5 DIY Investment Property Maintenance Tasks Every Investor Should Know

by | BiggerPockets.com

As an investor in real estate, it is in your best interest to stay in informed and learn how to perform certain maintenance tasks in order to save yourself time, money and hassle. 

If your investment properties aren’t too big for you to handle, you can save yourself some money if you are able to personally make repairs. 

Little things are easy to fix, like securing loose trim or greasing a lock that sticks. For bigger or more complex tasks, like re-roofing and fixing the furnace, you should call a professional.

There are some tasks that property investors could hire out, but you could save money by doing it yourself. When you can do a few property maintenance tasks yourself you can do them around your schedule, instead of having to deal with someone else’s priorities.

Providing such service shows your building tenants that you are a diligent landlord and you will create a sense of appreciation amongst those who rent from you. By spending less on menial tasks, you can invest your dollars into more complex maintenance issues or even upgrades for your investment properties.

With that in mind, here are…

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Five DIY Property Maintenance Tasks That Property Investors Should Know:

1. Painting

Painting is relatively easy but professional painters can charge a hefty fee. If you learn how to paint, all it will cost you is the price of the paint, the tools, the tarps, and your time. Of course, the amount of time it takes will depend on the number of coats you apply.

2. Caulking

It’s important to check and repair caulking around bathtubs, toilets, sinks and other areas that need sealing from water. Additionally, caulking around windows and doors keeps out the wind, maintains heat and helps tenants spend less on energy. Though caulk can be used for a variety of sealing purposes, it can also be used for interior decoration to attach tiles, glass, mirrors and more.

3. Toilets

Knowing how a toilet works can save a lot of money on plumbing bills. It’s actually pretty basic: there’s a tank, a flap, a balloon, a bowl and some pipes. They work using basic physics.

If you know how to fix issues in the tank, you can reduce water bills from various types of leaks. Additionally, if you know how to use a plunger and a drain snake, you have most of your toilet issues covered. And if you know how to use a drain cleaner you will have a good chunk of your sink issues covered, as well.

4. Faucets

Many faucet leaks can be stopped with a few turns of a wrench. Furthermore, there are typically a set of handles under the cabinet below the sink where you can shut the water off to make repairs or even replace the faucet. By enhancing your knowledge of faucets and how they function you can save yourself a lot of money.

5. Air systems

We take our air filters, central air, air conditioners and furnaces for granted. They keep the air in our buildings and homes at the temperature that we’d like them to be. In addition, these things can also offer a line of defense for air quality within the building.

Maintaining consistent temperatures can also prevent wear and tear on the property’s structure. If you know how to change out air filters, scrub grates and clean out air ducts, you can reduce breakdowns, eliminate musty smells and extend the lives of your air and furnace units.

This is a pretty simple list, but knowing how to take care of the DIY maintenance tasks mentioned above could save a lot of time and money. You can use your time for more productive endeavors and with the money you save, you can be more prepared financially in case there is ever a need for repairs, a desire to renovate or a chance to buy another investment property.
Photo Credit: david_a_l

About Author

For 12 years, Ken Horst has driven positive results through internet marketing for businesses of all sizes, from solo real estate agents to well-known brands. His MLS Maps website helps people find real estate and connects agents with clients. Check out the MLS MapsBlog for more tips and advice.


  1. Agree, by checking these things out yourself if your property is local, you get a quick invited look at the property and an extra contact with the tenant.

    Here are a few of my top issues that are too easy and save a lot of money:

    1. Tenant says garbage disposal is broken. Um.. there is a reset switch on the bottom. Do you want to pay a repairman for that? You can tell the tenant to try this, but what if you have not been in the property for 4-6 months? A good opportunity to get your butt out there. Here is another… one of those pampered chef flat plastic scrappers has gotten into the disposal, laid flat in the bottom, almost impossible to tell there is an obstruction in there keeping it from turning.

    2. Furnace is making a loud noise when it comes on. OK, most likely the filter has not been changed in months (a quick fix and opportunity to educate tenant). Although the fan could also be loose on the shaft… a 5 min fix, or possibly a bad gas valve (which you should have a pro do).

    3. Furnace is not staying on. Try a piece of emery cloth on the flame sensor before making that $50-$100 service call. Another 5 min. fix. Oh, and once the furnace door was not secure and the micro switch was not pushed in.

    4. Toilet runs, off an on. Replace flapper valve, 1 minute. Replace all the toilet internals (which is what I do, get rid of that balloon), 15 min max. Under $10.

  2. Sara Cunningham on

    I must admit that if I knew how to deal with the toilet/tap issues and the Air filter stuff I would have saved my self 90% of my maintenance issues and bills over the years. Good points.

  3. #1 I totally disagree with this. Good painting can be found very inexpensively and it’s a waste of the investor’s time to do this. You could say the same thing for cleaning. Don’t do either. Hire them out. A “Professional” painter is not the same as a professional HVAC person. Painting takes little specialized training, if it didn’t you wouldn’t be doing it yourself.

    #2 This falls in the painting category for me but it is not as time consuming so I can see your point.

    The rest are ok.

    I think a better approach is to find a good handyman (quality and inexpensive) and let them deal with all of these issues. Typically a handyman’s time is cheaper than an investor’s time.

  4. Two years ago we had a leaky clothes washer. It was an older washer, so replacing it with a newer one seemed like the logical thing to do. We found a reconditioned machine on craigslist and had it delivered… we don’t have a truck, so it limits what we do on our own. Ok, so this appliance repair person “cut us a deal” on a reconditioned machine and gave us 10 bucks for the old one.

    A few months ago we have a similar problem, at a different house, with a different washing machine. The difference is that this time I spend a few minutes watching youtube videos, how to fix a leaky washing machine…. and you know what… I learned all it needed is a new hose… Hmm… Maybe I was taken the first time around.

    I agree with your post… you could save money by doing it yourself and I feel you can also avoid getting ripped off when you whats involved.

  5. Ken, I agree completely. In my small town a landlord can get away with doing almost any repair. I call the plumber and watch him do it once, then do it myself the next time. I can now install faucets, rebuild many faucets, replace a flapper or a toilet, replace a water heater, install flooring, replace outlets, light switches, etc. I can save over $600 replacing a water heater myself in an hour.

  6. Owning rentals for many years, I find it is better to have a list of vendors that are reasonable in price to get the repairs done fast. I still do all repairs on the little items like toilets, disposals, and yearly inspection items. I find that painting always looks better when done with a vendor, unless it is just a touch up.

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