When you rent out a Columbus property, you’re often thinking about the property as a whole, but you also need to break it down into each system and function. It’s important that you’re prepared to repair and replace systems and appliances throughout the tenancy and the entire cycle of your investment property.
That can get expensive, especially if you’re not expecting that it’s time to make a replacement. Emergency repairs will always be more expensive than the preventative maintenance plans you should have in place.
When you invested in a property, you likely spent a lot of time and resources figuring out how much you could expect to spend on maintenance and repairs versus how much cash you’d be taking in with rental payments every month. It’s basic budgeting.
Maintenance, however, is never a one-time cost. It’s ongoing, and the costs of labor and supplies are only going up.
Part of planning for maintenance and repairs in the long term is understanding the life expectancy of certain items and functions in your property. If you buy a property with a brand new roof, it means you likely won’t have to replace it for a while. But, do you know how long that roof should last?
There’s planning and there’s budgeting that relies on knowing just how long certain things will last in your investment property. Let’s take a look at what to expect.
Lifespans of Major Functions and Systems in Columbus Rental Homes
It seems like toilets should last forever, right? The foundation is something you expect will be around for the entire time that you need it, too.
Nothing lasts forever, however, so you need to work some preventative maintenance into your investment plan. Invest in service calls and inspections. When you take care of refinishing your deck, power washing your driveway, and vacuuming out the vents in your dryer and your air conditioning system, those items will likely last longer.
The lifespan of these items will often depend on not only preventative maintenance and care, but also the quality of construction and the materials that were made to build it.
Heating and Cooling Lifespans
Heating and cooling units are expensive. These are the systems you really want to keep an eye on. Most HVACs last for 20 years or more, and you have to remember that this is Ohio. In Columbus, the air conditioning will be running all through the summer and before you know it, the heat will be needed to get through the coldest months of winter. Both heating and cooling are required in our climate.
Your furnace should last 15 to 20 years, but if you don’t maintain it, you will find yourself having to replace it much sooner. A hot water tank should be with you for 10 years at least.
So, think about quality when you’re replacing and repairing a furnace, a coil on your air conditioning unit, or a thermostat. Some of the new digital thermostats can last for 30 or 40 years without needing to be replaced. That’s great, but if you don’t have your HVAC system serviced and inspected annually, that new thermostat will only take you so far.
When you have professionals inspecting and servicing your systems and appliances, you can maximize their lifespans. You’ll spend less on both repairs and replacements.
Columbus Roof Condition
Roofs in Columbus have to withstand sunshine in the summer. That’s manageable. In the winter, however, there is snow and ice. There are heavy rains in the spring. Sticks, leaves, and other debris will gather. Your roof needs ongoing attention as well. Clean your gutters, trim your trees, and make sure your shingles are intact. Check for water intrusion and insulation.
In general, your roof should be fine for 20 years. This is contingent on it being installed correctly. Schedule those inspections.
Driveways and Floors
A black top driveway will last around 20 years. Again - attention is needed. Power wash that driveway every spring. Make sure it’s shoveled and treated in the winter months. The salt and sand you use to combat ice will begin wearing away at the driveway. Consider resealing it when you see potential problems starting to show up.
What about floors?
It really depends on your tenants. Carpets should last for around five years. Hard surface flooring will last longer - six to 10 years on average. You’ll need to assess the condition of your floors during every turnover. Decide whether the carpet needs to be replaced, for example, or whether you can get away with having it steam cleaned for one more year.
Kitchen Appliances in Columbus Rental Homes
Kitchen appliances may live longer than you expect. They might also go to pieces sooner than you expect.
The life expectancy of most appliances depends on the quality of the product that you install and the amount of usage those appliances get during a tenancy.
With more people still working from home, you might find that your kitchen is getting more action than it did five years ago. Faucets are being turned on more frequently, dishwashers are being run every night, and refrigerator doors are opening and closing several times throughout the day.
There are still some basic estimations you can make. Always leave yourself a buffer. Just because most kitchen sinks are sound for 20 years doesn’t mean yours will be.
Here’s some of the data we’ve gathered around kitchen appliances and how long they’ll last.
Most electric and gas stoves will last for around 15 years. The oven will have around the same lifespan.
A good refrigerator may last for 10 years or even 12 years. If you have a separate freezer, you can expect it to work well for around 20 years, and your garbage disposal should be just fine for eight to 10 years.
Ice makers can make a difference, however, when we’re talking about freezers. The compressor tends to go out after about six to eight years.
A dishwasher can also be expected to last for 10 years.
If you provide a microwave, it’s going to keep running for at least eight or nine years.
Washers and dryers, depending on the model, can last around 10 years and sometimes up to 15 years.
Kitchens are important selling points when you’re renting out a Columbus property. You don’t want to keep a dishwasher or a refrigerator around for longer than you should just because it hasn’t reached the end of its life.
If you have to make frequent repairs on the appliance or it’s looking old and rusty, replace it. Good tenants aren’t going to want to move into a home with appliances that are older than they are, even if those appliances still work.
Measuring Wear and Tear on Appliances and Systems
You’ll need to prepare for normal wear and tear. This is expected at every property you rent out in Columbus. The tenants who live in your home are living there. You’re bound to find nail holes in the walls, which will require you to paint. There will be scuff marks on the floor from where furniture rested.
Some of your tenants will barely leave any indication that they once lived there. Some tenants, however, will definitely leave some deterioration behind at your property. When you have people move in with children or pets, you can expect fingerprints on the walls, odors in the carpet, and cabinet doors that are sure to seem loose. If a tenant moves in with a wheelchair, you’ll likely see grooves in the carpet from the wheels. There may be door jams that have slammed against the wall a few too many times.
These are accommodations that must be made, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The amount of wear and tear at your rental property will depend on the number of humans and animals you have living there. This is why you need a strong lease agreement and a strong pet policy. Be clear about how you expect the property to be cared for. Tenants need to know that while wear and tear is expected, any damage to the home will be their responsibility.
Columbus rental property owners are financially responsible for fixing normal wear and tear items. Damage is a different story. It goes well beyond wear and tear and it’s outside of what might happen to a home during routine occupancy. Damage is due to a tenant’s neglect, abuse, or misuse. Sometimes it’s intentional. Usually it’s accidental.
Damage might be large holes in the wall or drywall that’s caved in due to heavy items being hung like televisions. Broken appliances, carpets and walls that have stains or scribble, doors off their hinges, and screens that are torn up or missing are all examples of damage. If you have to replace something in the home sooner than you expect and it’s due to the actions of your tenants, you can hold those tenants accountable.
We can help you establish the likely lifespan of your property’s appliances, HVAC, driveway, roof, and all the other systems and functions that contribute to a rental home. Contact us at Solutions for Real Estate.