This is the second of a two-part series intended to help you implement preventative maintenance measures. If you missed part one last week, be sure to go back and check out a few more great tips for long-term rental maintenance investment.
4. Improvements For the Most Used Room In Your Rental Property: The Kitchen
Making the kitchen resistant to wear and tear is very important in the long run. Easy to clean, durable and attractive kitchens are hard to come by and are the part of the house in which landlords will perform the most maintenance. Knowing this, here are some areas typically the most susceptible to damage.
Countertops: There are hundreds of materials you can use for countertops. A lot of the time, you won’t need to replace these unless they’re made of wood. Wood is soft and can be scratched very easily. These scratches can become a breeding ground for bacteria, which is unsanitary and unattractive. What’s worse, these scratches can degrade and can chip off to create giant cracks in the countertops.
So what can you use that is cheap and durable?
Plastic laminate countertops are durable, if not abused, and are very cheap compared to granite or marble.These countertops withstand heat and stains the best. Now, they do scratch easily, but don’t fret, simply fixing a cutting board to the countertop is very easy, but make sure you can remove it. We would suggest placing this near the stove to encourage your tenants to always use a cutting board.
Backsplash: Backsplashes are highly encouraged to prevent water damage to the wall and leaks. Using speed tiles is a quick and easy way to make your kitchen really stand out. Speed tiles are easy to install and can be found at Home Depot or Lowe’s for a low price. Depending on the material you buy, they are very durable as well.
Cabinets: Wood is recommended for kitchen cabinets because it can withstand the hot and moist kitchen environment. Having real-wood cabinets isn’t the cheapest route, but it is only a one-time purchase. Once they show some wearing, all you need to do is sand the doors, put some fresh paint on them, and hang them back up.
5. Plumbing: Where the Most Damage Can Occur so Pay Attention!
I’m sure as soon as you saw the word plumbing, you had a flashback or two. Plumbing can be a landlord’s worst nightmare; I know from experience as a tenant. If you aren’t checking your plumbing, especially in your older houses or units, then you better get your wallet out now. Even the smallest leak in a pipe or faucet can cause tremendous damage.
When I lived on the second floor of an older multi family house, the kitchen sink pipe, behind the wall, was on its last leg. One day when I was cleaning the dishes, I started hearing what sounded like a waterfall coming from behind the wall. Before I knew it, I received a call from the people on the first floor, informing me that their ceiling was raining. Long story short, if the landlord had been paying attention to the plumbing, he wouldn’t have had to replace the plumbing upstairs AND the ceiling/electrical work downstairs.
What are the steps you can take to ensure fewer leaks?
Faucets: Replacing all of your old, worn out faucets with cartridge faucets is a great first step. These faucets are cheap, durable and if they do leak, are very easy to fix. Leaks coming from a cartridge faucet are easily fixed by replacing the rubber O-ring or worn-out cartridge.
Pipes: When you check your pipes, make sure they aren’t those cheap, screw on attachment pipes which leak all the time. You want to do it right by attaching the pipes correctly using joints connected with piping glue. If you don’t want to hire a plumber to do this, it’s very easy and you can do it yourself with the help of YouTube tutorials.
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As stated before, applying these upgrades to your rental properties won’t be cheap at first. But that’s the beauty of preventative maintenance: once you’ve performed all, or some of these upgrades, you will find yourself spending less time on maintenance and more time counting the extra money in your wallet.
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