For most of us, property management isn’t a hobby or something we do for fun. It’s an investment and a way to make money. As such, your goal is to reduce your overhead costs while still meeting the needs of your renters and taking care of your property.
One effective way to do this is by taking on some property repairs and upkeep yourself. From taking care of the landscaping on your weekends to using the DIY repair tricks mentioned in this article, there are many ways you can cut down on your costs and maximize your return on investment. However, we don’t recommend taking on complicated plumbing repairs. For that, we recommend a plumber in South Side Chicago if you live in that area!
Let’s take a closer look at several DIY tricks property managers and owners can use to save both time and money.
Make your annual water heater flush easier
If you haven’t been already, you should visit your property and flush out the water heater at least once every year. A water heater flush helps remove any sediment and corrosion from the tank, boosting the efficiency of the water heater, along with its longevity.
Many property owners drain their water heater slowly into a bucket, which they then empty out as it fills up. This can be tedious. Here’s a better way to do things: attach a long garden hose to the water heater’s drain spigot, and then place the other end of the hose in the front or back yard. Be sure to wait an hour or two after turning off the water heater to start the draining process. Otherwise, the scaldingly hot water could damage the hose!
If possible, have another person stand outside to look at the water as it comes out of the hose. If the water being flushed out is rust-colored, that indicates there is a great deal of corrosion inside it. Depending on the age of the system, you might want to think about replacing your water heater in the near future.
Freshen up your property’s garbage disposal
Have your tenants complained about how “old” the in-sink garbage disposal is? It might not need to be replaced. In most cases, you can get a few more years out of the garbage disposal by sharpening the blades. To do this, you’ll need some ice cubes, kosher salt, and a lemon.
Turn on the disposal and feed a cup of ice cubes, along with a tablespoon of the salt, into the drain. As the blades slide against the ice and salt granules, they should become much sharper. While this is happening, cut up your lemon into small, quarter-sized pieces. Once the ice is cleared out, feed these pieces into the running disposal, one-at-a-time. The acidity of the lemon juice will sanitize the blades and kill off odor-causing bacteria, while the oil in the lemon peel will give the entire sink a distinctive, lemon-fresh scent.
By doing this, you should be able to greatly improve the condition of your rental’s garbage disposal, without needing to replace it.
Clear drains with a few simple ingredients
Clogged drains are one of the most common things renters call about. If you were to hire a plumber to come out and clear every single clog, you’d end up spending a lot of money. Instead, you should start by trying to clear the clog yourself. This is actually relatively easy to do. Before you head out to your rental, you’ll just need to grab two things from your pantry: vinegar and baking soda.
Most kitchen sink clogs will clear with just a little bit of work. Start by boiling some water. When it hits 175 degrees, dump this water down the drain. The heat of the water will help loosen up the clog in the pipe. Next, measure out about one-fourth of a cup of both baking soda and vinegar. Pour them into the sink in quick succession of each other. As these two ingredients combine and mix, their chemical reaction will further eat through the clog. Repeat with another rinse of boiling water, and then check if the clog is still there.
Facing a shower clog? Take a metal coat hanger and, using a set of pliers, bend it into a long rod with a hook at the end. Remove the drain cover and feed your DIY snake tool down the drain. Twist it a few times when you meet resistance, and then pull it out. You should be able to pull out the accumulated hair that led to the clog. Repeat as needed until the shower drains normally.
If these DIY tricks don’t clear the clog, you’re at the point where you’ve invested very little time or money. Go ahead and call in a plumber to take a closer look.
Your DIY mindset can save you both time and money
One of the best ways to reduce your property’s overhead as a property owner or manager is by making DIY repairs and improvements. By handling these small repairs on your own, you can make them quickly and without needing to bring in a (potentially) pricey contractor. However, know your own limits: you’ll still need to hire a professional for anything serious, like plumbing, electrical, or HVAC repairs.