Due to my background in residential design, building, inspecting, maintenance and repair, I provide free advice concerning these matters to my buyers, sellers and landlords.
Here's an example:
Tenant lost AC and informed landlord. Two hours later landlord returned tenant’s call. Tenant told landlord that her AC guy was there fixing the problem which was a blocked condensate line. The landlord felt that the charge was reasonable, so she agreed to pay for the repair even though the lease clearly stated that the tenant was not to order service unless landlord gave permission beforehand.
After completing the repair and the AC was working properly, the technician informed the landlord that all the capacitors were on the verge of breaking and he strongly recommended that they be immediately replaced.
Since the quote for the capacitor changeouts was nearly $1,000 the landlord called me. I told her to get a detailed written estimate and send it to me which she did.
After a little research and a couple of phone calls to vetted service providers I determined that the retail cost of the capacitors totaled just under $50 on Amazon and they could be replaced by a licensed and insured HVAC company for as little as $325 including the capacitors. Furthermore, I checked the tenant-called contractor’s ratings with several raters and found the highest was 2.3 out of 5 maximum possible. This is a very low rating. The most frequent complaints were upselling under questionable circumstances and suspected inordinately high service charges...and there were plenty of them.
Since its impossible to say with certainty that a capacitor in working order is about to fail I recommended that we wait and see what happens since the AC was now working. Even capacitors with convex ends can perform for several more years and the ends in this case were still flat.
Take-aways and related suggestions include:
-Not all service providers are the same. They range from those who do good work at reasonable prices to those who systematically engage in predatory practices and/or or don't know what they are doing.
-Vetting service providers beforehand is a must. In emergencies there is little time to vet.
-Preventative maintenance is a wise approach. It reduces the probability of failures, especially at inappropriate times. For example, plugged condensate lines can be virtually eliminated with periodic maintenance, thereby avoiding air conditioning outages.
-A small inventory of items such as roof and floor tiles, matching grout, pavers, carpet swatches, touchup paint and toilet seats of all things can help make repairs invisible.
-Knowing your do-it-yourself (DIY) limits and not trying to exceed them is a must. Some DIY repairs can put your life at risk and/or do further damage. Professionals are available for good reasons.
-Consider buying a home repair insurance policy. However, they all have exclusions and limits. Compare them carefully from a cost/benefit standpoint then decide.
-Avoid using low-grade repair parts. Original Equipment Manufactured (OEM) parts often have much longer service lives and make economic sense.
-Document all maintenance and repair activities. They support good care of the home and consequently enhance its value.
-Being on the alert for things that don't look or sound right should become second nature. The early stages of water intrusion is a good example. Let it get out of control and you risk very expensive repairs.
-Don't forget the landscaping. Maintain it well and it will elevate the home's wow effect and value.
Following the aforementioned suggestions will not on only boost the comfort, safety and enjoyment of your home, it will also help you sell it for top dollar.
Jim Lawson, DBA
Florida Licensed Real Estate Broker Associate
Florida Licensed Professional Engineer-Mechanical/Architecture
Florida Licensed Home Inspector
(239) 450-7178 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org ~ www.mynaplesareahome.com
DomainRealty.com LLC ~ Serving SOUTHWEST FLORIDA
All of my clients receive free maintenance and repair advice for life.
The more your agent knows the more you are apt to know!