If you’ve invested in a rental property, especially in a high-demand area such as Santa Clara County, you’ve likely made a considerable investment. In the second quarter of 2022, the average sales price of a home in Santa Clara County was $1.6 million.
Sure, the property will generate rental income and will almost certainly continue to appreciate, but you’ll also want to protect your investment by keeping it in tip-top condition. Outside of its location, the physical condition of the property is the biggest contributor to its value.
With that in mind, here are some rental property maintenance tips for rental owners.
Know the Codes and Regulations
One of the surest ways to let your rental property lapse into less-than-perfect condition is to violate building codes and/or regulations for rental units. Individual municipalities and counties have guidelines rental owners must follow, which means you have to do your homework for each location in which you own a property.
If you owned a rental property in Santa Clara, for example, a Santa Clara property management company’s job would be to stay familiar with local codes and regulations and keep your property in compliance. If you manage a property yourself, then it’s your job.
Walk-through inspections should be done prior to a tenant moving in and out of a property in order to determine the property’s condition at the start and end of a lease. The inspections should be thorough, preferably recorded on video or with photographs, and properly documented item by item and room by room.
If you owned a rental property and hired a professional to manage it, the manager should include a standardized checklist of all the items inspected from top to bottom. Checklists provide documentation of a property’s condition and should be kept on file for quick reference if need be.
Documentation and record-keeping can be areas where owners fall short when managing a property themselves. And hiring a professional firm is usually reasonably priced. South Bay property management typically costs about 10 percent of the monthly gross rent.
Mark your calendar
Doing occasional “drive-by” inspections of your property is never a bad idea. It will allow you to see any glaring problems with the property’s exterior. But to thoroughly ensure that a property is in good shape, it’s best to perform regularly scheduled inspections. You need to contact your tenant and schedule a mutually agreeable time with them to conduct an inspection.
You can include such a provision in the lease and/or provide your tenants with written notice in advance, but it’s a good idea to get a complete inspection on the calendar at least once a year.
Regular maintenance tasks such as changing batteries in the smoke detectors, cleaning gutters, and changing HVAC or pool filters should also be put on a schedule that’s strictly followed.
Build a Network of Service Providers
Some tasks are relatively easy for a rental property owner to manage on their own. You should, for example, be able to paint walls, fix a toilet, or pressure-wash a deck. But there’s always a chance that something big could come up, such as a major repair or replacement beyond your capability.
When it’s time to hire a professional contractor to handle work you can’t do on your own, it helps to know who’s reliable, who provides quality work, and who’s fairly priced. Sometimes, it takes trial and error for a rental owner to find even just a few contractors they can be comfortable with. It can take quite a bit of time and money to build such a network.
By contrast, a Santa Clara property management company will already have a network of qualified contractors that they can trust. Professionals who know other reliable professionals provide a network of contacts that can be invaluable to rental owners when it comes to property maintenance.
Management Services from Valley Management Group
Valley Management Group has been providing trustworthy and affordable property management services in Santa Clara, San Jose and throughout Santa Clara County for more than 40 years. If you own a rental property anywhere in Santa Clara County, contact us for a free property management quote and one free month of property management services when you sign up for services.