Curbing Property Maintenance Costs in 2011 for San Diego CA Income Property

A dollar saved is a dollar earned. Who hasn’t heard that? It couldn’t be more applicable as when you are talking about your San Diego CA income property. Be it 2 units or 200 units, high property maintenance costs can cut into your bottom line, thus reducing or even eliminating your “cash flow”. The 7 following ways have proven to curb property maintenance costs in your San Diego CA income property:

1.Review Insurance Policies:
Annual review with your insurance provider for your San Diego CA income property can save you a bundle. And better still get quotes from other insurance companies. My property insurance company offers me a discount if I add my auto and homeowners to the policy. 10% is not a fortune but over the years it adds up.

2. Buy Low-Maintenance Properties.
Always prefer properties that are constructed with materials and fixtures that require less maintenance and are built to last with minimal care. That lovely fountain, manicured lawn and non-native plantings may require more time and effort than you care to give. After all, tenants don’t really care if the flowers are high upkeep roses or wild native daisies.


3.Require Strict Tenant Policies:
This may be the single best way to avoid disasters. Tenants can be “high and low” maintenance, and you know which ones you need to avoid. Tenants that demonstrate personal responsibility will save you on repairs, cleaning, maintenance and wear-and-tear (think clogged drains). I have lived in my house for 5 years now and have never once had a stopped up toilet, i.e. toilets don’t just break by themselves.


4. Impose Sound Repair Clauses

A great way to promote responsibility is to shift the first $50 of every repair cost onto the tenant. You may never again see a beer tab in a disposal or a child’s toy in the gutter. (this really happened).

5.Recruit a Handyman

I just lost the best handyman at my San Diego CA income property! Jake was one of my tenants for 3 years and moved out of the area. I cannot begin to tell you that those were the best years of my life **sigh**. Building a relationship with a person(s) you can depend upon and trust is key.  Jake was great at plumbing and painting. He did all the “move-outs” and was always available for an emergency.Electricity was not his thing, so I developed another relationship with Ken, a skillful electrician. It basically boils down to this: an e-mail or phone call a few times a month and you can manage almost any property if you have a network of dependable handymen.

6. Don’t Overlook the Small Stuff
Washers/Dryers are a source of additional income for landlords. There are some options: leasing the machines and having a company collect the money, and sending you a check every month. Owning the machines and collecting the money yourself. I prefer leasing: it may cost a little more but I do not have to respond to a 10 pm call for a broken machine, since the leasing company does all the repairs AND upgrades the equipment. If there is no laundry on the premises you lower your potential monthly rent  and appeal to tenants who don’t think doing laundry is all that important. (no comment).

7.Sustain Preventive Maintenance
Apply the same principles to your income property that you would to your car. Annual “snaking of drains”, recaulking bathtubs, checking elbow pipes under sinks for leaks every few months. I always send out an e-mail blast to my tenants after a rainstorm and request them to look at ceilings, walls and around windows for moisture or stains.

Collecting rents is only part of the equation. Keeping an eye on repair costs can increase your bottom line and create a solid investment. Contact me today! I will find you a great first time investment property. Contact Me.

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