As a small investor focused primarily on single-family home investing, I stay very close to my business and the maintenance issues that come up with the tenants.
From time to time in this blog, I will share a story or two from my business and tenant relationships. I hope this might help you as a landlord with your real estate investing business.
So here is one that just came up.
I got a call last night from Jake – we’ll call him Jake for purposes of this blog – who handles the majority of the maintenance on my rental properties. My property manager usually just asks Jake to call me when a tenant reports a problem that involves a repair.
I often cringe when Jake calls because I know there is always a cost involved. So the less I hear from Jake, generally the better.
But not always.
Sometimes a call from Jake is an opportunity for me to become a better landlord and treat the tenants more like the customers I want them to be.
Maintenance can give you an opportunity as a landlord
So in this case it seems the faucet in the kitchen sink has gone out and needs to be replaced.
Now I don’t know about your house, but at our house the faucet in the kitchen sink is one of the things I touch multiple times per day. It’s a regular, high-use item and darned annoying when it’s not working right.
I imagine the tenants feel the same way. Put yourself in the tenants’ shoes occasionally.
Rather than running to Home Depot or Lowe’s to get a cheap kitchen faucet to replace the cheap one the last owner put in there, Jake asked me a question.
“Do you want to get the kind of faucet the tenants want?”
What? Wow. What a great question.
“What kind do they want?” I asked.
Jake said they just wanted one that had a gooseneck on it. Then they would have more space under the faucet to do dishes and it would be easier to clean the sink.
How maintenance can teach a lesson
Two great lessons here. First, I am so grateful the tenants would tell Jake what they wanted because it is an opportunity for us to delight the tenants and show them that we value them.
Second, these particular tenants are Millennials. I do not know how many of you rent to Millennials, but they have different wants and needs in rentals than previous generations.
So I told Jake to get them the kind of faucet they want. It’s their house – not mine, really. And it would go a long way to having them continue as long-term tenants which is my goal.
A few extra dollars for a nicer faucet that the tenants want is a smart, cost-effective investment in my business.
I am just grateful the tenants would ask in the first place to give me the opportunity to be a better landlord.
So the kitchen faucet taught me a lot about how maintenance can be much more than a problem to solve and become an opportunity for tenant retention and happiness.