Mark Roemer image of a person working on a deck

Home Repairs You Can and Should Do Yourself

For the most part, landlords should not spend a lot of time making repairs to their rental properties. For one thing, they are probably not the best at making these repairs. Second, there are so many other things you could be doing with your time. I, Mark Roemer, generally contract my work out to service professionals. There are, however, some projects that I am more than able to do on my own.

I am not saying that doing these repairs are for everyone. Some people do not like to get their hands dirty, and that is fine. However, if you have any mechanical skills at all, most of what I am suggesting to do is quickly done. Let’s take a look at some of the repairs you could do on your own if you were so inclined.

Leaky Pipes

Many people don’t know, but the longer it has been since the pipes were installed, the better the chances are they are going to start leaking. Many things can cause leaks, but generally, they happen at the weakest point of the pipe – the joint. Outside of the home, the lines are held together with a coupling that is soldered, welded, or glued together. Once the pipe enters the house, they are either sweated or screwed together. Depending on the pipe, you are dealing with determines how your pipe will be joined. Copper pipes are usually sweated together, and galvanized, or PVC pipes are screwed.

I would not suggest that you try to fix copper pipes. They can be quite tricky. Now, let’s assume you are dealing with galvanized or PVC pipes. Start by checking all the joints to locate the source of the leak. Once the leak is located, tighten the screw, and you should be set. If you find yourself screwing the same pipe over and over again, there might be a need for further intervention.

If this is your second or third time repairing the same joint, you may need to apply some plumber’s tape. Just visit your local hardware store, tell them what you are trying to do, and they will be more than happy to suggest a product or brand for you to use. When you apply the plumber’s tape, make sure that you remove any of the old tape and cover all the threads entirely.

If neither of the above suggestions works for you, it might be time to call in a professional. Ensure that you let them know what you have done to eliminate specific problems from the equation.

Clogged Drains

Depending on how old your apartments are, you might have to deal with blocked drains. After years and years of tenants dumping things down the sink or tub that they shouldn’t, it tends to take a toll on the pipes. There are many things you can do to fix this problem.

First off, you can buy a product that has been known to unclog drains. All you need to do is take the product, following the instructions, and in no time, the pipes are fixed. If you do not want to spend money to fix the problem, you can use hot water and a liquid detergent. Several products on the market can cut grease (the usual culprit of clogged pipes). Another cheap fix is hot water and salt.

On a side note, I would like to remind you never to use baking soda and vinegar. Some many websites and videos show how easy the problem is fixed with these two products. Just remember, not everything you read on the internet is right. If you think back to grade school when you make a volcano from these products, you will quickly see why this can become a big problem.

If all else fails, you might have to call a plumber. They have tools that can lean your pipes quickly and easily. While it may cost you a bit more, it will give you peace of mind that your lines will not back up. Remember, clogged sinks lead to overflows. Overflows lead to damaged floors. If the apartment in question is on anything above the first floor, they can affect the apartments below them as well.

Squeaky Doors and Floors

Unwanted sounds can be very annoying. When it comes to doors, some tenants may be reluctant to put any lubricant on the hinges for fear they will damage the paint or floor. Instead of using a liquid lubricant, I would suggest you use talc or graphite. Either of these products will have your doors quiet as a church mouse in no time.

As far as the floors are concerned, there are several different sounds that you need to pay attention to. A normal squeak means that there is wood rubbing against a nail. Put some talc on the offending board and then reinforce the nail where it belongs.

A groaning sound means you have structural issues with your floor. Do not attempt to try and fix this unless you know supporting beams and walls. I would suggest you opt to call in a contractor. They can resolve these issues relatively quickly and for less money than you may think.

Household Pests

Many of my clients report there are several spiders on their apartments. We usually think there is nothing that can be done. I am here to tell you, they have exterminator services that will spray the outside of your apartment complexes for much less than it would be for you to find a new tenant (should you have one unwilling to stay due to arachnophobia).


Like I, Mark Roemer, said you should not spend a great deal of time repairing apartments in the beginning. There are some things you can do quickly and easily. I suggest you do these things. Spending extra money is not something you need to do either. With the internet, you can learn how to fix common problems in your apartments. Watch several videos on each issue so you can get a couple of different perspectives on how things can go and will be handled.