If you own rental properties in Houston, it’s crucial to maintain good relations with your tenants. One way to do this is by hiring a quality property management company to handle the upkeep.
Are you looking for advice on how to maintain your rental properties in Houston? Look no further. Below are nine critical tips to protect your investment and keep your renters happy.
1. Be Ready
When you rent a house in Houston, sooner or later you’ll have to spend money to maintain it. Expect your annual maintenance expenses to run about 1.5 times the rent you receive per month.
That said, exactly how much you spend on a house depends on the condition and age of the property. Make sure you have sufficient cash in reserve to cover repairs each year.
Having that much money available is essential to ensure you cover the maintenance of the property for the entire period the tenant lives there.
2. Understand The Law
Which maintenance items you will have to cover depends on the state in which your property stands, as well as local regulations. You should be aware of building codes and laws that govern ownership of properties in Houston.
If you are unfamiliar with the laws that affect your rental homes, you will have to do some research online about the laws in Texas and Houston. If you don’t maintain the home in accordance with state and local regulations, you might incur monetary penalties.
The last thing you want as a landlord or property owner is to come up on the city government’s radar in a negative way!
3. Use An Exterminator
Even if you don’t have bugs in your property, you should hire an exterminator every quarter. Don’t limit your extermination services to one home or a single portion of a house. Remember that bugs can quickly shift from one part of the home to another.
Your property management company should have an experienced extermination company it uses regularly. Granted, extermination services typically aren’t cheap, but you will pay far more if you suffer an infestation of roaches, termites, or bedbugs in your Houston property.
Also, Houston has long, hot summers and mild, even warm winters. Insects and other critters tend to be more active in this region, so it’s vital to pay for pest eradication services on a regular basis. Neglecting extermination expenses will inevitably lead to trouble.
Watch For Water Leaks and Damage
As an experienced property owner once said, any time water is running constantly, you need to identify the problem and stop it as soon as possible, preferably within the hour.
A typical time to experience leaks in a home in Houston is after a heavy rain. Other occasions are when ice or snow melts, and during the hot, humid summer days in Houston when pipes may sweat.
It’s also worthwhile to search for soft areas in the ceilings and around the water heater and boiler. Watch for any signs of water around the toilets, showers, and windows. Your property management team should check under the heater, sink, and boilers, too.
It’s smart to hunt for leaks early, because the longer they persist, the more damage they can do to walls, ceilings, and the renter’s personal possessions. Also, locating leaks and running water can prevent mold, which is expensive to clear up if that gets out of control.
Keep Them Happy
It’s critical to keep your tenants happy with the property, and to address their requests and complaints as soon as you can. This matters because if your tenant pays rent on time, you’ll want them to renew their lease. Happy tenants tend to renew, so taking care of your property is the best way to guarantee they will.
You might be surprised how often people forget to change the filters in their air conditioners. Perhaps they think it’s unimportant, but more likely it slips their mind.
Changing the filters can save you a lot of money over time, though, and it costs only a few dollars. Make sure that you or your property management team change the filters in your AC units at least twice per year.
Also, see if you can insert high-efficiency filters into your HVAC system. When the filters are dirty, the AC must work harder, which costs you more money because of higher maintenance expenses.
Further, when air filters get clogged, the ducts have to be cleaned, and that’s an expense you don’t want. Remember, even if the tenants pay the electricity bills, you want the AC system to work efficiently because that means the renters will be content and more likely to renew their lease.
A properly functioning air conditioning system is vital in Houston because of the extended hot summers. In recent years, many days have topped 95 F.
Property Maintenance and Tenant Turnover
When a tenant leaves, you’ll spend money on essential maintenance, cleaning, and repairs. Every Houston property has to be checked and cleaned. Check the structure’s integrity and the yard to ensure everything is in good shape before you bring in a new renter.
Check the Grout and Caulking
Over time, the grout between tiles in the bathroom can loosen. Caulking can become damaged. When these things happen, you’ve lost the waterproof seal that prevents water from leaking into the rooms below.
If you see cracks or holes, put in new grout and caulking to avoid water damage.
Flush Water Heater
Many experts recommend flushing the water heater once a year or more. This will ensure get rid of sediment buildup from your water supplier in Houston. When a heater collects a lot of internal sediment, its efficiency plummets.
Maintaining properties in Houston will cost you money in the short run, but keeping them in good shape will ensure you don’t incur significant expenses later. Plus, you may be confident the homes will hold their value over time when you’ve kept them up.
Following the guidelines listed above will ensure your rentals will last and be profitable for years.