The Day The AC Died

File this under nightmare scenarios that landlords have to deal with. In August of this year there was a heat streak here in Las Vegas. And what’s going to happen but an A/C unit is going to buy. Of course to add to the nightmare of this scenario it happens to be while I am on a week-long vacation.

One of the downsides of owning multifamily housing is the fact that each unit has it’s own A/C unit. That’s four very very very expensive pieces of machinery to keep up. A decent A/C unit new is going to cost over $10,000! Multiply that by 4 and it’s a huge investment. Someone who owns multifamilies like ours, in a city like ours, had best plan on taking very good care of the A/C units. Preventive maintenance, Filters, Chains, all of that stuff. You don’t want one to go out let alone two or all four go out in the same year.

So what happens? Within months of purchasing the property? A/C unit one dies. I contacted a vendor who works with my day job, and asked him to go out and visit the property and take a look at it. He said he could get it done and working. $1200 later the A/C was working.

For a two months. Then it died again. Along with it went another A/C unit. Of course when did it occur? While I was on another vacation! Out of town and trusting to a Property Manager who we barely trust, and are getting ready to can. The first one the motor died and had to be replaced. The second one a belt snapped and it had to be replaced, and there it was another $5000! Don’t get me wrong, it’s way better then having to replace one or two complete A/C units on the roof. Sure it wiped out any profit potential of the property for the rest of the year.

What’s the lesson that I learned? Make sure you have the right A/C guy who is actually doing things the correct way. Also make sure that you perform preventive maintenance on the A/C. It’s also important when looking to purchase properties you should have your A/C guy up there to check them out. Because you don’t want to dish out $6,000 in the same year that you purchased the property.

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