9 Best Practices for Rental Property Owners

Owning a rental property can be a lucrative investment, but it comes with its own set of challenges. One of the most important aspects of owning a rental property is being prepared for the unexpected. As much as we’d like to predict every expense that comes our way, emergencies happen, and repairs can quickly add up. That’s why it’s essential to create a financial plan that includes both standard maintenance expenses and unexpected repair costs. By doing so, you’ll be able to keep your property in top condition, attract quality tenants, and maximize your rental income. In this blog, we’ll explore some specific financial budgeting suggestions that will help you plan for the unexpected and keep your rental property running smoothly.

Create a Maintenance Schedule

Start by creating a maintenance schedule that outlines the frequency and cost of standard maintenance tasks, such as HVAC system inspections, lawn care, and gutter cleaning. This will help you estimate the annual cost of these tasks and plan accordingly. Keep in mind that neglecting these tasks can result in costly repairs down the line, so it’s important to stay on top of them.

Set Aside Your Reserve Fund

Next, calculate your reserve fund. This should be a separate account that you use to set aside funds for unexpected repairs and replacements. A good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 10% of your annual rental income in reserves. So, if your property brings in $30,000 a year, you should aim to have at least $3,000 in reserves. However, this amount may vary based on the age and condition of your property.

Estimate Your Average Annual Repair Costs

To determine your average annual repair costs, consider the age and condition of your property and the typical repair costs for similar properties in your area. Keep in mind that repair costs may fluctuate from year to year, so it’s important to have a buffer in your reserve fund.

Factor in Unexpected Emergencies

While it’s impossible to predict all unexpected emergencies, it’s important to plan for them nonetheless. Some common emergencies for rental properties include plumbing issues, electrical problems, and weather-related damage. A good rule of thumb is to set aside an additional 5-10% of your annual rental income for unexpected emergencies.

Consider the Lifecycle of Your Property

It’s important to also consider the lifecycle of your property when budgeting for repairs and replacements. For example, if you have an older property with an aging roof or HVAC system, it may be wise to set aside more funds in your reserve account to prepare for eventual replacements.

Consider Insurance Coverage

Another way to protect yourself against unexpected repairs is to have adequate insurance coverage. Make sure you have the appropriate coverage for your rental property, including liability coverage and coverage for damages caused by natural disasters or other unexpected events. Review your policy annually to ensure it still meets your needs and make any necessary adjustments.

Plan for Vacancies

Vacancies can also impact your budget, so it’s important to plan for them. Set aside funds to cover any expenses related to finding new tenants, such as advertising and screening costs. You should also plan for any potential loss of rental income during the vacancy period. A good rule of thumb is to set aside 5-10% of your annual rental income for vacancy-related expenses.

Consider Financing Options

In some cases, unexpected repairs or replacements may exceed the amount you have set aside in your reserve fund. In these situations, consider financing options such as a line of credit or a small business loan. These options can provide a cushion for unexpected expenses and allow you to make necessary repairs without sacrificing the financial health of your property.

Track Your Expenses

Finally, it’s important to track your expenses throughout the year. This will help you identify any areas where you can cut costs or adjust your budget. It will also help you stay on top of your expenses and ensure you have enough funds to cover all necessary maintenance and repairs.


In conclusion, budgeting for both standard maintenance and unexpected repairs is crucial for the financial health and success of your rental property. By creating a maintenance schedule, calculating your reserve fund, considering insurance coverage, planning for vacancies, and tracking your expenses, you can better prepare for unexpected expenses and keep your rental property in top condition. Remember, neglecting maintenance and repairs can lead to costly repairs down the line, so it’s important to stay proactive and plan ahead. Additionally, seeking advice from property management professionals or financial advisors can provide valuable insights and support to help you make informed decisions about your rental property finances. By taking a proactive approach to budgeting, you can avoid financial stress and ensure your rental property remains a profitable investment for years to come. Start implementing these budgeting strategies today and see the benefits of a well-maintained rental property.


The information in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal or financial advice. It is recommended that you consult with a qualified attorney and financial advisor to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. Additionally, laws and regulations vary by state and locality and it is important to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.