Ongoing property maintenance can be a significant expense, and understandably some property investors are reluctant to dedicate the necessary funds to ensure their properties remain in good shape. However, there are solid reasons to believe that maintenance costs represent money well spent, since regular maintenance will help keep the resale value of your property up, increase rental returns, attract conscientious tenants and minimise vacancy rates.
Regular maintenance is about minimising the inevitable wear and tear on a property. Maintaining your property to a high standard will enable you to charge higher rents on an ongoing basis and will keep the value of the property up, should you choose to sell or remortgage it down the line.
Attract the right tenants
Moreover, a well-maintained property will be more likely to attract the right tenants. Not only will a well-maintained property appeal more to those who are willing to pay more, but the standard you set as the landlord will influence how well the tenants themselves maintain the property.
The famous ‘broken windows theory’ of sociology can be readily applied to property management: the care or neglect with which a built environment is kept sets instinctive norms that determine how people behave within those environments.
Regular maintenance equals profits
You might not – as in the original theory – have an actual broken window in your property leading to crime and antisocial behaviour, but if the bathroom tap is leaking, the air conditioning doesn’t work properly and a broken kitchen cabinet door has been left unrepaired for months, these things send a clear signal to your tenants that they shouldn’t bother keeping the place in good shape themselves. If you don’t care about it, why should they?
Adequate maintenance is also likely to minimise vacancy rates. One common tenant complaint is reporting a problem only to have nothing done about it. Such irritants are likely to encourage tenants to move on sooner rather than later in search of a place to live where household fittings work properly – and if they break down, are fixed quickly.
Make maintenance a regular ritual
All of this means that rather than looking at property maintenance as a burdensome expense, it should be seen as a continued investment in your property portfolio – something to be budgeted for as part of the day-to-day management of your investments. The expense is short term and, in the grand scheme of things, usually fairly minor. The returns in the long run are more than worth it.
Contact leasing professionals K.G. Hurst for expert advice on property investment and management in Sydney.