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Renters in America

Proactive Maintenance May Cost More Now but It Will Pay Dividends Later

Property managers and landlords who address problems right away save money before those little issues grow into major hassles.

If renting properties is your business, you should always be looking for new ways to maximize the return on your investment. The good news is that there are some very simple things you can do to achieve this goal without great hardship.

Back in 1736, Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and he’s been proven correct time and time again. Don’t wait for something to become a problem. Inspect your properties regularly, both inside and out.

Second, listen to your tenants. Your tenants can serve as your eyes, nose, and ears when you’re not there, and they’ll warn you about a little problem before it becomes a big problem. Sure, it’s a hassle to investigate a closet when a tenant tells you it sometimes smells musty, but it’s worth your time and money to address their concerns early.

While we’re on the subject of tenants, treat yours with care, respect, kindness, and provide good service. Happy tenants will rent your properties longer, which means less turnover and more consistent income for you. If your tenants stay only a year or two, you could be a reason why they’re moving out, and anything that increases turnover is simply not good business.

Next, locate the source of the problem. What’s causing that musty smell? Is there a leaking or sweaty pipe nearby, or is there a small hole in the roof? You want to find the source of your problem, you want to correct it, and you want to make sure that it doesn’t become a problem again. Sometimes this costs you a little more at the beginning, but having to fix the same problem repeatedly is a waste of your time and money.

Finally, make proper repairs. In that musty closet, for example, once you’ve found the source of the moisture, you should remove the affected carpet, pad, and drywall. Open the windows to allow fresh air to circulate, clean the subfloor and wall studs, then point a fan directly at the cleaned area to dry it quickly. Finally, put everything back together with new flooring and drywall. Follow only one or some of these steps, and you could have future problems with this repair.

These little problems are annoying, but big problems are expensive and don’t go away on their own. Proactive maintenance yields great dividends.

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