People who invest in investment properties will disagree about many things, but all of them will tell you that water leaks are a massive problem in real estate. Nothing can wreck a home or apartment building faster than water leaks.
While we can’t detect every water leak as soon as it starts, there are ways to minimize the problems. Keep reading to learn more.
What Causes Water Damage?
Some water leaks are caused by natural disasters that cannot be prevented. But the typical investment property water leak usually happens from one or more of these:
- Burst pipe: A broken pipe can occur due to freezing, age, or lack of maintenance.
- Tubs and showers: Water collects in the tub and shower daily. Water can leak in the bathroom and downstairs if you don’t maintain the seals and caulk.
- Rain: A steady shower may not lead to a water leak, but wind-driven rain can push through tiny cracks around windows and in the roof. That’s why you may often see water damage around a skylight or window.
- Water heater: If your water heater leaks, you can have 50 or 100 gallons of water pour into the home. When an old water heater fails, it can damage significant water. If the water heater is placed upstairs or in the attic, this is an even bigger problem.
- Drain backup: Clogs in pipes will prevent water and sewage from draining. In the worst situation, you can have water and sewage back into the home and cause massive damage.
Standing Water Will Destroy Your Investment
It’s essential to rely on a skilled, experienced property manager to conduct regular property inspections. After all, we know problems will eventually happen no matter what, but they can be minimized if caught early.
If the water continues to leak and drips into floors, subflooring, and the floors below, you have expensive problems.
For example, the carpet will absorb water, which can lead to mildew and mold, which is hazardous to human health.
Also, drywall and insulation will absorb water and smells. If leaks get too bad, you may need to replace everything contaminated with water.
The biggest thing to worry about with water leaks is mold. It grows in dark, damp places, and as it grows, it can cause severe health problems. If you need a mold remediation professional, you could spend thousands of dollars, on top of replacing damaged materials in the home.
How To Find Water Leaks
Now you understand how serious water leaks are in your investment properties. But what can you do to avoid them?
First, oversee your water bills each month. Then, if there’s a sudden spike without explanation, perform an inspection of the home right away. You may have a leak in a difficult place to see, such as inside a wall or in the attic.
Second, look for bubbling or peeled paint on the ceiling and walls. This may suggest water is leaking from above. Or you may have pipes in the walls that are leaking, which can seep into the paint surface.
Third, watch for mold in the bathroom and kitchen or where water is often present. You also should do a thorough annual inspection of the property to check for signs of decay.
Fourth, perform regular inspections and look for signs of standing water. For example, it’s common for renters to ignore standing water in the bathroom. This can happen from something as simple as a shower curtain that isn’t long enough.
If you look for standing water regularly, you can probably make a simple repair to save you a bundle.
Keep these pointers in mind to ensure that water leaks don’t become a significant problem in your rental properties.