When it comes to single-family rentals, surprises are rarely a good thing. This is particularly true when those surprises are unexpected costs or expenses. In North Charleston, unwelcome surprises may await the new real estate investor. However, rental property investors can learn about the most common hidden expenses in preparation for these surprises.
Every single-family rental owner needs a good quality landlord liability insurance policy. But that doesn’t mean that the policy must be the most expensive one you can find. The rates of insurance policies can vary widely, as can the quality and reputation of the company providing it. This makes it important to shop around before choosing your landlord insurance policy and to check your rate annually for changes. So, to make sure you don’t end up paying far more than you need for your landlord insurance, make sure to carefully compare rates and insurance carriers.
Yet another surprise may present itself in the form of a property’s utility bills. An energy-efficient property is one that has relatively low energy costs. Eventually, new investors will uncover something about investment properties: they come with high energy price tags. The reasons for this vary, but there are a variety of ways that property owners can make their rental property more energy efficient. Getting the house checked for air leaks, aging appliances, and other energy “vampires” can help you get a better idea of where the issues may lie. Replacing weather-stripping, single-pane windows, lightbulbs, and other leaky spots can go a long way toward lower energy costs. With a few simple fixes and some annual maintenance, you can significantly reduce your rental home’s energy bills.
Erosion Prevention and Repair
In the initial stages of owning a rental property, each season can bring surprises of its own. Warm spring weather sometimes reveals erosion issues that were not visible during colder months. In such cases, the cost of erosion prevention and repair may come as an unwelcome surprise. As soil is eroded from a home’s foundation, water can pool and result in damage. A home that has proper drainage and has been thoroughly checked for signs of soil erosion is one that is protected against any unknown prevention and repair costs.
Even the best single-family property owners may face unexpected legal fees at any given time. Working with tenants is rarely easy, and disagreements can and do happen. It is wise to budget for a future lawsuit. Still, it’s wiser to take the necessary steps to prevent a lawsuit in the first place. Performing regular maintenance on the property and responding promptly to repair requests is a good starting point. Furthermore, ensuring your property is compliant with safety standards, giving basic safety equipment, and has been checked for hidden problems like mold, lead paint, or asbestos are a few of the many ways one can steer clear of the courtroom. Following your lease agreement, and encouraging your tenant to do the same, is a commendable technique to avoid tenant lawsuits and keep legal fees at bay.
Inadvertent Appliance Damage
A final unwelcome surprise that might shock the new rental property owner is how quickly appliances seam to wear out. The cost of replacing major appliances every few years can have any investor feeling sticker shock. Lacking the appropriate knowledge of handling appliances can very well lead to accidentally damaging them. That’s where the trouble comes from, not necessarily that the tenants are abusing them. Educate your tenants on proper appliance use and care to keep your rental home’s appliances running longer and better. Instructing your tenants to use the appliances correctly and to perform a few basic maintenance tasks will significantly extend the life of your property’s appliances.
There are a number of unpredictable expenses attached to the opportunity of owning single-family rental properties. Knowing this can lead you to be better prepared to reduce or avoid them. When pursuing an investment in real estate, it’s best to understand that it is impossible to avoid encountering a number of undesirable concerns. But, by being proactive with tenant education, property maintenance, and cost comparisons, you can better prevent a good number of those possible concerns.
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