Outside of regular property maintenance services, there are a number of items that should always be on your in-between seasons checklist. These chores and upgrades prepare your property for the upcoming season, avoiding costly repairs and the last-minute scramble to get things done.
Most importantly, your renters will be more comfortable without the noise and hassle of repairs happening while they’re living in the home. Add these five items to your summer to-do list to prepare for fall renters.
#1: Property Inspection
This doesn’t just mean shampoo the carpets and buff the wood floors, although you should do that, too. Check that everything is in good working order for cold weather and all that comes with it: rain, wind, snow, and ice.
Start with the roof, inspecting it yourself or with the help of a contractor. Remember that broken or warped shingles can lead to leaks, so look for those first and foremost. To find every potential issue, use this Roof Inspections Checklist.
Next, inspect and clean your gutters. If your gutters are clogged, water won’t drain properly from your roof. This can cause exterior and interior damage—a lose-lose situation for you and your tenants.
As you go through your property, check the windows and doors for cracks. Cracks, or even too much space under the door, can let cold air in and warm air out. That’s not only annoying for tenants, but leads to higher utility bills as well.
#2: Appliance Checks & Repairs
Your tenants will likely not use air conditioning during the colder months, but you should still check the air filter and clean out any excess buildup. Do the same with your heater, which your tenants will use during fall and winter. Make sure your heater is functioning properly and efficiently.
When checking your heating systems, don’t pass over the furnace. “Routine maintenance can extend the life of a furnace. The first thing you need to do every year is change the filter. This takes about five minutes, and will help keep the unit running efficiently all year,” explains Paul Esajian, co-founder of FortuneBuilders.
#3: Fireplace Cleaning & Updating
As you’re prepping for cold weather, don’t forget your fireplace. A cozy fireplace is an attractive feature to tenants during the fall and winter, so it’s important to make sure that yours is in good, working condition. Start by cleaning out the inside (or checking the electrical wiring, if you have a gas fireplace). Don’t forget to call a chimney sweep to remove soot buildup. It only costs $223 on average, according to HomeAdvisor, and it boosts the safety and effectiveness of the fireplace.
Finally, if you haven’t in a long time, replace the fireplace doors. While it seems like a small upgrade (and it is, both in effort and cost), it will go a long way in improving the look and feel of your fireplace. If you’re not sure which type of doors to choose, always go with glass: “If you burn real wood, tinted glass is a great choice to hide the ashes and soot after a fire. If you have a beautiful set of gas logs, clear glass shows them off when they aren’t burning,” say the glass door experts at BrickAnew.
#4: Insulation Checks & Repairs
In addition to the heater, the insulation can affect how comfortable your tenants feel when the weather cools down. Insulation can wear down and become less effective over time—which most property owners don’t realize. When this happens, it will take more heat (and money) to keep your property warm. Avoid any issues before they start by having a contractor or home inspector check your insulation. You can make the necessary repairs when it’s still warm in the early fall, before your new tenants move in.
#5: Prune Back the Landscaping
If you live in a region that experiences harsh winters, now is the time to prepare for the weight of snow on the trees and bushes surrounding your house. Not only does this damage the trees and shrubs that can’t stand up to the weight, but broken limbs can potentially land on the roof, leading to costly property damage. To avoid this, Bigger Pockets author Drew Sygit recommends thoroughly pruning your trees. When heavy snow falls, they’ll be less likely to break off haphazardly.
Fall may feel far in the future, but the colder weather will be here before you know it. Prepare now to save yourself stress and money. With property maintenance taken care of, you can happily welcome new tenants and proudly show off the upgrades to potential renters.Read more on Maintenance & Improvements