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How Much Should I Budget for Repairs?

System - Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Property Management Blog

New and experienced investors alike struggle to answer the question of how much money they should be budgeting for rental property repairs.

To put into perspective just how challenging this can be, we looked to one of the largest publicly traded single-family investors, American Homes 4 Rent. As a large institutional investor, AH4R has a team of analyst determine an amount for budgeted repairs on their vast portfolio of rental properties. Surprisingly, they undershot their budgeted amount by 42%! While there are many factors that go into deciding on the amount you should be saving and budgeting for rental property repairs, we’ve come up with a few useful guidelines to arm landlords like you with the knowledge needed to stay profitable.

First, don’t forget that turnover costs money! Turnover is potentially one of the largest expenses you can incur as a landlord, so it’s encouraged that you prepare for these costs accordingly when your tenant vacates your property.

Second, remember to overestimate your budget for repairs and maintenance. Underestimating these potential costs can result in negative cash flow, something we as savvy investors seek to void.

Third, when in doubt, we recommend for average properties that you budget one month of your annualized income for repairs. If you charge $1,500 a month on rent, then you should save $1,500 a year to put toward repairs. While this is a solid baseline you should adjust appropriately based on your property’s condition. A new home would probably require fewer repairs, whereas an older home may require more. When we look at this ratio as a percentage of your income, 8.3% of your annualized income should be budgeted for maintenance expenditures.

When we look back to the AH4R example, their team initially budgeted 6.1% for estimated repair costs, but their actual repair amount came to 8.5% - just over the 8.3 suggested allocation.

Lastly, we recommend keeping a reserve for large ticket items. Things are bound to break in your property and you will be responsible for their replacement or repair. From experience, we recommend keeping three times your monthly rent amount in this reserve.

If you are a rental property investor and have questions about budgeting for repairs or anything else related to the management of your investment property, give our team a call. We are happy to serve as a resource for you. 469-731-5200