The High Cost of Deferred Maintenance on Rental Houses
Many landlords seem to think that any time they are spending money that they are losing money. Consider, you have the option to caulk and paint the exterior of the house now for $5000 or in 3 more years you can spend $8000 to repair the damaged and rotted siding and trim plus caulk and paint the house. Which is less expensive?
We always recommend to our clients that we have the HVAC system serviced every Spring and every Fall. Many defer that maintenance, as they don’t want to spend the money. Often their air-conditioner will last about 8 – 12 years then need replacement. The filters were not replaced as often as they should have been so the system chokes to death. The fan motor and other parts were not lubricated so they do not last as long as they should. When HVAC systems are serviced regularly they often last 15 – 20 years.
These are just two examples. Time is very cruel to houses, especially when it is a rental house. Left alone shrubs will grow to cover the windows. Trees will grow and start rubbing against the siding, gutters, or fascia. Shingles wear out and roof leaks develop.
Deferring maintenance on your property will only attract lower caliber tenants. A quality tenant will not rent C quality properties. The house may be in an excellent neighborhood in an excellent school system. But if the house looks neglected and unkept only tenants who feel It is OK to live in a house that looks neglected and unkept will apply to rent it.
Confession – I am a fan of BMW sports cars. That BMW emblem is a representation of an airplane propeller. That is how BMW got started originally, making aircraft engines. I am also a pilot. Aviation puts a huge emphasis on preventive maintenance. If we maintain the equipment as recommended by the engineers we very seldom have any significant breakdowns. I make sure that my BMW, any airplane I fly, and every rental house I own are well maintained.
Deferring your maintenance now is going to cost more money later. Rental houses are an investment. In order to help maximize your return on investment, do not postpone needed work for very long. It will only cost you a lot more money later.