Maintenance for Independent Landlords

9 Replies

Hi, I'm just starting out as an independent landlord and have found the maintenance requests and sourcing of qualified maintenance people difficult. Is there a tool or service that can help me find people quickly? Right now, I'm doing many of the fixes myself but the turnaround is slow and I definitely don't know how to do everything

I found my awesome handyman by a referral from a realtor.  He actually taught me how to do common repairs ( holes is drywall) so now we only use him for bathroom remodels and kitchen countertops.  Ask around, and when you find someone you like, take very good care of them.  

I have also used Home Advisor/ Yellow Van Handyman when I lived in Tacoma.

Another tip is go to Home Depot early in the morning.  The go getter handymen will be parked in the "pro" section of the parking lot.  You want a guy with truck full of tools who is there early in the morning ready to go to work.  Snap a photo of the ad on the side of his truck or van, and give him a call.

So y'all suggest really just trying to take the time to find a single person who is a jack-of-all-trades vs. trying to find multiple people who each specialize in a particular area?

Also, how much should I try to budget annually for maintenance repairs to my unit (as % of rent)? Is there a benchmark for that?

Originally posted by @Kirk Hayes :

So y'all suggest really just trying to take the time to find a single person who is a jack-of-all-trades vs. trying to find multiple people who each specialize in a particular area?

Also, how much should I try to budget annually for maintenance repairs to my unit (as % of rent)? Is there a benchmark for that?

I recommend the jack of all trades handyman for most non-permitted repairs.  This approach will save you time and money.  You don't need a plumber to replace a leaking faucet.  Also, don't discount DIY.  I know it is looked down upon on this board, but it is often faster cheaper and less hassle to learn to do common repairs yourself.

There is usually some deferred maintenance when you buy a property. We did not set aside a certain % of rent -- we just estimated the most expensive repair we could imagine and saved our earnings in an LLC savings account until that amount was met. We did not start taking profits out of the business until that savings level was met.

Our repair and upgrades expenses  have gone down in the past 4 years as faucets and appliances are replaced, etc. etc.  We are now in a happy place where we can afford to upgrade to new appliances pro-actively just to avoid repair hassles.

Originally posted by @Kirk Hayes :

So y'all suggest really just trying to take the time to find a single person who is a jack-of-all-trades vs. trying to find multiple people who each specialize in a particular area?

Also, how much should I try to budget annually for maintenance repairs to my unit (as % of rent)? Is there a benchmark for that?

 

There's never going to be a single person who is a jack-of-all trades and is reliable.  In my experience, you'll figure out who your A+ guys are over time by trial and error.  I have one reliable guy for plumbing, one for AC, and one for lawn-care.... Those are the main 3 "things" in my opinion.

Regarding budgeting for maintenance and repairs based on rent... I don't think basing it on % of rent is really reliable at all (But that's how I do it anyways!). I allocate 15% of my rents to Maintenance/Capex/Vacancy and that has seemed to work for me so far. I have certainly not spent 15% rents on these expenses, but once a roof or AC unit breaks it will even out.

Hi Kirk, my company was built to help people spend less time sourcing and schedling, and have more time to grow their business. You can check out more details in my profile or even PM me to learn more! We do exactly what you're posting about!

As far as budgeting, it's tough to say and I think is more dependant on the age and use of your units. It's always good to have a handyman do an inspection every once in a while to see whats going old and what warranties are running out. That would give you a better idea of what repairs you'll be looking to make in the near future and be able to plan and price accordingly. I know some home owners who have a list of appliances in each home and the age of each including the warranty expiration dates. Great info to have on hand.

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here