Steve Rozenberg is the VP of Investor Education with Mynd Property Management, and he asked Brandon Graham, the Portfolio Manager of Phoenix Operations with Mynd to talk about some of the common issues and challenges that face Phoenix real estate investors and landlords.
Our topic today is rental property repairs and maintenance. This is often one of the largest expenses for investors, and if you own a rental home in Phoenix or you’re thinking about buying one, you need to be prepared for the routine maintenance costs that will show up.
Replacing Window Blinds on Phoenix Rental Homes
The most common thing to be repaired in Phoenix is the blinds that cover windows. High heat does damage to these blinds, and we’re constantly replacing them between tenancies and even during tenancies. Vertical blinds are an old school thing that are still found in a lot of properties. They are notorious for falling apart. The plastic pieces break and become detached. So, we look to eliminate those blinds. Instead, we prefer horizontal blinds and window treatments that tend to be sturdy and easy to keep clean. Stay away from cheap plastic. Look for faux wood blinds. They last longer.
Garbage Disposals and Tenant Responsibility
Garbage disposals are also a popular repair request. A lot of times, damage to garbage disposals is tenant-caused. It might be an accident; a resident can be doing the dishes and a bottle cap will fall into the drain and lock the disposal. We always check and determine whether the damage is normal wear and tear or a cost that tenants must be responsible for paying.
Air Conditioning is Essential in Phoenix
In Phoenix, we can peak at 110 degrees in the summer, so air conditioning is a big factor. You have to maintain your air conditioning unit as a landlord. We recommend that you have it inspected, cleaned, and serviced annually or biannually. You want to make sure it’s performing the way it should, and you want to decrease the likelihood that your tenants will be left without a/c in the middle of a hot summer.
It’s always less expensive and more beneficial to be proactive. Prevent serious issues with your cooling unit instead of reacting to emergencies. You don’t want to be scrambling to take care of this in the middle of summer when it’s over 100 degrees and you need a brand new system. When you’re purchasing a Phoenix investment property, make sure you have an inspector check the cooling unit.
In the Phoenix area, our climate demands that the air conditioning unit works for seven or eight months a year and almost 24 hours a day. Your unit works hard. There’s sometime a 30 degree difference in the outside temperature and what you’re trying to achieve inside. Be aware of this, and make sure preventative maintenance is a priority with your heating and cooling unit.
Pay Attention to Irrigation Lines
Irrigation line are also important in Phoenix. We live in the middle of a desert, and it’s worth remembering that when you’re buying a property or thinking about your landscaping options. If you want green grass, your property will need a sprinkler system. If you live in an older property, those sprinklers will be notorious for breaking. We recommend you avoid any rental property that has grass.
Take the grass out and replace it with desert landscape or gravel. Make sure your property is as low-maintenance as possible. It will help you rent to better tenants and you’ll also have fewer turnover costs. Take away the grass and install some rock. This results in less expense and maintenance.
Look for Tile Roofing on Phoenix Properties
Roofs are not much of an issue in Phoenix. We like tile roofs on properties, which have a lifespan of about 30 years. You might also have a roof with asphalt shingles. Whatever roof you inherit or choose, make sure you’re maintaining it. You need a roof that can tolerate heat and wind as well as dust storms. Most damage will be covered by insurance, but you want to inspect your roof from time to time and make sure it’s in good shape. You don’t want to see any missing or displaced shingles. Otherwise, you’ll have larger and more expensive problems down the road.
Faucets and Foundations with Phoenix Rental Property
Faucets are more important than you may realize. In Arizona, we have very hard water. There are a lot of minerals, and that causes faucets and showerheads to get calcified. This will cause them to deteriorate quickly, and you’ll find you’re replacing them in our home more than you’d like to
Mitigate this issue with a water softener. These are common in Arizona, and it will keep water flowing through your plumbing and your faucets. It makes your home maintenance much easier and you’ll find fewer issues.
Foundations and shifting soil can be an issue. It’s not usually a major concern, but if there are cracks in the ceiling of a property, it’s usually due to the foundation settling. This is the desert, so things have to be expected to settle a bit over time. Our building code regulations are very specific when it comes to foundations. Builders are required to use moisture and dirt that’s compacted and tested before they can put a pad down and build a house. Newer homes should have especially solid foundations, and this will be part of your inspection before you buy an investment property.
Contact us at Mynd Property Management if you’re interested in lowering your rental property expenses in Phoenix. We’d be happy to help you save on rental property repairs.
You can also visit our Facebook group of investors, which is called Master Mynd. It’s a real estate investors’ club, where you can exchange ideas with other owners. Check out our weekly podcast as well, called The Myndful Investor. We invite leaders in real estate and property management to talk about their success and, more importantly, their failures. There’s a lot to learn from this relatable content.