Here at Bay Management Group, we have the pleasure of working with a multitude of property owners, who have chosen to rent their property or properties out for various reasons. Whether your job is relocating you to a different area, your family is growing and more space is needed, or you’re a property investor, with numerous properties in your portfolio, having a rental property is a good way to bring in additional income on a monthly basis.
Having a rental property with tenants in place, however, also comes with the responsibility of making sure maintenance requests are completed properly, and in a timely manner. While a rental property can provide a positive cash flow each month, it is important to expect and be prepared for maintenance issues to arise, and paying for someone to repair those issues within a reasonable amount of time.
Now, if you are someone who specializes in HVAC, plumbing, roof, or electrical repairs, then you may be able to handle some of these maintenance items on your own. But, if you’re like many homeowners of rental properties, you will be relying on another individual to handle the job for you. In this month’s blog post, we are going to discuss the importance of hiring a licensed contractor to complete maintenance requests, and how doing so, can potentially save you money in the long run.
For example, your tenant just reported their A/C is not working. The system is not blowing cool air, and there seems to be a lot of condensation on the system itself, causing water to leak from the vents. Your friend, who is a handyman has offered to go out and take a look at the system. Having him go out will be far less expensive than sending a licensed HVAC technician out to inspect, so it makes sense, right? Not necessarily.
Fast forward to a week later, your friend thought he fixed the issue, but the tenants are reporting it has not been resolved. The water that was leaking from the vents has now caused interior damage to the ceilings and drywall, which will result in you having to repair that as well. In addition, you still have a HVAC system that is not functioning properly, on top of upset tenants who haven’t had a working A/C in over a week. That’s not all, the current lease with these tenants is up for renewal, and now they’re not so sure they want to commit to another year at this property. If your tenants vacate due to unresolved maintenance issues, you’re now looking at the possibility of paying for turnover expenses as well.
Let’s say instead of having a handyman go out for this repair, you chose to have a licensed HVAC contractor go out instead. Would the outcome be different? Most likely, yes. While the cost may be more expensive, you are paying for quality service from an expert of the trade. This individual will be able to diagnose the exact issue, as this is what he/she does day in and day out. They’ll provide a quote for repair or replacement, a timeline as to when you can expect the work to be completed, and that work will probably come with a warranty for parts as well as labor.
It’s also important to keep in mind that some jobs require permits to be pulled, and typically a licensed contractor is going to know exactly what is needed for that permit and how to successfully obtain it. Licensed contractors know the codes, have a crew of professionals ready to complete work properly, and will generally have a supervisor on site, overseeing each job.
Another thing to keep in mind is the paper trail. Nine times out of ten, a licensed contractor is working for a professional company, one who works off of work orders, provides written estimates, as well as detailed invoices. Documentation for each job is extremely important to keep for your records, especially when owning a rental property. Rent escrow is a real thing, and if you ever find yourself in a situation, where your tenant has taken you to court, you’re going to want comprehensive documentation.
If you have a third party management company managing your property, chances are, they already work with a good amount of licensed contractors, who they trust to get the job done. The best thing you can do, is allow your management company to coordinate all repairs with their contractor(s). While your friend, Jim may offer to handle repairs for far less money, that doesn’t always mean it’s the best route to take.
If you are an owner of a rental property who takes on the task of hiring contractors to complete different jobs, you are going to want to do a ton of research first. Read the online reviews, check the company status with the Better Business Bureau, ask for photos from previous projects, ask to see their contractor license, and make sure they have contractors’ insurance.
Lastly, if you’d rather have someone else do this for you, contact Bay Management Group! If you’re a property owner with rental properties in our areas of management, we’d love to discuss what we offer, and what sets our company and contractors apart from the rest.