The basics of maintaining a new investment property: Accept wear and tear. Prevent everything else.
Having a tenant means wear and tear. It’s unavoidable and just part of a property being lived in.
This is where limiting the factors you can control come into play, like how often tenants are moving in or out, how quickly maintenance issues are addressed, and how well your property’s condition is reported on. By doing this you are helping to protect your property’s value.
The best property managers are the first line of defence against unnecessary decline in condition. You’ll want to look for a team with a focus on wholistic property management that provides services such as our long lease scheme as a way of protecting your investment and building wealth.
In addition, there are things you can do as a landlord to maintain the condition of your property. We spoke to Grace Hooper, Head of Growth for Property Management, for her tips on how to reduce deterioration and keep your investment in like-new condition for as long as possible.
Secure a long-term tenant
There are a myriad of advantages that come with having a trustworthy long-term tenant in your property. A responsible tenant means the risk of malicious damage is extremely low, and if they stay for a while, you save on the wear and tear associated with moving in and out.
As well as saving you maintenance costs, a long-term tenant means you won’t lose rent from a vacant property. Plus, you avoid paying the marketing costs associated with putting your property on the rental market.
Grace's tips for getting a great long-term tenant:
Focus on a relationship:
"Finding a tenant for your property is different to finding a buyer; money isn’t everything. Instead, prioritise someone who is cooperative, has strong rental references and plans on staying for a while.”
The more the merrier
"The bigger the pool of applicants, the better. A lot of people look great on paper but present badly in person, and vice versa. So, the more people you have to choose from the more likely it is that you will find your ideal candidate.”
Consider a long lease:
"Long leases are a way for landlords to lock in good tenants who want to live in a property long term. These types of leases last 2-5 years and provide both landlords and tenants with stability. Independent’s long lease scheme is the only one like it in Canberra.”
Be proactive, not reactive, with your maintenance
Being proactive with maintenance is possibly the single best way to keep your property in great condition. Being proactive prevents further damage, ensuring your property’s long-term health. Anticipating problems and addressing them early is often far cheaper than organising the endless urgent repairs that would crop-up otherwise.
Grace's tips for proactive maintenance:
Know your home
"A professional property manager can only be as effective as you allow them to be. Make sure you understand the components of your home—things like benchtops, carpets and air conditioners. Know their expected lifespan and when they might need scheduled maintenance or a service so you can inform your manager. If you’re not sure of these things, you can speak with your PM for advice. We help our clients track the wear and tear on components in their home.”
View your property like a business
"At the end of the day if you have an investment property, you have a business. So, rather than thinking of maintenance as an additional cost, try to think of it as an investment in your business. This mindset will help you keep your property’s long-term health in mind when making maintenance decisions.”
Make sure your condition reports are detailed and thorough
Condition reports are more than just an obligatory list with a bunch of boxes to tick. It’s a legal record of your property’s condition before a tenant moved in. If a tenant leaves your property in a mess, your condition report is your main line of defence.
A condition report also protects your expensive appliances and fittings from being stolen by tenants. If fittings or appliances aren’t described in detail in the report, you have no recourse if a dodgy tenant replaces them with cheaper knock offs (trust us, it happens!).
Grace's tips for a thorough condition report:
Sweat the small stuff
“Make sure your condition report is detailed and includes specifics. We make sure our condition reports include information on the brands and condition of appliances. We also include photos of specific finishings like doorknobs and draw handles.”
Keep your report updated
“It’s important to update your condition report after each tenant moves out, before a new tenant moves in. A report from two tenants ago won’t reflect the condition your property is in now.”
Independent offers free consultations to anyone thinking of renting out their home or wondering how to build wealth through property. If you want to know more about how we can help protect your investment, get in touch.
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