In this weeks episode Carla and Adrian are talking appliance repairs, replacements and responsibilities.
Welcome to Canada's Property Management podcast, your number one resource for investing, managing, and maximizing the value of your real estate assets. And now here's your hosts, Carla Brown and Adrian Schulz, Canada's rental property experts.
Carla Brown (00:18):
Adrian, why are you so serious?
Adrian Schulz (00:20):
Honestly, right now I'm thinking about circus clowns and the music out of the circus. So I'm having a hard time concentrating. And I'm also thinking about my wife breaking our house appliances and me needing to pay to replace them, even though she can pay to replace them too because we have joint finances.
Carla Brown (00:38):
Yeah. So let's talk about appliances. This is a big thing in property management. And you're laughing, because I think you have a couple stories. But this is... We are in the middle of summer and we are in the middle of a heat wave and tenants have moved into a property, and of course we have many air conditioners go when this type of season hits, and the owner says, "Well, do I really need to fix that?".
Adrian Schulz (01:03):
Is this a trick question? Is this the riddle part of the circus? The answer is yes. Air conditioning, heat, and hot water, just do it. Don't flinch.
Carla Brown (01:19):
Anything. If a tenant has moved into a property and there's certain things that are there and working, and even worse if you advertise them, when they go, you have to replace them. You would replace them if you lived in the house, wouldn't you?
Adrian Schulz (01:35):
Depends how much I want to-
Carla Brown (01:39):
Yeah. I shouldn't ask you that. I shouldn't ask you that.
Adrian Schulz (01:42):
Just so you know, if you put your air conditioning below 10, if it's really hot and humid outside, you can freeze up your air conditioner. So I had to teach that lesson by not replacing it right away and letting the ice melt.
Carla Brown (01:54):
Or how about if... I guess we could give air conditioning tips on this podcast. That's not what I thought, where we were. I thought we were going in this conversation, but have you changed your furnace filter? Well, my furnace works fine. I mean my air conditioner, it's not working.
Adrian Schulz (02:07):
First of the month. I think that if you're a tenant or if you're a rental owner, the best practice is to change it monthly. I know many change it twice a year, but buy them in bulk on Amazon. Change them once a month, you're going to have better air and you're going to extend the life of your furnace. So the reason I was thinking about the clowns and the music at the circus is just this past weekend, we'd gone away and we'd come back. And my wife says, "Oh, our washing machine, it smells, all the clothes are smelling." I said, "No problem. We have to do a wash cycle. Well, we don't have any of the tablets." And I'm thinking, "What tablets? It doesn't need medicine." I could probably make gasoline out of baking soda and vinegar. So I don't know if you know this Carla, but baking soda and vinegar is the solution to all marital problems related to appliances. You can-
Carla Brown (03:02):
Oh, okay. Similar to... Isn't Windex the universal cleaner for something or solve something? There's a movie that they use Windex for everything. So it's got to be the kind of the same thing.
Adrian Schulz (03:12):
And thank you for the Winnipeg plug. That's My Big Fat Greek Wedding. So the baking soda and vinegar, you use that to clean. You do a cleaning cycle in your laundry machine. You can also use that in your dishwasher. If your dishwasher isn't cleaning great. It's about a cup of baking soda and then a cup of vinegar in the top tray, run it on a clean cycle. You can also use that to clean the top of your stove, the inside of your stove. You just let it sit for an hour.
Carla Brown (03:40):
Cleaning tips by Adrian Schulz here.
Adrian Schulz (03:43):
Right. I mean, too bad we don't sell Mary made or Molly made franchises because I would know how to talk about cleaning, but there's a purpose here. And the purpose is yes, there are mission critical appliances and mission critical systems in a rental property that must be replaced immediately. Okay? Because the tenant bought a fully functioning rental property or service. That's what their rent is for. But then there are cases where good maintenance, good housekeeping can both maintain and extend the life of appliances and mechanical systems. And I think especially at our RPM offices, we have tips for tenants, how to keep your home functioning well. Like the light bulbs, the filters, et cetera. We have tips for rental owners, how we can proactively maintain and extend the life of your mechanical and appliance systems. And Carla, I feel like you should be the one giving the cleaning advice. What else have you got?
