Property Management and Maintenance - How Agents Handle Repairs

Published 10 December 2020 by Team :Different

Property management and maintenance go hand in hand like cheese on a pizza. It's at the core of making your property investing journey as smooth as possible.

It might not be your choice of bedtime reading material, but chances are if you are reading this, you are one of the thousands of Aussie property owners who struggle to feel in control of the maintenance and repairs of your investment property.

Maintenance issues can pile up and get out of hand very quickly. Plus, unless you're a handyman or tradie, knowing if you are paying a fair price to fix that leaky tap or broken cupboard door can turn into one big guessing game. There's no prize if you win, but losing can cost you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your property.

That's why property management and maintenance has the front seat of your experience.

In this article, we'll explain what it's like to use a property manager for maintenance, including how property managers handle maintenance & repairs, using our process at :Different as an example.

Do property managers take care of repairs?

Yes, they definitely should. Taking care of repairs and property maintenance is part and parcel of a property manager's duties and responsibilities. If you want to make sure they do, check the property management contract, and it should specify that this is part of the service you're paying for.

If the property manager for some reason doesn't take care of maintenance and repairs, we honestly suggest you just scrap the deal and switch property managers.

Even if it means you pay more, getting property management and maintenance included is a must. Otherwise, you're not getting your money's worth since this is one of the most time-consuming responsibilities.

Challenges of self-managing your property maintenance

With that out of the way, why do so many property investors in Australia use a property manager for maintenance and repairs?

80% of property owners in Australia use a property manager.

If you’re self-managing your rental property, property maintenance is bound to be one of the issues you spend a fair chunk of your time on.

In fact, 25% of property owners we surveyed mentioned property management and maintenance was one of their three biggest challenges.

There are a few reasons why repairs and maintenance is such a large thorn in the side for DIY owners:

  • With so many tradespeople to choose from, you can’t tell who will get the job done best before you’ve established your network and gotten some experience.
  • It’s hard to know what a repair or property maintenance service should cost. All too often, self-managed property owners just accept the first quote they get, not knowing if it’s a good deal or if they’re getting ripped off.
  • It takes time. Every maintenance issue is a car ride to and from the property to verify it, which adds up. Juggling a full-time career, family, personal commitments and managing a property is a tough gig. The alternatives then are to either quit your job to manage your properties full-time, or to bring an expert property manager on board. 80% of Australian investment property owners choose the latter.
  • It takes up mental space. An investment property is meant to give you financial freedom in the long run. But let’s be real here: if you’re running around worried every day about “what will break next”, chances are that you’re unsure if it’s even worth it anymore.

Too many options, lack of network and information, time, and mental drain makes being a DIY property manager doing property maintenance a bone tough gig.

Now that you know why self-managing your property maintenance is so challenging, we’ll explain how using a professional agent for property management and maintenance can help you deal with maintenance issues in your rental effectively.

Benefits of using property managers for property maintenance and repairs

The key difference between you and a property manager is that they live and breathe real estate as their full-time career, are trained, and have access to networks and databases which individual owners do not.

Here’s a quick rundown of the benefits of using a property manager for property maintenance:

  • They have a network of trusted tradies and property maintenance companies whom they know will do a good job. Think about it this way: property management companies deal with property maintenance for thousands of rental properties every year. After years of trial and error, they know exactly who to call.
  • They usually have a good estimate of what a property maintenance issue should cost. Again, this is because of experience in the field.
  • Obviously, they take care of maintenance issues for you, taking your mind off the property.
  • They’re educated about what tenants are liable for and what the property owner is liable for.

A good property manager makes maintenance a non-issue.

In addition to this, property managers also conduct routine inspections to predict any upcoming repairs, installations, or whether you need to replace any old appliances. This allows you to pre-plan your maintenance expenses, so there’s no surprises.

Overall, hiring an agent for property management and maintenance is a great way to make sure your property is being kept in a good shape, and to free up your time and energy to be spent elsewhere.

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How do property managers handle maintenance requests and repairs?

You can expect most property managers to deal with maintenance requests in the following manner:

  1. The tenant notices something is wrong or needs a repair in the property, and reports it to your property manager via text or email.
  2. Your property manager collects all the relevant details and starts looking for the correct tradesperson. This is where a property management maintenance request form comes in.
  3. Your property manager reaches out to you with the property management maintenance request form, usually via text or email, to confirm the property maintenance service.
  4. You give the green light and the tradie is brought in to fix the issue.

Keep in mind that not all property managers include this in their property management fees. Check the fee structure in your property management contract to know how much it’ll set you back.

Tip: Property managers who charge you extra for handling property maintenance on top of the tradie quote are not giving you good value for money.

How do you know if the property maintenance quote is fair and realistic?

Whether you’re a self-managing property investor or if you use a property manager, there’s always going to be an element of uncertainty when you’re getting a property maintenance quote.

It’s impossible to know if you’ve found a tradie who is honest, fair and transparent, or if your property manager has been diligent in getting you your property maintenance price.

The best way to know if the maintenance price is fair is to have a good idea of what various property maintenance issues and repairs should cost as a baseline, and compare that to the quote you’ve received.

Unhappy with your current property manager?

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Property maintenance price list

So, how much do property maintenance companies charge? Here’s an overview of the most common repairs and maintenance services and what they usually cost:

  • Air conditioning repairs should cost between $125 to $175  per hour
  • Door repairs should cost $50 to $60 per hour
  • Toilet maintenance should cost $75 to $99 per hour and anywhere between $150 to $550 for other repairs and installments
  • Leaky taps should cost between $60 to $156 to get fixed.
  • Clogged sinks, bathtubs and drains should cost between $80-$285 for a simple block, $300-$500 for a midsized block and up to $20,000 to replace the entire plumbing system.
  • Refrigerator repairs should cost between $125 to $500.
  • Broken light bulbs. Most tenants should be able to fix a light bulb that has gone out, but if a larger electrical issue needs to be fixed, it should cost $89 to $140 per hour.

Keep in mind that these prices will vary depending on the issue, where you live, your housing type and so on. Use it as a guideline to check if you’re getting a fair property maintenance quote.

How :Different does maintenance and repairs

In addition to a trusted network of tradespeople, we use a data-driven approach to property maintenance when we get you maintenance and repair quotes.

In a nutshell, this means our technology looks at historical data to calculate how much any specific property maintenance service should cost. For example, our data tells us that 80% of “blocked sink” maintenance requests have cost $524 or less in the past. In that case, we would never send you a $600 quote for the same service!

You can demo our owner’s portal or look at the screenshot below to see how this looks in practice:

maintenance quote

All our maintenance requests are handled in the tenant’s and owner’s apps, which simplifies the process for all parties. If you’d like to learn more about how we do things, you can read about :Different’s technology, and :Different’s team-based approach.

These pieces come together to give you 98% of maintenance requests appointed to tradies within 24 hours, a fair maintenance service quote and ease of mind when it comes to your investment property.

Let :Different handle your property maintenance

Join the :Different family to experience what it's like to have 98% of your repairs and maintenance issues assigned to tradies in 24 hours. Our team of experts powered by smart tech will never leave you hanging!

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