It takes a lot of work to be a great landlord. You are on call when things break, tenants get locked out, and when general repairs need to be done. Doing these five actions annually will increase the value of your property, keep your tenants happy, and cut down on maintenance costs in the long-term.
1. General Inspection and Maintenance
This may sound like common sense, but checking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms annually is extremely important. But, as we all know, time can easily get away from us and these checks tend to fall low on the priority list. Making the effort to inspect these potentially life-saving systems every year will protect the life of your property, and show your tenants you care about their safety.
Another way to extend the life of your property is patching up any visible cracks or leaks. While small cracks may seem harmless, you never know how quickly they will progress, and water leaks can cause irreparable damage on a property. Save yourself future hassle and patch cracks or leaks as they appear.
Additionally, cleaning the gutters should be part of your annual maintenance to-do list. It may seem like a little thing, especially in San Diego where weather is almost non-existent, but it can make all the difference when a storm rolls through.
2. Assess Market Rent Prices
Do you know if you are charging market rent prices for your neighborhood and property value? San Diego County rent prices went up 8.6% on average over the last 12 months. Taking the time to review rent prices every year can ensure you are competitive in the marketplace and earning what your property is worth. This simple step is mostly research and doesn’t always need to be acted on every year.
Though, we’ve seen that when owners don’t raise rent for 4-5 years or longer, rents can easily be 30%–40% below market, and owners who are self-managing are losing thousands of dollars a year. Consistently and fairly raising rents, communicating openly with tenants, and honoring long time tenants are all policies that any property owner should adopt, whether you self-manage or hire a management company.
3. Landscaping and Yardwork
Another thing to do annually to maintain your property value is some general landscaping and yardwork. Landscaping will improve the overall aesthetic of your rental property and make it more attractive to future tenants. Current tenants are also much more likely to tolerate a rent increase if the plants in their common areas, such as a courtyard or shared patio, are well-maintained instead of overgrown and full of weeds. Tending to the plants surrounding your rental property will also cut down on bug and spider infestations, which can spread to your units and wreak havoc.
4. Verify Keys and Emergency Contact Information
Something else to consider, you never know when your tenants are going to change their locks. Tenants can have their apartments rekeyed for many reasons. Maybe they lost their keys, had a break-in, or simply replaced a broken lock. In any case, it is important to make sure you have a copy of all your tenants keys in case of an emergency or if you need to access their units for maintenance.
Speaking of emergencies, when you are gathering copies of their keys, be sure to ask for any updated emergency contact information. You never want to need it, but you want to make sure you have contact information in case something happens to your tenants.
5. Thank Your Tenants
Last but not least, don’t forget to do something kind for your tenants at least once a year to show them you care. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but a heartfelt note or small gift around the holidays can make all the difference in your relationship with them.
Some of these steps can be done for you if you work with a management company. MV Properties can ensure that your rental properties are properly maintained, landscaped, and priced at a competitive market rate. Call us today to set-up a meeting and let us tell you how we can simplify your life as a landlord.
Keegan McNamara is the founder of MV Properties, a leading San Diego property management company offering the highest level of service in property management, maintenance, and leasing. His goal is to cultivate long-lasting relationships with his clients (property owners) and their tenants to provide an enjoyable leasing experience. Keegan holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego and is a Principal at McNamara Ventures, a real estate development and investment company focused on residential and mixed-use properties.