Carla Brown (04:47):
Why do you think that-
Adrian Schulz (04:47):
Not sexist by the way. Sorry. For all you politically inclined, that was not sexist. It's just because Carla is smarter than I am.
Carla Brown (04:55):
Well actually just... I think my grandmother probably used the baking soda and vinegar trick.
Adrian Schulz (05:00):
Carla Brown (05:01):
It just reminded me that we took this property on not too long ago. And it's in an apartment building that was converted to condos years ago. So older building didn't have in suite laundry, but these people installed a washing machine. So they said to me, the washing machine kind of works, but doesn't really work that well. And it kind of smells every once in a while. So I said, we just won't advertise it as having a washing machine. And it's kind of like a bonus. We'll explain it to the tenants. If it goes, it goes, but now I'm going to go and get someone from my office to go do the baking soda and vinegar trick and see whether or not I can rectify that.
Adrian Schulz (05:40):
With that baked on egg, on a stove top. Has that ever happened to you?
Carla Brown (05:45):
Adrian Schulz (05:46):
You can do it with baking soda and vinegar.
Carla Brown (05:49):
I wouldn't have thought of that. I actually have a ceramic top cleaner that I use.
Adrian Schulz (05:54):
No, but in all seriousness, back to "Do I have to replace that?" Is there a filter that you sort put things through to determine, this needs to be repaired, maintained or this needs to be replaced? What's the mechanism that used to evaluate that?
Carla Brown (06:10):
Well, I think that anything, if it's something that can be fixed, then it normally should be looked at first, but there's certain things that we've found over time that just can't be fixed. Dishwashers, it will cost more to get someone out there to analyze what's wrong. To get a part that will probably take six months to get here in the issues that we've been receiving as of late and then send someone out there. It is actually cheaper to go. We do locally here, we've connected with some great appliance vendors and we get discounts that are, I think phenomenal. It's way worth it for them to replace it with a brand new dishwasher. And that sends a message to the tenant too. They're actually carrying-
Adrian Schulz (06:48):
People love new appliances.
Carla Brown (06:50):
And they usually come quicker than fixing. Sometimes these parts are really hard to get. So I know everyone thinks, "Well, it's just a fridge. I'm going to go get a used fridge and put it in there." And we're like, "Well, that fridge isn't going to match." I think we've talked about that one before too. And in the end you're going to get 30 days of warranty instead of five years or 10 years and probably cost you more on utilities, probably cost you more power wise to run.
Adrian Schulz (07:16):
I'm reminded of something. And that is that many credit cards have a default additional insurance when you make large purchases. And that was brought to my attention because we had bought a new Samsung stainless steel fridge. And I think on whatever... A year and a day it stopped working. And I called and the kind lady at the appliance shop said, "Did you pay with a credit card?" I said, yes. "Then you doubled your warranty." And we got a second year warranty from visa. So kind of a quirk, but something to be mindful of in case you don't buy extended warranty, a lot of credit cards have additional warranty on them.
Carla Brown (07:58):
So I think really the bottom line of this one is that if a house is coming with certain amenities and features, appliances, whatever they might be, that is your responsibility as an investor to make sure that you upkeep them just because it is a rental property does not make it a lesser need to a tenant and air conditioners need to be fixed, furnaces need to be fixed and dishwashers need to be replaced. It seems trivial. Yeah. I could wash dishes, but I had a dishwasher and now I wanted dishwasher. So I don't like to pick sides, but I side with a tenant and really negotiate hard on that for them because it's true. You want to keep them happy, give them what they bought. This is what they applied for.
Adrian Schulz (08:41):
Okay. Now that's a good housekeeping with Carla and Adrian.
Carla Brown (08:45):
And that's real property management.
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