Get your landlords on board with a regular maintenance and upgrade schedule and help them maintain the value of their investment property.
Wear and tear is always an issue when you own a home, and an investment property is no exception.
Carpets fade and compress where people walk the most (not to mention the red wine stains), curtains lose their colour and the high-end kitchen installed in the 1990s will inevitably begin to look retro (and not in a good way).
As soon as a property begins to show its age, demand starts to slip and value drops away. For this reason, it is important to keep an open dialogue with your landlords. Help them stay on top of upgrades and keep their investment looking modern.
When you take on a new property management client, it makes sense to have a chat with them upfront about their maintenance and upgrade strategy. Note the current state of the property and make a plan with them so they can be prepared for expenses.
Here’s an idea of how regularly different features of a property will need a facelift:
Generally, carpet has a five to eight year lifespan, perhaps less in a highly trafficked area. A professional steam clean can bring a dull and dirty carpet back to life so this could be an option before your landlord puts an order in for new floor coverings.
If tenants have caused damage to carpet like major stains or burns, it’s possible they can be asked to cover the cost of replacement, however, you should recommend your landlords set aside a budget for fresh carpet every five years or so.
Blinds and curtains
Remember those vertical blinds with the chains at the bottom? They seemed like a revolution at the time but quickly became frustrating as the chain connectors kept falling off or breaking. Early venetian blinds were the same: lightweight but easy to bend and damage.
If your landlord has either of these blinds it is time to replace them! Vertical blinds are much more user-friendly these days, as are low-maintenance roller blinds. Timber venetians won’t bend or break and are a classic style for almost any home.
As with carpets, landlords should only need to update window coverings once per decade, so long as they are taken care of. Recommend your landlord purchase light coloured curtains and blinds so they aren’t drastically faded by the sun.
Kitchens and bathrooms
A new kitchen or bathroom should have around fifteen to twenty years before it looks shabby and dated, however, it will be less if the countertop and drawers are made from flimsy materials.
Ten to twenty thousand dollars for a new kitchen may seem hard to stomach for a landlord. The expense will be worth it to retain the value of their property as a modern cooking space is always a drawcard for tenants.
Landlords aren’t required to paint between tenants and doing so is only recommended if the walls are an unfashionable shade or noticeably chipped and scuffed.
The great thing about paint is it is one of the most affordable ways to upgrade a property. A light, neutral shade will appeal to a wide range of tenants and make the home feel spacious. Use these tones and the walls can probably be left for another seven years.
Your landlord may fancy themselves handy with a brush but unless they are experienced and are genuinely motivated to DIY, a professional job makes sense to save time.
Light fittings and door handles
Sometimes new light fittings and handles can bring a property into the modern era. This is a small investment which is only necessary once per decade but it can help attract higher-paying tenants.
Remember to speak with your landlords about depreciation. This is often seen as a tax perk but in reality it takes into account the expense of keeping a property up to date. Recommend to your clients they put depreciation-related tax money aside. This way, when it is time for repairs and upgrades they will have the budget without having to borrow against their investment.
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