Maintaining Your Investment Property
Owning an investment property is a great way to supplement your income and have money still coming in even when you retire. Managed well, a good investment property will make money for you even when you’re on vacation or working your other job. Approximately 20 percent of Canadian households own some type of rental property. The secret to making it work well for you and your family is to keep ahead of maintenance and manage your tenants well.
How to maintain your investment property
One of the biggest responsibilities of being a landlord is handling the maintenance on the rental property. Neither you nor your tenant wants to have a plumbing or heating emergency at 2:00 a.m. in the morning. To avoid such a situation, it’s important to stay current on maintenance chores or hire someone to do the maintenance for you. Being proactive about maintenance doesn’t just create a more pleasant living environment for your tenants, but can save you from having to make expensive repairs should a system fail.
Some of the things you’ll want to add to your regular maintenance list include:
- Make sure to check the property thoroughly for leaks, especially after a heavy snowmelt. Water damage is insidious and can cause a lot of damage if left unchecked.
- Change the air filters to your HVAC systems regularly. That’s once a month during prime heating and cooling seasons.
- Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at least twice a year.
- Check the property for pests at least once a season.
- Re-caulk the showers and bathtubs at least once a year to help prevent mold and mildew from forming.
- Flush the water heater, if you have a tank heater, at least once a year.
- Clean the gutters in the spring and the fall.
- Check the fire extinguishers at least once a year.
- Trim tree branches that are overhanging the house and the walkways at least once a year.
Managing your tenant
Finding and keeping good, responsible tenants is essential to having a positive rental property experience. While it’s tempting to accept the first tenant who applies for the space and who has money in hand, that is generally not the best course of action. To find tenants who will pay on time and who will treat the property as their own, it’s important to check their references and verify their income.
Investing in a good investment property software package can also be a big asset. Not only does it help you keep track of who has paid, the deposits you are holding and any late fees, these types of software packages allow you to accept online payments, accept applications online and accept maintenance requests online 24/7.
Owning an investment property can give you a new layer of financial freedom. Make the most of it by keeping on top of routine maintenance, carefully vetting potential tenants and investing in rental property management software that will help you manage the property’s finances and maintenance requests.