If you’re a property owner, keeping repairs and maintenance (R&M) costs at a minimum is one of your top priorities. Unlike a fixed-rate mortgage or monthly insurance payments, R&M costs are the biggest wildcard when it comes to single-family rental (SFR) home ownership.
To take the uncertainty out of these expenses, it’s important to create an R&M strategy that includes a qualified property manager who utilizes contactless technology to make residents and owners happy. In short, you should make every effort to “get repairs and maintenance right,” otherwise you could be pouring money down the drain in the form of costly repair bills.
Why should you hire a property manager that applies technology to solve R&M issues? Because they have experience dealing with R&M, day in and day out. As a result of this experience, they can help you avoid financial hardships, keep you and your residents happy and reduce tenant turnover.
In this blog, we’ll outline why a qualified property manager helps you get repairs and maintenance “right” at your rental home.
Avoid Costly Repairs: Conduct Preventive Maintenance and Annual Inspections
An experienced auto mechanic fine-tunes your car and keeps it running smoothly. Similarly, a good property manager has the experience and know-how to keep your rental property fine-tuned and running smoothly. Like a good mechanic, property managers perform preventive maintenance.
Preventive maintenance in the rental housing industry requires annual inspections of each rental asset. Jeff deDios, Senior Product Manager at Mynd Property Management, says that preventive maintenance is designed “to catch small problems before they turn into major issues.”
An annual property inspection should cover a property’s interiors and exteriors.
Some routine maintenance a qualified property manager conducts includes:
- HVAC systems and air filters
- Pest control
- Sidewalks and walkways
- Code boxes and smart locks
- Building steps
Save Money with Virtual Maintenance
Contactless, virtual maintenance is a new trend that’s here to stay in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Even before COVID-19 swept across the country leaving a wave of destruction in its path, tech-forward property managers utilized virtual maintenance to save owners money. As an example, deDios explains how virtual maintenance works at Mynd:
“If we receive an online service request from a resident that we have pre-determined they can resolve themselves, we can book a FaceTime or video call to talk the resident through the issue,” he says.
Some low-risk issues Mynd troubleshoots with residents are:
- A leaky sink
- A garbage disposal that isn’t working
- An electricity outage
Sending a maintenance tech to resolve an R&M issue at your property requires significantly more money than diagnosing an issue online. Diagnosing issues online using contactless technology also makes residents feel safer by protecting them from the risk of contracting the coronavirus or other illnesses.
Leverage Vendor Relationships
A good property manager with local market expertise has access to an extensive vendor and contractor network in each local community they serve. Since a property management company spends a lot of time performing repairs and maintenance, the company has likely developed long-lasting relationships with contractors.
An experienced property manager tends to have much better relationships with third-party service providers than an owner does. Established relationships with high-quality, cost-effective vendors give you a competitive edge as an owner, and saves money on R&M.
“We benchmark data and know the current cost of construction, building materials and more,” says deDios. This benchmarking gives Mynd further insight into affordable vendors, contractors and other service providers.
Size and Scale Results in Greater Vendor Efficiency
In some cases, bigger is better. Property management companies that oversee thousands of units in regions nationwide leverage their size and scale to negotiate the best rates with vendors. In the case of Mynd, we manage over 7,500 properties nationwide, so our extensive network of over 3,000 vendors have the ability to rack up some contracts.
Our team of software engineers created a vendor portal that makes it easy for vendors to work with us, and enables them to bid on as many projects as they’d like. The tool is seamless: A vendor submits their invoices through the portal, ensuring rapid payment. The portal not only benefits our vendors, it benefits our residents. A vendor can schedule work orders with a resident directly in the portal, which saves time and generally resolves the R&M issue faster.
A savvy manager takes vendor relationships a step further by applying technology to rank the level of service each vendor provides. Mynd created a Vendor Score, a ranking from 1 to 10 that ensures our owners receive the highest-quality, most affordable R&M costs.
Make Your Residents Happy
A savvy property manager makes it easy for residents to submit service requests. “Mynd has mobile and desktop apps for residents so they can easily submit service requests, and track those requests through their entire lifecycle,” explains deDios. “They can track the request from the time they submit it, to the time it gets scheduled, to when it gets completed. It’s all part of our commitment to provide great customer service.”
Mynd also has an owner app that provides transparency into the status of service requests made by their residents. Throughout the entire lifecycle of the request, you will stay informed and know how much your issue will cost.
According to a recent TransUnion blog, one way to keep residents happy is by proactively responding to R&M requests. “Happy residents are more likely to renew their lease and save you money,” deDios confirms.
Avoid costly repairs and unpredictable expenses by hiring an experienced property manager “who treats your property like it’s their own,” concludes deDios. A manager who takes full ownership of your property is also committed to maximizing your rental returns and minimizing your R&M costs.