I got a call from my tenant Sandy earlier this week. She lives in one of my townhouses and she told me that the air conditioner was leaking, and that water was coming through the ceiling into the kitchen.
Obviously, this is a problem, and needed to be fixed immediately. So what did I do after her call? Well… I certainly didn’t run over there to fix the AC unit myself. My handyman skills are good enough for changing light bulbs and that’s about it.
Instead, I immediately called my virtual assistant Lisa and told her to call American Home Shield and have them send someone out to fix the leak. You see, American Home Shield is the home warranty company I use and I think every investor who owns rental properties should get one of these warranties.
There are many companies out there in addition to American Home Shield, however, I’ve been using them for years and I’ve been pleased with the way they work.
So how exactly do they work?
Well, my assistant Lisa called them up and told them that the air conditioner was leaking and gave them the address of the property.
Then American Home Shield contacted one of the HVAC companies in their database to go out and repair my AC unit. (On a quick side note, my assistant Lisa gave American Home Shield my tenant’s cell phone number so that the HVAC company could set up a time to come fix the AC. In other words, I didn’t have to go wait for a repairman or even step foot in the house.)
When the repairman had finished fixing my AC, my assistant Lisa called and paid via credit card so that my tenant didn’t have to write a check and have me repay them. (The payment she made was the $60 co-pay, but the cost of the home warranty plan I use is around $400 a year.)
Some people balk at paying $400 a year but not me.
First off, I only pay for the home warranty on properties that are in my “buy and hold” portfolio, which I plan to hold onto for the next 30 years. If I’m doing a lease option deal, then my tenant/buyers are required to purchase the home warranty and pay for it themselves.
Another reason I don’t balk at paying $400 a year is because I’ve tried finding a good and reliable handyman . . . If you’ve been in this business long enough you know that finding an honest handyman who shows up for the job is like finding Big Foot. It isn’t easy.
So having the warranty makes my life all around easier, so I don’t have to spend time dealing with handymen who don’t show up or who take too long to fix something or who show up drunk. (Yes, that happens quite often.)
Since one of your main goals should be to run your real estate business as efficiently as possible, I would highly encourage you to use the same system I have to deal with repairs on your rental properties.
Photo: Jeremy Hetzel