It’s the final countdown.
Over the course of our six part series “The Journey” we’ve looked at how to become a buy-to-let property investor in a simple, step-by-step process and we’ve now reached the final step – property maintenance and moving forward.
Most homeowners and tenants alike will understand the value of property maintenance. Over the course of weeks, months and years, houses suffer all manner of problems and the same can be said of property investments.
Burst pipes, damp and condensation, cracked walls and countless other issues will constantly eat away at your profits if not managed correctly but our pointers below should help you start proactively planning.
Finally, before we crack on, you can check out The Journey parts one through five by clicking here!
Cash flow management and sensible budgeting is an integral part of any business, property investment included.
We’ve already touched on this during the property hunt in part two of The Journey, which you can read by clicking here, but budgeting and saving towards an emergency fund is highly recommended. A good rule of thumb is to put away 10% per month if possible.
All manner of issues can creep up and although smaller jobs, like light bulb replacements, won’t drastically impact you, larger jobs, such as replacing gas boilers, can cripple unprepared investors.
As the old adage goes “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”.
Budgeting is essential but property maintenance doesn’t start and stop there.
For committed property investors preventative maintenance is the next important step. By following a proactive approach you can potentially lessen the burden on your budget and overreliance on contractors and tradesmen.
Preventative maintenance can take many different forms, and the following list isn’t definitive, but we would recommend being aware of the following:
Damp and condensation: Damp and condensation can prove to be a silent killer in the property world. Without proactive attention and prevention, damp and condensation can cause extensive damage. Ensure that your property is properly heated, that the tenants use the heating regularly, and also that there is plenty of ventilation and fresh air.
Stains and leakages: Every property, whether it’s leased or used by the owners, will succumb to the odd scuff and marks but major stains and leakages are not to be messed with. Even the tiniest leak can cause major damage if left unattended for a long period of time. Invest in a trust worthy plumber who will do things properly and can also be relied upon during a crisis.
Drainage and Guttering: The outside of the property is just as important as the inside so keep an eye on your drainage and guttering systems. Regularly cleaning your guttering and drains can ensure everything works as it should, avoiding potential breakages or damage.
As already stated, this isn’t a definitive list but maintaining awareness of potential problems, through regular property visits and good communication lines with tenants, can help keep expenses to a minimum over the long-term.
All of the above can, of course, be handled by a letting agent if you decide to hire them to manage the property.
Preventative maintenance is a brilliant habit to develop as a property investor but unfortunately disaster will strike from time to time.
When this does happen, whether it’s a boiler problem, leak, electrical issue, something structural or something completely different, we would recommend calling on the relevant expertise available.
If you’re connected, have a large network or an existing property power team then this would be the time to call for help. If not, it’s time to ask for recommendations, open the Yellow Pages or use Google to get searching.
Either way, expertise is required. Certain jobs and certain issues, such as extensive refurbishments, call for a level of skill and experience way beyond DIY level and in that case it pays to pay a professional.
It may hurt but sensible budgeting should help during these emergency moments.
Moving Forward in Property
We’re almost there. We’re almost at the end of our property journey together.
After you’ve made the leap and started your first buy-to-let property you might be wondering “what’s next?” or “how do I move on from here?”
Depending on your aim, it could be a simple case of repetition. However, if you’d like to enter the world of serviced accommodation, flips or property development, you will have to alter your strategy accordingly.
You’ve made it to the end of The Journey: A Six Step Guide to Buy-to-Let Property Investing, now get out there and start doing, acting and making things happen!
If you’d like to continue your property learning and education you can find out more about our Property Success University by clicking here! For serial networkers out there, check out our Belfast Property Meet events by clicking here!