Benefits of DIY Landlording and Maintenance

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Got a notice from a tenant on Saturday that her bathroom sink was leaking.  My husband and I went over Sunday afternoon to take a look and assess the situation.  The pop-up sink drain assembly was loose and leaking.  My husband was going to call a plumber on Monday -- but I encouraged him to try the repair ourselves.  We disconnected the drain assembly and the J pipe, and took it to the local hardware store.  We were able to purchase a new assembly, washer and plumber's putty.  We returned to the apartment and did the repair in 20 minutes.  Cost : $27  in supplies and our time. 

But what have we really gained?  We have a happy tenant -- because the problem was fixed within 24 hours.  We avoided the cost of a plumber on Sunday, and the hassle of scheduling and waiting for the plumber.  But we have 6 units in this building -- with 6 bathroom sinks all of a similar age and construction.  If one has failed, the other 5 are probably not far behind.  So now we are alerted to a potential problem in our building and have the  skills-- and some of the supplies - to make the repair.  With the next inspection or turn over, we will be alert to the problem and come armed with an extra drain assembly and plumber's putty, in addition to the smoke detector batteries and light bulbs.  We will get more efficient as the repair is done,  What took us 20 minutes yesterday will probably be done in 10 minutes, next time.

Had we simply hired this task out, we would have out much more than the plumber's fee. 

Even with having property management in our out-of-state properties, we usually plan a weekend annually for inspection and minor repairs as it has saved us $$$s off of management repair fees.  We have a long term tenant who actually leaves post-it notes all over the house when she knows we are coming in town and waits for us instead of calling management for the small things.  We also try and come down for turnovers, as even if we just do the little things, like window screen repair, changing out a light fixture, batteries in smoke alarms, update landscaping and mulch, etc., it saves us a ton, we get to inspect our properties and "check in" with them so we are familiar once again, and see things tenants and managers never catch, like rotting trim or deck boards, most recently a small active roof leak, that usually won't get noticed until it becomes a major issue.      

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