As Portsmouth investors, we are sure you are fulfilling all your responsibilities as landlords diligently. Still, how do you make sure your Portsmouth investment stays protected and in good shape? Do you give enough time to regular cleaning, general upkeep, and routine property inspections? If yes, hats off to your promptness! But if not, it is time to pay close attention to how you can maintain your property over time.
There are some simple yet effective ways to reduce costly repairs on the property and boost its longevity for a longer duration.
Conduct Regular Inspections of Your Portsmouth Property
Routine property inspections ensure the well-being of your property and protect it against cumulative repair issues. It also helps you check illegal activities that tenants might be doing. Here is a list of areas you should cover during inspections.
The Exterior of Your Property
Inspect the roof for damaged flashing, missing shingles, mold infestation, and leaks. Also, look for the branches that extend onto your roof and cut them off before they cause any severe problems.
Check if there is no gap in window frames and if they are sealed properly. Wall paint boosts the curb appeal of your house, so it has to be fresh and beautiful. See if the exterior paint is in good condition to protect your property from sun damage, moisture, and humidity.
The landscape is another significant part of the exterior that you should maintain regularly. Look for poisonous plants and unhealthy grass, and debris due to dry tree branches and fungus.
The Interior of Your Portsmouth Rental
The interior of your house is equally important to maintain your property. Consider checking all the HVAC systems like air filters, heating, air conditioning, and smoke detectors. Check air filters to ensure the airflow is maintained.
Look if the water heater is cleaned, especially if you live in an area with a lot of sediment in the water. The interior paint may also deteriorate over time. Check for paint peeling and mold on the walls.
Investors often neglect spaces such as the attic, basement, parking, or garage during an inspection, which may cause severe problems later. Check them closely for mold or poor air quality to avoid pest infestations.
Undertake Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is all about getting ahead of potential problems and fixing them before they turn into significant ones. Conducting regular inspections and providing proactive maintenance can keep your tenants happy and protect them from unforeseen repair issues. Here are a few preventative measures you can take.
Check the Plumbing System
Water leaks in Portsmouth rental property is never a good situation. Consider checking the plumbing system in your house to spot leaks, drips, and water intrusion and get these problems remedied on priority. Take a look under the sink, faucets, shutoff valves, strainer areas, P-trap fitting, and tighten it if necessary. Also, check the sprinkler system in your yard to keep the lawn in pristine condition.
Clean Air Filters
Since air filters are not visible, one can easily forget to examine them, which can cause replacement expenses later. Check if the air filters are clogged due to dirt and dust. Clean them regularly to allow fresh air and prevent health problems that may be caused due to breathing in polluted air.
Look for Pests in Your Portsmouth Property
Pest infestation is a severe headache for landlords. It can decrease the market value and increase the vacancy rate of your unit. Pests like rodents, cockroaches, and ants carry diseases, contaminate food, and damage tenants’ belongings. The best way to keep your rental unit pest-free is to hire professional pest controllers and fix the issue permanently.
Examine the Bathroom
Like the kitchen, the possibilities of water leaks or sewer blockage are higher in the bathroom. Make sure you watch out for leaking faucets, taps, sprays, and sinks. Check the floor tiles for cracks or stains and if there is adequate ventilation in the bathroom. Consider fixing these issues to maintain the property’s habitability for your tenants.
Update Electrical Wirings
Exposed wirings, frayed cables, and damaged sockets can cause issues like short circuits, electrical fires, and power outages. Consider hiring a professional to check the electrical system in your house and upgrade it to prevent safety risks. Make sure you hire a licensed contractor who has liability insurance.
Maintain Your Property During Seasonal Changes
Time-based or seasonal maintenance is another factor you can consider to keep your Portsmouth investment property in good shape. You can categorize the repair tasks according to seasonal changes to reduce your effort and save time. Here is a quick overview.
