Deferred Maintenance, as defined by Wikipedia, is the practice of postponing maintenance activities such as repairs on both real property (i.e. infrastructure) and personal property (i.e. machinery) in order to save costs, meet budget funding levels, or realign available budget monies.
Most Common Example of Deferred Maintenance
- Peeling Paint
- Missing Shingles
- Water Heater
Atypical Examples of Deferred Maintenance
- Leaking Faucets
- Running Toilets
- Furnace Filters
- Frequent Sewer Back Up
- Chimney Cleaning
- Loud Appliances
Some of the examples listed above are high dollar items but are absolutely necessary. The furnace needs to be functioning at all times in order to serve the tenants and protect the home. By taking the time to ensure that all of the mechanical functions of the home are in proper working order you are protecting your investment.
There are definitely things you can do to extend the life of certain appliances/functions. As a result of having the HVAC system serviced yearly, changing the furnace filter regularly and inspecting things like the roof, siding, decks, etc will help you catch small repairs before they become big replacements.
I know that it is expensive to have a property painted and a deck stained. You may not be able to justify the cost if it doesn’t look “too bad.” You think that this can wait a few years. Well, a few years later there are most likely boards on the deck that have sustained too much water damage and now need to be replaced. The siding on the home has also sustained more damage and now the entire structure needs to be scraped before it can be painted and there are several pieces of siding that need to be replaced. By waiting you have doubled your work and your cost.
Keep in mind that your failure to do some of these maintenance items could result in the loss of a tenant. Many people rent because they do not want the maintenance hassle or expense that comes with home ownership. If those tenants are constantly dealing with leaky roofs or dripping faucets they will usually move once their lease is up.
Owning property comes with maintenance costs whether it be investment property or property for personal use. A maintenance budget is a necessity!