of use, and that creates wear and tear, which owners are responsible for.
How can you maintain your Roanoke investment property over time?
We recommend breaking it down into manageable projects. You’ll want to take a preventative approach, which reduces the number of emergencies you’re called to manage. You’ll want to work with a great team of vendors, and you’ll also need to enlist help from your tenants, who should be partners in keeping your property in excellent shape.
Here are some of our suggestions.
Ongoing, Monthly Maintenance Issues with your Roanoke Rental
Preventative maintenance every month or every few months can prevent costly repairs down the road. These check-ups often don’t require a licensed contractor; you can take care of them yourself when you happen to be in the property, conducting a routine inspection or responding to a need that your tenants have. Here’s what to look for when you’re there:
- Inspect your HVAC system and change air filters. Take a look at your heating and cooling unit whenever you get the chance because replacing it will cost thousands. Clean or replace filters when they get dirty, which might be anywhere from 30 days to a few months. This can be a tenant task as long as they know you expect it (put it in the lease).
- Look for leaks. Check under sinks and around toilets and tubs. Any sign of water where it shouldn’t be is reason to investigate further and potentially call a plumber. Water issues are no joke – and they only get more expensive.
- Inspect grout and caulking in the tubs and showers and touch it up if necessary. Not only is this aesthetically pleasing, the caulk also prevents water damage.
- Test smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors. Best practices say to change the batteries when you change your clocks during Daylight Savings Time.
- Inspect the exterior of the property. Look for tree branches that may be dangerously close to the windows or knocking against the roof. Check for foundation issues, gutter and drainpipe clogs, or any safety issues such as uneven pavement
You can’t show up at your occupied property every month with the intention of conducting these checks. But, you can let tenants know that you’ll conduct a walk-through once or twice a year to make sure there aren’t any maintenance issues that need attention.
Seasonal Maintenance for Long Term Roanoke Investment Properties
A lot of your maintenance over the year will be seasonal.
Every winter, you’ll want to protect your property against snow, ice, and colder temperatures. Make sure the property is well-insulated. All of your sprinklers should be blown out and you may want to cover your outdoor air conditioning units and sprinkler heads.
Once spring rolls around, it’s important to check the HVAC unit to ensure the air conditioning will be ready to work efficiently during the upcoming summer. Inspect the roof as well to make sure it survived the winter intact. There might be a lot of debris in your gutters that will need to be cleaned out. Freezing temperatures may have wreaked havoc on your sidewalks and driveway.
The summer is a good time to check on the landscaping and irrigation.
Seasonal maintenance isn’t always easy with tenants in place. But, if you have a plan for addressing important concerns, your tenants can work with you to ensure the property stays in great condition year after year. Educate them on how to avoid frozen pipes, for example.
Put Together a Maintenance Schedule for Protecting Property Condition
A checklist for when you should pay attention to certain parts of your investment property can be helpful for staying organized. Here are some of the specifics we recommend:
- Look for evidence of pests. You should have a regular pest control service caring for your property. Have them check for termites, which can be devastating to a property.
- Clean out the lint from your clothes dryer exhaust. Lint buildup can affect the dryer’s efficiency and may create a fire hazard. You may have heard this startling statistic: 15,500 house fires are caused by clothes dryers each year.
- Drain the hot water heater. Sediment that collects in the bottom of the heater can affect its longevity. This will also give you an opportunity to look for rust and excessive wear. It may prevent a leak.
Every 5 Years
- Repaint the interior of the property. You may be doing this more frequently during tenant turnovers, but you want to make sure you give it a fresh coat every five years.
- Have the heat ducts cleaned. Dust and dirt frequently accumulates, and that can be a health hazard.
- Seal grout in any tiles. This will avoid stains and discoloration. It also protects against water intrusion and seepage.
- Replace caulking around windows and doors. It looks better and keeps your home energy efficient.
Every 10 Years
- Consider replacing your appliances. Tenants don’t want to move into a home with a stove that’s more than a decade old. Most refrigerators last for 10 to 15 years, but if your appliances are showing signs of wear and deterioration, replace them with energy efficient models.
- Replace the hot water heater. Gas and electric hot water heaters normally last 10 years or so. If your hot water heater is gas, make sure you use a professional to install it.
- Replace your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Even if your detectors seem to be working properly, be cautious and get new ones at the ten-year mark.
In the long term, beyond 10 years, you’ll have to budget for a new HVAC system, a new roof, and ongoing upgrades that keep your property modern, habitable, and attractive to tenants.
Partner with Outstanding Roanoke Rental Property Vendors
The vendors you choose to work with will have a major impact on how you protect the condition and value of your investment property over time. With a great team of preferred plumbers, roofers, electricians, HVAC techs, and other professionals, you’ll have an easier (and cheaper) time taking care of everything in your property.
Establish relationships with a great team of vendors and contractors quickly. When you get to know them early and use them consistently, you can count on them to give your property special attention over the years. You won’t have to wait too long for general repairs, for example, and you can count on them to be there for you during an emergency.
Look for licensed and insured workers who are willing to stand by their work. You can probably do minor work on your own, but when it comes to major projects, and as your property gets older, you’ll want to have reliable partners to help you maintain it.
Educate Your Tenants on Maintenance Responsibilities
Tenants have a part to play when it comes to maintaining your property over time. While you’re likely to have several different tenants over the years, you can still establish some expectations and assign some responsibilities.
First, let them know that you want to be informed right away if any work is needed. When they notice that something is broken or needs to be replaced, you want them to tell you as soon as possible. Those deferred maintenance issues are expensive. Don’t wait to respond.
Your lease agreement should tell tenants what they’re responsible for. If they cause any damage, they’re obviously required to pay for it. You can also put them in charge of replacing air filters, batteries, light bulbs, etc.
Sometimes, owners will want their tenants to take care of lawn care and landscaping. This is acceptable, especially in single-family homes. However, if you have certain standards that tenants might not be able to meet, it’s better to hire a landscaping service and roll those costs into your rental amount.
Take Advantage of Turnover Periods to Make Upgrades
Maintaining your property over time means keeping it attractive to new tenants.
Use turnover periods to make any necessary updates or improvements. Most owners dread turnover – it means there’s going to be a vacancy and probably maintenance costs to be absorbed.
But, take advantage of those unoccupied weeks. You can install new floors, for example, or update your lighting in the kitchen. It’s a good time to have your appliances checked. You can give the walls a fresh coat of paint or even pressure wash the exterior. Maybe it’s time for new paint on the front door or around the window trim.
Leverage the time you have to maintain and renovate your Roanoke rental property. It will lead to a better rental experience for your next tenant, and you’ll know you’re maintaining your property for the long term.
Please contact us at Lawson Realty Group when you’re putting together a long term maintenance plan for your Roanoke investment property. We manage properties in Southwest Virginia throughout the Roanoke Valley, including Salem, Cave Spring, Hollins, Vinton, Glenvar, and Southwest Roanoke County.