Portsmouth escapes heavy snowfall due to a mild coaster climate. During winter, there is more rain than snowfall in the city which can wreak havoc on your rental property. Ensure that you get the gutters cleaned and roof repaired before winter sets in.
Dead tree branches or limbs may fall during storms and heavy rains and directly hit your property, causing damage. It is good to spot dry branches and prune them at the beginning of the season.
If you don’t want to deal with pipes bursting in the middle of the winter, make sure to cover or insulate them before winter begins. Drain water hoses, spigots, and sprinkler systems for the upcoming winter. Also, provide training to your tenants to take good care of pipes.
Cleaning gutters is crucial during winter. Accumulated debris can create ice dams in the gutter and block it, causing serious property damage. Consider cleaning the gutter when the temperature is above freezing or in summer.
Rainwater or snow may enter the house through gaps and cracks in window frames and walls. Consider sealing them to contribute to warmth and comforts inside the house.
Ask Your Tenants to Report Repair Issues
In most cases, tenants blame landlords for not carrying out regular maintenance, but landlords cannot provide maintenance if they are unaware of the problem on the property. Tenants are responsible for reporting every repair issue to landlords immediately.
Landlords should also add a clause in a lease agreement stating tenants’ responsibility to inform about sudden alterations that could decrease the value of the rental. Consider making it compulsory for tenants to contact and discuss even minor repair issues and not neglect them until it gets severe. There are different ways in which tenants can submit requests, such as,
Maintaining an Open-Door Policy
Let your tenants know that you are always available to talk to them and respond to their complaints. Whether it is repair issues, doubts regarding lease, or rent payment extension, keep the communication lines open. It will let them share their problems in a friendly manner.
Sharing Contact Details
Different tenants prefer different communication tools. While youngsters can send an email to you, elderly tenants may prefer to directly contact you through phone calls. Offer multiple communication ways to your tenants, such as your contact number, email address, home/office address, and even your social media account. Also, make sure your tenants have everything they need to file a complaint.
Use Online Portals
Tech-savvy landlords may prefer online property management portals to contact their tenants. If you are one of them, ask your tenants to post their queries and doubts online, whenever and from wherever they want.
Respond to Repair Requests Promptly
Being a landlord is not an easy feat. It is challenging to schedule emergency repairs or respond to tenants' complaints while juggling hundreds of responsibilities that property ownership entails. However, ignoring or postponing your response to your renters’ requests may disappoint them, and they might think of leaving your rental. Be responsive and discuss the issues your tenants are facing. Consider providing hotlines to your tenants in case of emergencies like gas leaks or utility issues.
Hire Professional, Licensed Contractors
Rental maintenance requires a qualified skill set for fixing repairs and troubleshooting maintenance-related problems. While it can be tempting to save money and use DIY solutions, it may lead to major repairs and raise safety risks in the future. Consider hiring professional vendors and licensed contractors for regular cleaning, landscaping, and emergency repairs. Since they are well trained and have experience in the field, they can provide quality work at affordable prices, saving your money and time.
Invest In Quality Material and Tools to Maintain Your Property
Consider using quality materials and tools while repairing issues on your property. Using cheap building materials for renovations and repairs may not provide durable solutions and can cause frequent repairs, hampering your ROI. Make sure you spend extra money to save you from frequent expenses that may arise due to the use of poor-quality material.
Service the Appliances Regularly
Inspecting and servicing your home appliances boosts their functionality, increases longevity, and makes life convenient for your tenants. Consider regularly checking appliances such as refrigerator, microwave, oven, dishwasher, cloth dryer, and others. If you observe any issues in them, get them repaired by professionals. Avoid keeping older appliances to save on electricity bills and provide modern amenities to your tenants, making them comfortable.
All of these tips can ensure your property stays in a good condition for a long time. However, hiring an experienced property management company, like Doud Realty Services, can keep you one step ahead of the game. Our seasonal and proactive maintenance services ensure that your property stays in great shape year-round and sees year-on-year growth in market value.
For more information, contact us at Doud Realty Services.