7 Tips For Finding Good Contractors for Your Investment Property

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Owning a rental property takes a significant amount of work, as it gives you a second home to maintain and repair. There could be times when professional assistance becomes necessary, too, because some jobs will fall outside of your expertise. 

Hiring a contractor is your best bet when you find yourself in this situation. Expert contractors will reduce your risk and save you time on home repairs and maintenance, keeping your investment property operational and your tenants happy. 

The problem is that finding a reputable contractor can be challenging, especially in a major metropolitan area like Washington, D.C., which has countless options. You’ll likely encounter less-than-respectable service providers if you don’t research beforehand, leaving you in a challenging position.

Learning some tricks can help as you seek a contractor to work on your properties. This guide examines how to find good contractors in the metro DC area.

Jobs Contractors Can Handle

There are many reasons you may need a contractor. These workers can handle various jobs around your rental properties, ensuring they’re adequately completed with the utmost care. Work a contractor can assist with includes the following:

Repairs

The first reason to contact a professional contractor is when you require home repairs. Contractors can assist with HVAC, electrical, and plumbing repairs and can also fix broken appliances, replace drywall, and restore your flooring. You’ll need to select a contractor specializing in the specific job you require for the best results.

Renovations

You could run into a scenario where substantial renovations are necessary for your rental property, and contractors can help. This scenario could require a general contractor to oversee the project and hire subcontractors to complete individual jobs around the home. Your renovations could include replacing kitchen counters, installing a new bathtub, redoing the floors, or removing a wall, depending on your vision.

Maintenance

Small maintenance tasks can take significant time as your rental home ages, but a contractor can make the process easier. You can hire contractors to replace your furnace filters, winterize your air conditioning unit, and unclog your plumbing fixtures, to name a few. The result is an investment property that stays in excellent condition for years to come.

Landscaping

A landscaping contractor ensures your rental unit’s outdoor area looks great for the summer. You can also hire a snow removal contractor in the winter to keep the property safe. The result is a great looking home with outstanding curb appeal.

Contractors provide essential services for many landlords because of the time they save. You’ll need to carefully select your workers, though, because not all contractors are equal.

Seven Tricks to Streamline Your Contractor Search

You’ll want to avoid cutting corners as you search for a contractor in the D.C. area. The goal is to create a long-term relationship with one or more service providers, so taking your time and doing things right is critical. Some tips for how to find good contractors include the following:

1. Look Online

An online search can provide valuable insight as you search for a contractor. This search allows you to check social media pages and review sites for information on past customer experiences and ask questions through those channels. A contractor with no online presence is someone you should avoid.

2. Ask Your Friends and Neighbors

Asking around the local area provides social proof of a contractor’s reputation. Speak with your friends, neighbors, and family members about their experiences with various contractors and contact anyone they’ve had complete jobs for them in the past. You can also inquire at local hardware and building supply centers because the customer service representatives probably have some information.

3. Meet Them Face-to-Face

It’s important to meet face-to-face with a contractor before making a hire. This meeting allows you to ask questions about their experience, licenses, insurance, and availability and get a read on them before they begin working on your home. Trust your instincts during this meeting, and keep looking if you get a bad vibe from a particular individual.

4. Check References

Get references from any contractor you meet with and take the time to check them. Checking references involves calling people who have past experience with the contractor and asking questions about the quality of the work and the overall professionalism of the job. You can also inquire about pricing and cleanup as part of your background check.

5. Seek Multiple Bids

Receiving multiple bids on the job is advisable because it gives you options as you narrow your search. Getting numerous proposals also allows you to compare quotes and timelines, ensuring you end up with the best possible price and that the timing works for you.

6. Vet Your Candidates

It’s a good idea to thoroughly vet your candidates before signing a contract. This process goes beyond reference checks, as you can look for any lawsuits filed against the company and the individuals working for it. 

7. Inquire With a Property Manager 

Perhaps the easiest way to track down good contractors for your rental property is by working with a property management firm. Property managers have connections with contractors throughout the area and can ensure you end up with reputable and trustworthy workers at your rental home. Some property managers will handle the repairs and maintenance for you, too, leaving you with one less job.

Searching for reputable contractors can take some time, but it’s worth the effort if it keeps your rental property in excellent condition. The result is a better return on your investment now and in the future when you decide to sell.

Keep Your Rental Home Looking Great

Using a property manager to hire your contractors will save you significant time and could even reduce your costs because these companies can often negotiate better rates with their chosen contractors. You’ll enjoy peace of mind when you go this route because you won’t have to worry about the state of your investment property at all.

Nomadic Real Estate offers property management services in the D.C. area. We can handle all your property repairs and maintenance through our network of contractors and minimize the work that falls on your plate. Contact Nomadic Real Estate to learn more about our property management services.

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Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

Owner Portal Reports
  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

Enhanced Rent Roll Report
  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

Unit Comparison Report
  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

Income Statement by Month Report
  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

Owner Portal Documents
  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

Owner Portal Property Statement

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Month over Month Statement

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

Commincation Dashboard Screenshot
  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Owner Portal New Message Screenshot

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

Portal Conversation Response Screenshot
  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Owner Portal Comment

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Portal Conversation Snapshot

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

Owner Ledger Dates
  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

Ledger Property Column
  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

Owner Ledger Description Column
  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

Owner Ledger Amount Column
  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

Owner Ledger Account Balance Column
  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

PW Portal Filters

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

PW Owner Dashboard View

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Owner Portal Ledger View

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

Owner Portal Document Library

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

Portal Reports View

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Owner Portal Bills View

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

Portal Bill Details

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

Owner Portal Communication Tools

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

Net Distribution

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.