Why you should always account for maintenance expenses...

7 Replies

My tenant calls and complains that the sink is not draining, I tell them ok I will get a plumber over there ASAP. I figure this is a simple fix. I call today and the initial estimate comes out to around $350...the existing pipes are old and need to be replaced...sure go ahead.

The plumber calls back and says...this system is very out of date and figures out that the pipes connect with my other unit on the other side of the building but nothing is holding it up...he will do the extra work for an extra $150 so now $500 total

He calls back AGAIN and says that while this is a good temporary fix, that's just it, it's temporary so something bigger needs to be done down the road...great!

My tenant calls me back and says "hey while the plumber is out there...our bathtub drain isn't working either have him look at it!"...I say ok I will have him take a look...I give the plumber a call and tell him to take a look while he is there...he figures another $200 to have the draining cleaned out!!

I am now down about $700...so long story short, make sure to account for maintenance in your expenses

Side note: My other tenant calls and wants a refrigerator in her unit, she has been renting from Rent-A-Center the last year or so....don't you just love it!

@Steve DellaPelle Rule of thumb is to count 10 months of rent (to pay the mortgage) with 1 month going to pay taxes/insurance, and 1 month for repairs. It always happens. Investors forget about the wear and tear on the property. Renters are hard on stuff. Great post! 

@Jack Bobeck Thanks for the reply! I currently set aside about 7% for each Maintenance, Cap Ex, and Vacancy for a 4-unit property but I am quickly finding that 7 is low.

Fortunately I have the money to cover and I was planning on these types of expenses but figured it was a good PSA to keep people aware!!

@Steve DellaPelle Great post! Most "new" real estate investors forget about maintenance, until the call comes in and they are short the money needed, because they never counted on saving for it. Indeed timely post! 

I have a plumber who lives in one of my units, a roofer who lives in another, I hope to find an electrician soon, the trifecta! 

@Jack Bobeck That is awesome! You really have it made...maybe I'll add that to my screening requirements lol

@Steve DellaPelle , if your lease doesn't include a fridge, and the tenant is renting her own, don't buy a fridge. I recently told a tenant, after repairing a dishwasher and dryer that going forward, since neither of those appliances are on the lease, any maintenance is up to her. I'm only repairing the fridge and stove.

I️ thought it was wasn’t a big deal until you got to 700 lol. I️ hope that plumber isn’t taking you for a ride. Anything under like 350 I️ consider normal and fine.

I just had an inspection done on one of my reports and had about 300 of stuff to fix now and probably anther grand at the next turnover.

This is where scaling comes in. Once you reach say 10 units and save let’s say 1000 a month for repairs, it’s probably unlikely you go over that often, unless you have a lot of turnover in a given year.

@Ray Harrell She pays about $50-$75/month renting a fridge...I had an extra one from a vacant unit that works just fine so I gave her that one and it frees up some cash flow for her to assure rent is paid on time.

I see it as a good move, hopefully the maintenance on the fridge is minimal.

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