Cutting back on the maintenance costs associated with your investment properties leaves more money in your pocket, which is a good thing. But wholesale cutting could backfire, especially when it comes to the home’s major appliances. In these cases, it makes sense to spend a little to save a lot.
4 Ways to Decrease Maintenance Costs
Not only will these tips cut your expenses, they also enjoy wide approval from tenants:
Lose the Carpeting
Losing the carpet is the first step in eliminating a recurring drain on your maintenance budget. Carpet absorbs dirt, dust and odors and it’s standard practice to have it professionally cleaned once a year or when the tenant leaves.
Instead of paying the carpet cleaners, invest that money in replacing the carpet with hard surface materials. Even low end vinyl flooring comes with a wear warranty that greatly exceeds carpeting’s. Ceramic and porcelain tiles, self-stick, laminates, painted concrete and sheet vinyl are affordable options. Each is surprisingly scratch and dent resistant, and so much easier to clean.
You’ll cut maintenance costs immediately and appeal to a broader market segment. Pets and children are less an issue with hard surface flooring, allergies are manageable, and they clean up quickly.
Update Tubs and Showers
Much of Jacksonville’s water is hard and no one wants to rent a home whose shower doors are covered with hard water deposits. If you can’t get away from an enclosed shower or tub altogether, swap the doors out with frosted glass doors to minimize the appearance of water spots. Your renters won’t be cleaning them daily, and you won’t be faced with a mission impossible when they vacate.
Minimize Yard Work
Ditch the grass and use groundcovers instead. If the neighborhood restrictions allow, take out as much lawn as possible and replace it with vegetation that doesn’t use as much food and water or require mowing.
You can also create a xeriscape landscape using native Florida plants and a rock ground cover. Using native plants cuts down on water use and minimizes pruning.
Keep Up with Appliance Maintenance and Repair Prevention
- Supply air filters for HVAC system. Supply your tenants with the right air filters for their HVAC system, and remind them to check the filter monthly in the summer when the air conditioning system runs frequently.If they have extra filters, they’re more likely to change it with the right size and type for the system. Your owner’s manual will specify the best kind to use. Once a year, have a licensed contractor inspect the system, which involves a thorough cleaning and an in-depth system check.
- Give the water heater the attention it needs every six months. Drain a few quarts using a garden hose. It will remove many of the dissolved solids that collect at the bottom of the tank and increase its lifetime.Plumbers also recommend turning the tank down to 120 degrees F to prevent these deposits from forming in the first place. The U.S. Department of Energy increased the energy efficiency standards in 2015. As a consequence, new water heaters cost more and can be difficult to install.
- Check the dryer. Once a year, remove the vent hose from the dryer and clean or replace it. Remove the lint and dust that collects below the dryer.
- Hire a pool service. Unless your tenants have experience with pool maintenance, it makes sense to hire a service to keep it clean. Chemicals need to be balanced, the filtration system cleaned, and the motor may need periodic inspections. Neglecting pool maintenance in the summer can end up costing far more than a pro charges to look after it.
Better yet, let an experienced property management company that knows your market well handle all of the details for you so you can rest easy that your property will be up to date, well-maintained, and competitive with other rentals close by.