Re: Plugged toilets and 2am phone calls… - Posted by Frank Chin
Posted by Frank Chin on August 27, 2011 at 12:18:06:
I’ve been landlording for 30 years, but never had a 2:00AM call on a clogged toilet. But I had a 5:00AM call on a bursted pipe, and the tenant had no idea where the main water valve is. This happened once. Had another call where a tenant didn’t know how to shut the water off to a overflowing toilet, clogged and water was going on the floor, and I was taking someone to the airport. So I swung by the place to shut the water off, and called a plumber.
These are the only two instances I was inconvenienced in 30 years.
My wife took over managing rentals full time after we were in the biz for a little less than 10 years. We made enough for her to quit her job, and people telling her about these 2:00AM phone calls scared her, and there were a few rentals over 30 minute drive away, so I arranged to meet a PM working with a local Century 21 at a site to see what he can do.
I met him in front of one property, and he commented the lawn was nicely done, and asked if I had a landscaper doing it. I said yes. He asked if I had a plumber I can call and send over. I said I used one guy that comes by, I trust him enough to do the work, and he sends me a bill. For emergencies, I had the tenant pay by credit card for 24 hour emergency plumbers and I re-imburse them.
He next asked me how many calls I get from the average tenant a year, and I said 5 or less, but I get only one or two from this particular SFH, because the tenant handles all repairs under $200 under the lease.
So he was shaking his head and asked why I wanted a property manager. He said the Century 21’s PM fee is 10%, so with a $2,000/month rental, it’ll run me $200/month, coming to $2,400/year. So why on earth would I pay someone $2,400/year to take two phone calls, and if a plumber is needed, the PM would call a plumber anyway, and the plumber would still bill me.
He went on to say that if I have a landscaper, it would take care of situations where the tenant is on vacation, and I can have junk flyers picked up. And I can even arrange to have the tenant call plumbers as you do, so I don’t have any 2:00AM calls.
Oh, one thing I since learned and I do now is I tell new tenants where the main water valve is, and where the valve to the toilet is. And for the house that the tenant called me at 5:00AM, the valve was originally behind the hot water tank, kinda hard to get to, so I spent some money re-installing the valve on the other side of the wall and now it is easily accessible.
One thing I do now is I also get a service contract for the furnace, and the tenant is authorized to call them.
If you think about it, if I got a landscaper doing the lawn, and keep an eye on the outside when the tenant is on vacation, a service contract on the furnace, a plumber a tenant can call and he sends me the bill, what else would a tenant need to call me up on at 2:00AM for??
Oh BTW, the nice thing about the service contract for the heating system is they handle calls 24/7.