Updated: Jul 21
New and experienced investors often wonder if they should give their tenants a gift for the holiday season. I totally understand this sentiment. You’ve probably put in long hard hours finding the perfect property to buy, you’ve completed any renovations that needed done and then you spent countless hours advertising and searching for your dream tenant. It’s no wonder you want to buy them a bottle of wine for the holidays. Like any business, your tenants are repeat customers and you want to develop a good relationship with them.
There is nothing wrong with this sentiment. To be clear, I actually encourage you to go down to the local liquor store for some holiday cheer for your tenants. However, as you scale up you may start to find that those trips are getting more expensive. You may also decide to escape the cold one year and spend your holiday season in the tropics leaving your tenants to wonder what they did wrong. You may have set the bar a bit too high and now a precedent has been set. But let’s be real here. What will impact your tenant’s experience more than a bottle of wine? A well functioning, well-maintained unit that is free of deferred maintenance.
If your tenant calls you about a leaking faucet, clogged drain, or any other common household issue at 8:30pm on a Sunday night you do not have to drop what you’re doing and rush over there. However, things like this can pile up if left too long and can lead to a dissatisfied customer and more expenses for you over time. No matter who is paying the water bill, a leaking faucet can really cost a lot of money if left for a full month. A clogged drain may overflow and cause water damage compounding a simple fix. Blocked eaves troughs can cause leaks in the basement as water builds up and pools around the foundation. All these very minor maintenance items can have very costly long-term effects. Besides, who wants to have the family over for Christmas dinner if the dishwasher is broken and there's a musty smell coming from the basement?
The premise here is really very simple. A rental property is a business. The tenants are your customers. We need to ensure that we operate like a business, and we are providing the best product that we can, or we will lose our high paying long-term customers to another property that is better maintained, with faster responses and better-quality service. That is how a free market should operate.
So, if you are contemplating what to get your tenants this holiday season, start first with any outstanding maintenance calls. From there, ensure that they have a brand-new furnace filter installed for the holidays, that the smoke detectors are in working condition, the eaves troughs are cleared from the fall leaves, all the outdoor water is shut off and drained and any drafty windows are sealed or replaced. Your tenants and your pro forma at the end of the year will thank you.
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From everyone here at Beam Property Partners INC, we wish you Happy Holidays and a low maintenance New Year!