Property Management, Rental Property Tips, Maintenance Matters

Renters Warehouse DC/NOVA | March 5, 2020

Crucial Rental Property Maintenance Tips for Your Washington DC Investments

As a Rent Estate™ investor in Washington DC, you know that your rental properties are at the heart of your financial freedom. However, the driving force behind your Washington DC investments is the satisfaction of your renters. When you take good care of your residents, they:

  • Renew their lease and stay in your properties longer
  • Reduce makeready and turnover expenses by remaining in your units
  • Keep your portfolio profitable by referring others
  • Boost your reputation as a reliable landlord.

That said, one of the top ways investors can keep their tenants talking about their rental homes (in a good way) is by providing excellent rental property maintenance.

A quick search online for what your residents hate about renting will almost always have "maintenance issues" in either the number one spot or somewhere in the top five. When you provide the best rental property maintenance for your units, you shut down most of your competition in the DC area.

However, you may be asking yourself, "How can I provide the kind of maintenance my residents are looking for when I own more than one rental?" It's true; providing excellent upkeep for your Washington DC investments can start to become a significant time sink when you have multiple properties under your belt. You may not only be tempted to cut corners on maintenance—but also feel like you have no choice!

Man with newspaper and woman with hand fan sitting on sofa and suffering from heat at homeAs an expert Washington DC property management company, we work with multi-family and single-family investors at every stage of their Rent Estate™ journey; the tips we're about to recommend to you can help you stay on top of the market. Here's the crucial foundation you need to provide top-notch rental property maintenance for any size portfolio.

1. Vet Your Vendors

This one might not seem all that important—but it's one of the most crucial tips on our list. Why does vetting your vendors get the top spot? If you've ever heard of the "1% Rule" when it comes to property maintenance, you'll quickly see why having the right contractor matters.

If you do the math using the median single-family home value of $615,000 in the Washington DC area, you can expect maintenance costs of at least $6,150 per year (or $512.50 per month) for a home in that range. Of course, these numbers will fluctuate depending on the value of your Washington DC investments, but it gives you a starting point to work with.

When the average two-bedroom unit in Washington DC rents for around $3,100, that means your operating cost on an average single-family rental for just maintenance alone is already 16%! When you're spending that much on maintenance, you can't afford to hire a bad contractor. You need a professional from the start who:

  • Can handle work orders promptly for any property type, whether single-family or multi-family
  • Are specialists in what they claim to repair (not just a jack-of-all-trades)
  • Are available to be on-call any time—day or night
  • Can scale with your portfolio as it grows.

Vetting your contractors when it comes to providing excellent rental property maintenance also concerns the safety of your tenants: you need to know that the professional you hire is really who they claim to be. Anyone you hire to do work on your property should be licensed, bonded, and insured. 

It's a lot of work to find the right contractor on your own—but it doesn't have to be an uphill battle! When you work with an expert Washington DC property management company, they already have a list of reliable vendors on hand to tackle any maintenance need. Plus, working with a property management company in Washington DC often means their maintenance savings get passed along to you: there's a reason the "buy-in-bulk model" works!

2. "Are You Sure You Should Fix That?"

Even if you happen to be a master level tradesperson, should your valuable time really go into repairing your Washington DC investments? Not only that—but should it go into maintaining your investments at three in the morning when you have a busy day ahead?

We love to empower the investors we work with! However, as a property management company in Washington DC with plenty of experience, we don't think you should have to put that kind of work in. If you're experiencing the stress of maintenance with the portfolio you already have, you know that workload only grows as you add properties.

One of the hallmarks of a successful investor is knowing when to allocate a task: by following the first tip and finding professionals you can trust, you leave the maintenance of your properties in skilled hands. This frees up your time as an investor to keep growing your portfolio!

Workers In Family BusinessWhat Tasks Should You Let the Pros Tackle?

To keep maintenance consistent across your portfolio, it helps to put together a list of tasks you absolutely don't want to have to handle. There are certain household components where calling in a professional can also be the cheapest way to see the right repairs carried out.

As a Washington DC property management company, we've come up with our own list over the years of what we recommend investors leave to the experts:

  • HVAC work: When it comes to your heating and cooling systems, leave this one to experienced technicians. If you happen to be an HVAC master, you might be able to save some money here with DIY—but unless you're seasoned in this trade, leaving this task to an HVAC technician can protect you from another expensive problem down the line.
  • Plumbing: Plumbers are property investors too! However, if you're a master plumber, chances are you don't have the time to take care of this essential maintenance for your residents. Plus, if you handle this all day long for a living, you probably don't want to have to deal with calls at two in the morning over something simple. It's possible to DIY a leaky faucet—but for anything larger, bring in the pros.
  • Garage door maintenance: If any of your rental properties have a garage, you're well aware of the safety concerns posed by a malfunctioning garage door. The pressure applied by garage door mechanisms is enough to crush someone, so monthly maintenance and inspections of any moving parts and safety systems are crucial.
  • Electrical work: Flickering lights might seem like an easy enough fix to DIY—but it could be the sign of greater issues in the wiring of your Washington DC investments. For your safety—and that of your properties and renters—always bring in a professional electrician to address any concerns.

3. Property Management Ties It All Together

We mentioned already how working with a Washington DC property management company can spell serious savings for the overall cost of your maintenance—but that's not all a property manager brings to the table!

Forget having to play phone tag with your vendors, manage maintenance tickets, or deal directly with resident requests: your property manager can handle it all—and more! A reliable property manager will provide excellent property management services in Washington DC for all of your investments—no matter the scope of your portfolio.

How does it work? Part of the beauty of a property management partner is that they have access to industry technology that makes maintenance as streamlined as possible for you and your renters. The result is timely, professional, and thoughtful maintenance services that boost tenant satisfaction.

Put the power of property management to work for your Rent Estate™ portfolio! Get in touch with the experts at Renters Warehouse DC/NOVA to see the difference quality maintenance makes for your profits!

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