Landlord at Property During Maintenance?

23 Replies

Hi Everyone,

I’m currently self managing and each time I’ve needed an electrician/plumber I meet them at the property myself. I’ve only got one property but I wanted to hear from someone who has the experience in self managing and multiple properties. Do you take it upon yourself to meet contractors there or do you have them coordinate with tenants?

Hi Bailey,

If you go you have the opportunity learn.

If you stay at home, that's an opportunity lost.

After a while with several properties you may not want to go every time though.

For instance the Plumber charges you $12 for a Union...You can know what a Union is (and that he doesn't mean his local 225 Plumbers Union dues).

What is PEX, what does it look like, and which brands are you paying for?

What is COPALUM.

What is Romex.

etc...

Good Luck!

I don't have any direct experience with this but there is NO reason you have to meet the contractor at the property.  If it is something serious that needs to be fixed the tenant should let you know and then you can contact the contractor and send them over to the property.  The tenant should be kept inform as well though.  Unless its a new contractor or you just want to make sure the work gets done you should not be going over there every time.  That is just what I have heard from others.  

Promotion
Turo
Turo car sharing
Start a small business on Turo
Join thousands of entrepreneurs who have started successful car sharing businesses on Turo.
Learn more

100% Personal choice.  In the beginning I met contractors all the time.  Both to learn from them, see what is involved in doing something I may think is easy and most importantly to build a relationship with them.  Find out what treats they like and bring them along for a midday snack/coffee/pop etc.....When you have 1 house you need to build a personal relationship with them because that is all you have.  When you have 100 houses and are using them weekly things can be different but I have found almost everyone likes to have a personal relationship.  

Someone else said there is NO reason you have to meet the contractor at the property, and frankly I think that is silly short sided.  Again, when you have 1 house and you need something, there is an emergency, who do you think that contractor is more likely to respond to.  The person he never met and only has 1 house or that super nice guy that always meets him and has a coffee waiting?  

At times you live and die by your contractors.  Pretty sure it is daily here on BP that I read someone is looking for a good contractor.  Use every opportunity you have to make sure you have a solid contractor and then build up a relationship.

Today, we have hundreds of homes and while both I and other staff build relationships with contractors we obviously don't meet them onsite at jobs very often.  But the relationships are still very important.  

It depends on the project scope for me. Smaller items I'll generally let the tenant coordinate a time that works for them. Larger projects I'll meet the contractor and often they want the owner/representative there to at a minimum go over what work is to be done. 

Yes that is totally understandable.  Nothing wrong doing that in the beginning or from time to time.  Just try not to make it a habit.  That way you can focus on your $10,000 per hour task instead on $10 per hour task.  Good luck!

As long as I know the person doing the work, I let them coordinate directly with the tenants.   You always want to have a feel for your contractor before you send them somewhere unsupervised.  

It's not scalable, but if you don't have many units and have some free time it wouldn't hurt to go to get familiar with basic repairs. I always have contractors coordinate directly with tenants.

@Brad L. I would argue the exact opposite. Meeting contractors at homes in the beginning when it is possible as you have few homes is one of the things that allows you to scale.  Building a solid team is in fact the only thing that allows you to scale.   @Bailey A. you will look back fondly on the days when you used to meet a contractor at a home when you are sitting o your empire to busy for the little people.  You will relish for those days and laugh at the times you had.  

@Scott M.

"It's not scalable" means he will not still be meeting a contractor every time he needs a repair if he has 100 units, and like I said now is the time to do it if he wants to get familiar with contractors and basic repairs.

Heads up, I'm not an experienced investor... yet. However, I'd like to vocalize my opinion on here and it can just be taken with a grain of salt:

My intention here is not to guide you to any decision but to suggest considering if you can achieve your goals via other methods and consider the opportunity cost of both doing and not doing something. Then consider based on your goals, if you can get things still to work out favorably in a way that still solves the issues that you're presented if going one direction or another.

@Scott Mac mentioned the opportunity cost of not going to the property to meet with your contractor. In that instance your opportunity cost is missed free education and possible missed relationship development with your contractor. Makes a lot of sense and I can't really poke any holes in that because there is potential truth there. 

However...

There is opportunity cost to going and meeting them in person as well. You don't get your time back, and you aren't necessarily looking for how you could get the equivalent education and relationship development from home. (if you want to be operating remotely, it might be beneficial to learn how to operate this way) You probably could, but it will take more creativity. 

ex. Your contractor could video chat with you while you take the call from home and explain the materials and installation method. If you have a list of materials that are being used, you can google them and do the research yourself. You can send thank you cards and tip during the holidays to demonstrate that you value the relationship, etc. 

It depends on your goals and priorities, your time availability, etc. 


Food for thought... 

Promotion
Apartments.com
List, Screen, Lease, Get Paid, Manage.
No Better Place to Lease Your Place
Owners rely on the #1 rental site to get the best results from their rental properties.
Get Started Now

@Bailey A. I think it helps initally to get familiar with the contractor (and his timeliness, professionalism, how he interacts with your tenant) and see if he is going to be someone on your 'team'. Also from a learning perspective, it is GREAT and like a live Youtube video.  As your scale, and you get more comfortable - you will see yourself weaning off the visits. (Also from personal experience, they necessarily don't want you always on top of them for smaller projects.)

For larger projects (rehabs, guts etc) - again ONCE TRUST IS BUILT - I still pop in occassionaly, unannounced, but a few times a week so they know that I am tracking progress ;-)

I own 2 buildings with a total of 20 units. I  *always* meet any worker that is working on my assets. always.  why? first because they are my assets and its a lot of my money in them and I want to be sure stuff is done right....  2nd - i dont want the repair folks talking to my tenants.... I also want to know and understand what is happening in unit  and finally   and super important - i learn by watching....  each time I have someone out for a repair I watch, ask questions and then try to do the repair the next time it comes up.....  I am really getting good but some things I still dont work on - appliances and water lines :)  

@Bailey A. My tenants coordinate with the electrician or AC guy or plumber directly. These subs are my business associates. We are all in this business together. We all make money together. I don’t have time to coordinate for them. But just to be clear, the tenant has to be home for any repair that is done.

@Bailey A.

Perfect thing to do, since you have just one property.

As I am a contractor/builder myself, I don't mind the owners or bosses there when I work.

Ask some questions, but understand that you don't want to be a nuisance to your contractor.

I have had some owners make the job pretty difficult as they question most everything being done just to be educated.

Love the owners who take pictures before, during, and after. I sometimes ask to use these for my own references!

After a while, you will not feel the desire to be there during work, and perhaps not even desire to meet the contractor.

One thing I require my contractors to do, is to send pictures of the finished work when they expect payment. I verify the work is done to my standards before I cut the check.

Trust, but verify!

Great question!

Go if you want to learn and be more involved. A true landlord is there during maintenance because they are the ones doing it. 

Stay out of it if you want to focus more on the "10,000/hr tasks instead of the $10/hr ones."  Seminar garbage. 

@Bailey A. I like to know my contractors and maintenance people. I certainly don't need to be there watching over their shoulders but occasionally it's a good thing. Also

Depends on the tenant. Sometimes for major issues like replace dishwasher, garbage disposal, etc I meet them there with the replacement items.