As a first-time landlord, you might be thinking about maintaining your new rental property yourself. While you may be handy and love DIY projects, this may not always be the best idea. While doing it yourself could save you money in some cases, it could end up costing you much more than you bargained for if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Should you maintain your rental property yourself? When should you hire a professional? Here are several things to consider if you’re thinking that DIY maintenance on your investment property is a good idea.
1. Do You Really Have the Time?
Do you still work a full-time job? Maybe you manage more than one rental property? Either way, maintaining any property takes time, and you may not have the extra time it takes to do it right.
Furthermore, are you able to drop everything and respond to emergencies at your rental? How fast can you get there in the event of a burst pipe or no-heat situation? If time is not on your side, forgoing the DIY route and having a team of professionals at the ready is a good idea.
2. Do You Have the Skill Set?
Maintaining a property takes specialized skills that not everyone possesses. For example, electrical, plumbing, and construction tasks should be left to the professionals (unless you’re specifically trained in these areas), but small projects like changing out light or plumbing fixtures are easy DIYs almost any property owner can handle themselves.
3. Does the Task Require a Licensed Contractor?
As a landlord, you’re responsible for maintaining a certain level of health and safety in your rentals. This means that some repairs (like electrical, plumbing, HVAC, environmental hazards, pest control, etc.) must be handled by a licensed professional to meet state and federal requirements.
4. What is the Cost of the Repairs?
It’s common to find out after beginning a project that it’s going to cost more than you anticipated. Whether you make a mistake, don’t have the necessary tools or equipment, or the scope of the project is bigger than you expected, a DIY project can end up costing you more than you expected, especially if you need to call in a professional to finish it after all. It might make more sense to just call in a professional right away, which will allow you to use your time and money more efficiently.
5. Do You Have a Handy Tenant?
Some minor repairs can be handled by a handy tenant, so keeping a complete tool kit in each of your units is a good idea. You can offer to pay for the cost of materials or give a discount on their rent if they handle the problem themselves. Also, you may want to keep this tenant happy as they might be willing to handle other maintenance and repair tasks for you in exchange for discounted rent or extra income.