Preventative maintenance of your San Diego rental property is so incredibly important. Whether you own a single home or multiple units, a scheduled maintenance program can save you time, money and, most importantly, headaches down the road. It keeps tenants happy, too! A rental property will not attract and retain long-term tenancy – which translates to a better return on investment – unless it’s properly maintained. With the rental market constantly shifting, being prepared is the best way to keep your real estate on the market.
PREVENTATIVE AND ONGOING MAINTENANCE
Proper maintenance of a rental property requires a thorough knowledge of the property itself as well as its upkeep needs, the budget required to perform the tasks, and the staffing required to get the job done. A good San Diego residential property management company can help balance the costs of routine and preventative maintenance with the benefits you derive from them. Here are five of the top routine maintenance items your list should include.
Regular Service to HHVAC Systems
Heating and air conditioning systems, if not routinely serviced, can increase your utility bills. Dirty filters cause the system to work much harder and can lead to multiple system malfunctions, including the cooling system freezing up. If ducts become clogged, professional cleaning is usually required, an expensive job you can avoid with simple maintenance. Filters should be changed at least twice a year, using the highest efficiency filter for your property’s system. Before you say “my tenants pay their own utilities,” keep in mind that high bills can cause you to lose wonderful tenants.
Working with a professional property manager can help you keep track of regularly scheduled maintenance. Property management companies also have a wide network of different service providers that can keep your investment property in rental condition.
Plumbing, Leaks, and Electrical Inspections
From checking drains and sinks inside to septic systems and gutters or eaves outside, repairs and regular check-ups of the plumbing and electrical systems will help avoid expensive water damage to your San Diego Rental property. A good property manager maintains a consistent maintenance plan that includes:
- Checking for water damage and leaks: Typically, the best time to check for leaks is after a heavy storm. Since San Diego sees more days of sunshine than not, a better time to take a look is on hot or humid days, which is when pipes often sweat. What to look for: soft spots on roofs, ceiling and walls, signs of water around showers, toilets, and windows, and under sinks and water heaters. Catching and repairing small leaks before they become big problems can also help you avoid toxic mold buildup. With many San Diego beach vacation rentals in the area, it's smart to keep an eye on water damage.
- Flush the water heater once or twice a year to remove any sediment: Sediment build-up can reduce the efficiency of a water heater and clog the drain valve. Use a professional to perform this important task now and save yourself having to buy an expensive replacement. A professional property management company knows many service providers within the San Diego area to help with tough maintenance projects such as this.
- Examine shower caulking and tile grout to ensure tubs and showers have a waterproof seal that prevents leaks into the walls or through the floors: Cracks and holes should be fixed and filled on a regular basis. These are small things that landlords often overlook, however property management companies can keep a running log of all maintenance items to ensure that your rental home is well maintained.
Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
These life-saving battery and hard-wired devices should be checked monthly to make sure they’re in perfect working order. The very serious consequences for not scheduling regular tests can be serious injury or death, as well as expensive legal actions. Replace older units – carbon monoxide detectors after five years, and smoke detectors after 10.
Check and Repair Hard and Soft Landscaping
Rotting fences, broken sprinkler heads that burst and leak, overgrown trees, rotted branches, and exposed roots all pose serious safety risks. A good landscape maintenance program includes mulching, pruning, cleaning of gutters, eaves, and downspouts, and checking and replacing outdoor lighting. A great San Diego property owner may even forgo sprinklers all together and instead renovate their lawn to more drought tolerant landscaping.
Pest control should be a management philosophy, not a reaction to emergencies! Rodents, bees, and ants – all common San Diego area pests that can make a property uncomfortable, unsafe, and even dangerous. Integrated pest management includes identifying pests, monitoring infestations, preventing new infestations, and controlling immediate outbreaks. Preventative actions like spraying pesticides and blocking points of entry will help you avoid insect or vermin invasion.
HOW A RESIDENTAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY CAN HELP
As a property owner, you probably have better things to do with your time than spend it on all the chores necessary to keep a property in tip-top condition. And it’s easy to forget that performing routine maintenance at regularly scheduled intervals can reduce or eliminate emergency fixes. From single family homes to large apartment complexes, a San Diego property management service can be your first line of defense in preventive maintenance, keeping tenants happy and your long-term costs low. If you're trying to decide whether or not to work with a full-service property management company, check out our guide to property management: