How :Different Helps Reduce Your House Maintenance Costs

Published 29 September 2021 by Team :Different

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Peeling paintwork, leaking showers, brokedown stoves - the list of potential maintenance issues for your rental property is endless. While often easily fixed, these issues can add up fast when it comes to costs. Add to this complicated communication between you and your tenants and a small maintenance issue can turn into a significant cost for you. And with the average annual house maintenance costs in Australia skyrocketing to around $10,000 per year, you can forgive landlords for being picky about who manages, arguably, their biggest financial asset. 

Imagine your tenants have just reported a leaking shower. They try to contact your property manager, however, they are away on leave and it takes a couple of weeks for them to be able to successfully organise a plumber to attend. The plumber fixes the leak, charging an average of $85 an hour, however, notices that the leak has begun to cause water damage in the property. This leads to extra plumbing and building costs, making something that could’ve been an easy 15 minute fix a two-week-long, triply expensive endeavour. Let’s not forget the notoriously slow nature of the industry, with property managers often taking days to get tradies on the job - at :Different we move fast, getting our contacts at your property ASAP. 

At :Different, we’ve made it a top priority to avoid situations like this. We’ve developed a maintenance process that makes repairs as quick, simple and cost-efficient as possible for both you and your tenants because we understand that property management and maintenance go hand in hand.

Let’s take a look at how we can help you get the most out of your investment home with low maintenance costs.

Property maintenance in Australia

If you’ve ever lived in a rental property, you’ll know that it’s pretty common to have a maintenance issue every now and then - according to a 2017 study by Tenants QLD, only a quarter of renters have never experienced one. Needless to say, maintenance is a big deal for renters (nobody wants to live with leaky pipes or dodgy wiring) and one that should be addressed as efficiently as possible by property management.

8% of renters are currently living in a home requiring urgent repairs which are going unaddressed. This is largely due to poor communication between tenants, landlords, and/or property managers. A whopping 50% of tenants reported that they were scared to submit maintenance requests at the risk of their being blacklisted, their rent being increased, their owner or agent entering their property unannounced, or even being issued an eviction notice. 

This creates a very uncomfortable relationship between owners and renters, and can even result in tenants terminating their lease early. Not only do you run the risk of increased costs due to tenants moving out, what may have begun as a small maintenance issue or something with a low maintenance cost - let’s say, a leaky tap - could turn into something much larger and more costly if it is not fixed quickly - think water damage, mould, and broken pipes. 

All of this stress and cost could be saved through a simple rework of communication strategies and a reliable list of tradespeople contacts… and this is where we come in.

Do you know what is the average annual house maintenance costs in Aussie?

Maintenance costs are rising, that has been the case for a while now. Looking back at previous years we can get a better understanding of how, as an investment property owner you can prepare yourself (and your bank balance) for all the maintenance costs your property will require.

Here's what you have to keep in mind when it comes to average annual house maintenance costs in Australia

  • In most instances, your average annual maintenance cost will be 1 per cent of the value of your property in any given year. So for example, if your property's value is $950,000, your annual maintenance costs will be $9,500.
  • Consider the age of your house, ongoing weather season, the original condition of the home and location of the property before committing to big maintenances.
  • Don't forget to maintain the exteriors of the house, from the yards to the curbside.

It's no surprise that the average cost of maintenance on a house can vary, but the principle of the 1% rule remains the same no matter the location or situation of the property.

Maintenance process at :Different

Communication is key

Communication truly is the key - a Rent.com.au survey found that communication was the most significant driver for investment property success. It makes sense - creating open, positive communication between you and your tenants will increase the likelihood of them resigning the lease and giving your property a good reputation. 

As stated by our Lead Maintenance Manager Mandy, “Owners need to feel comfortable with their PM’s to be able to trust them with their property. Many times mismanagement, poor communication or wrong decision making leads to a sense of distrust from owners”. 

To improve trust levels between tenant and owner, we’ve streamlined our communication and maintenance process at :Different with the recent introduction of our owner and tenant apps. These allow direct, single contact communication between you, us, and your tenants. 

Through the app, tenants are able to:

  • Report their maintenance issues, which will be forwarded to our team for follow up and approval with you. 
  • View the status of their maintenance requests - they are notified if they’ve been open if we’re waiting for your approval, and when they’ve been approved. 
  • Make after-hours emergency maintenance requests. This reduces tenants feeling ignored or unheard and increases the likelihood of them staying on for longer periods in your property - reducing the cost of you having to relist.

Why are you putting up with a poor property maintenance experience?

At :Different, we respond to 94% of tenant maintenance requests within 24 hours, saving you time and money on the eventual cost.

I want better property maintenance

Maintenance issues are also able to be addressed much faster due to this streamlined process, saving you money on problems that could have compounded over time (that leaky tap that could’ve been fixed for $60 is now water damage costing you $2, 100).

Hear it directly from  :Different Tenant, Carina Gonçalves…

 “I have been having the best experience as a tenant of :Different. No doubt that using an app to request maintenance, to communicate quickly with your agent and to update payment details saves heaps of time and gives us tenants the certainty that all our issues are being taken care of”. 

Trusted tradies

Of course, we can’t address maintenance problems without reliable, talented tradespeople on call. Over the years, our team has developed a list of tradies who we have worked with frequently and developed great working relationships with. 

Working with these trusted tradies ensures that we are getting you the best price, as well as the most premium job - no half-done jobs that could need further attention down the road. 

More ways we can help

As well as upping the communication game and bringing in our trusted tradies, :Different has a couple more tricks up our sleeve to keep your maintenance costs down.

  • We conduct regular inspections of your property. This gives the tenants an extra opportunity to report any issues they’ve forgotten to mention, or for us to track down any underlying problems they might not have noticed yet. 
  • We use historical data to keep track of maintenance issues and effectively resolve them. By checking out any issues that the property has had in the past, we can make sure we’re getting to the root of any new issues. We also look at data from other properties which can help us figure out the most effective solution by comparing similar situations.
  • Our three-part service offering, of smart-tech solutions, team-based approach and property partners give you a 24/7 port of call for emergency issues or concerns that you may have about your property. Your property partners will also be on top of all the current and past maintenance issues your property has had, so you won’t need to explain problems multiple times.

Maintenance can easily become an overwhelming aspect of an investment property, reducing the income you’re receiving from the property. If :Different’s focus on quality communication and trusted tradespeople has piqued your interest,  you can have a chat with one of our experienced team members to hear more about how we can help you get the most out of your investment home with low maintenance costs!

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Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed in this blog post are for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon. We have not taken into account specific situations, facts or circumstances, and no part of this blog post constitutes personal financial, legal, or tax advice to you. You should seek tax advice from your accountant, specific to your situation.

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