Keep a close watch on your utility bills
When I got into multi-family investing, I learned very quickly that the old saying “a penny saved is a penny earned” applies to property management. One of the most important reasons to have your property professionally managed is to watch the expenses.
Some of the basics are doing routine inspections, every six months or at the very least once per year. It is important to focus on preventative maintenance. It is better to have a proactive mindset, rather than a reactive mindset.
Another area you can save money is to watch for inconsistencies in any of the utility bills you pay. It is common in Nova Scotia to pay the water bill for your properties. In the Halifax area, even if you transfer the water bill into your tenants name, if they do not pay, the landlord will be required to pick up the bill. That is why most landlords include it, in the rent.
Yesterday we noticed a problem with a water bill at one of our properties. The usage was double the previous month. That indicated a problem. Either the tenant was suddenly using way more water, or there was a leak.
We immediately sent our handyman to investigate. What he discovered was the bathtub tap was leaking. He replaced the cartridge, and now the problem is solved. This simple fix will save us a lot of money over time.
We had a power bill problem a few years ago that we were able to fix. We had made a deal with a tenant to have power included in the rent. It was ok at first, but when it got cold, the power bill went sky high. We had our property manager talk to the tenant. When he arrived the thermostats were on twenty five degrees, and I mean all of them. Every room. What we decided to do was set up programmable thermostats. We did not just install them and leave, we had our electrician set them all up based around the tenants work schedule. This proved to be an easy fix that has saved us hundreds of dollars.
If you are paying any of the utilities at your properties, make sure to check for inconsistencies.
These are just a couple of examples where you can save / earn more money. Make sure to check all your bills related to each property to maximize your cash flow.
Michael P Currie