As a property investor, rental property maintenance is a responsibility you can’t overlook. It’s necessary to keep your property in excellent condition, prevent expensive repairs, and ensure the safety and happiness of your tenants. And while it may be tempting to assume full ownership over handling it yourself, it can be overwhelming and consume more time than you can afford to spend on it.
DIY rental property maintenance may save you money and give you more control over the process. Hiring professionals to complete repairs can be a financial strain, but can help free up your time, ensure that repairs are done correctly, and protect you from potential liabilities. If you aren’t sure which route is the best one to take, here are some important factors to consider so you can maximize the returns on your investment.
Advantages of DIY Rental Property Maintenance
The most obvious advantage of DIY rental property maintenance is cost savings. By doing the repairs yourself, you can avoid the labor costs and markup associated with hiring a professional. Attempting to manage property maintenance yourself also allows you to shop around for the best deals on supplies and materials, further reducing your expenses.
Control Over The Process
Beyond having the flexibility to choose the materials and tools you want to use, you can set your own timeline and ensure that the job is done to your satisfaction. If you’re someone who’s particular about the way things are done or have specific preferences, it may give you peace of mind to manage repairs yourself.
Learn New Skills On-The-Go
DIY rental property maintenance is an opportunity to learn new skills and gain experience. With a little elbow grease and a helpful how-to video from YouTube, you can probably tackle some basic repair issues that pop up. When you do, you will develop a deeper understanding of how your property works and potentially even apply the skills you’ve learned to other areas of your life.
Coordinating with a professional can be challenging, especially if you’re on a tight schedule. DIY rental property maintenance, however, offers you greater flexibility when it comes to scheduling. Often, it’s more convenient and becomes one less headache to deal with amongst your many other rental property obligations.
Pride In Ownership
Finally, there’s a certain sense of pride that comes with doing the repairs yourself. You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you took care of your property and that you did a good job.
Reasons To Forego DIY Rental Property Maintenance
Lack Of Expertise
While you may have some experience with repairs, you may not have the knowledge or skills needed to tackle more complicated projects. You may feel comfortable dealing with minor repairs such as unclogging a drain, fixing a leaky faucet, or replacing a light fixture. But when you’re unfamiliar with how to do a bigger job, shoddy workmanship can ultimately cost you more in the long run.
If you’re unsure about how to go about a specific repair job, addressing maintenance issues can add to your already crowded schedule. Depending on the project, you may need to spend hours researching how to fix the issue, purchasing materials, and completing the work. If you’re a busy landlord, this can be a significant challenge.
Potential For Mistakes
Even if you’re confident in your skills, mistakes can still happen and can result in more extensive damage to your property. Here’s a common scenario. You start a fairly standard maintenance task. But then, you end up making a mistake and realize you don’t have the right tools to finish. The scope of the job becomes more involved than expected, and the situation ends up taking longer than you wanted and leads to more expenses. In cases like these, calling a professional is faster, more efficient, and a better use of your time.
When you DIY your rental property maintenance, you assume all liability for any accidents or injuries that occur during the repair process. If someone is hurt while working on your property, you could be held responsible, which could be a significant financial risk you want to avoid.
Lack Of Insurance
You may not have the proper insurance to cover any damage that occurs during a repair process. If something goes wrong, you could be left to cover the costs yourself, which could be significant.
When it comes to DIY rental property maintenance, the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” rings true. While having basic DIY skills can be helpful for minor repairs, there are limits to what a non-professional can do. As a property investor or landlord, you have a legal obligation to maintain the rental’s habitability, and it’s important to recognize that certain maintenance jobs require a licensed contractor to ensure compliance with regulations.
For instance, the following maintenance jobs require a licensed professional:
- HVAC Specialists should be hired to carry out annual servicing for optimal performance of heating and cooling systems. They can check the flue, ducts, and heat exchanger, replace filters, clean out the unit, and lubricate the motor.
- Plumbers are also essential for fixing blockages, servicing water heaters, and replacing shower valves and bathtubs due to the complexity and size of the job. Licensed plumbers can handle gas-related work as well.
- Electricians are necessary for high-voltage projects, laying new electrical cables, fixing loose wires, and addressing tripped circuits. Flickering or dimming lights can be signs of the wrong voltage running to appliances, which can be a serious safety hazard.
- Pest Control is another job best left to the professionals since preventative measures and getting rid of pests can be hazardous to health. Pest control professionals are also properly trained to handle infestations.
- Contractors are necessary to fix environmental hazards related to mold, lead paint, and asbestos.
Benefits of Hiring A Professional
Frees Up Your Time
Hiring a professional for repairs and maintenance can take a load off of your shoulders. Be sure to vet your professional vendors and keep a vendor list on-hand for future projects. Alternatively, if you decide you would rather focus on building your portfolio, consider opting to hire a property management company to handle all the day-to-day challenges of owning a rental. When you outsource work to them, they will be able respond to issues promptly and usually have several vendor options at hand that can tackle the job.
Chances are that a professional contractor has seen and dealt with it all. Even taking advantage of their pre-existing expertise can be hugely beneficial to you.
Property management companies and professionals have experience and knowledge of the industry, and they understand what it takes to repair a job effectively long-term. They also have access to specialized tools and equipment, which can ensure that repairs and maintenance are done correctly and efficiently, resulting in lower costs and less downtime for your rental property.
Peace of Mind
When you entrust the maintenance and repairs of your property to licensed professionals, you can rest assured that the job will be done right, safely, and in compliance with regulations. In addition, licensed contractors often provide emergency maintenance services, which can be crucial if a tenant experiences an issue outside of regular business hours.
Making A Choice
If you’re the type of investor or landlord that’s ready to strap on your toolbelt and get a little dirty, DIY rental property maintenance may be right up your alley. However, if your skills aren’t in tip-top shape and your schedule isn’t conducive, you may want to consider outsourcing your maintenance needs to a professional who can do it quickly instead. Regardless of which choice you make, knowing when to call the experts or learning to DIY maintenance issues on your own is important for ensuring your property is maintained and remains in optimal condition.