Sunday, June 26, 2011

Maintenance: How much to put aside?

We often get landlords querying the cost of maintenace on their investments. I know I have when my property was managed by someone else while I was overseas. We dont tend to notice the everyday cost of maintenace when we live in a house. I bet if we kept all the Mitre10 or Placemakers reciepts and added up the costs of the all weekend trips to the hardware store we would be shocked. We proabably dont think of the cost of the restrictor stays, new shower curtains or a new clothes line. Its probably just a household expense, something that keeps you occupied in the weekend. We dont think of the cost involved to get a tradie out to wash the building or to clear gutters. All these things we would be happy to do ourselves over the weekend for free.

So how much mainteance on a property is reasonable?

Nothing is going to last forever. You may have to repeat the fitout of your property ever 10-15 years. This will depend on the quality of the fittings you choose and the quality of your tenants! Other things like window and cladding mainteance will depend on the age of your home. The older your home the more likely it will be that the building shell will need repair.

There are the big ticket items that need to be done every 5-10. The house will need to be painted and carpeted every 7 - 10 years. The more the paint is looked after the longer it will last between painting. If you wash the house every year the paint will last longer. What does it cost to paint and carpet your property?

Fixtures and fittings all have expected lifespans (usually a year after the warrentee runs out!) You need to allow for new hot water cylinders and appliances.

You also need to allow to upgrade your home to keep it up to the standards expected by "good" tenants. 50 years ago a uninsulated house with no form of heating and one powerpoint per room was acceptable. Nowdays tenants want insulation, a heatpump and plenty of phone and power outlets. Homes that lack these may find themselves been overlooked by good tenants.

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