Owning a rental property comes with a lot of responsibilities. In addition to keeping a steady stream of renters, you also have to keep up with the maintenance of the property. This is especially important in the fall, just before the onslaught of winter. Here are a few common maintenance tasks a rental property owner should be sure to handle before the season changes.
Clean the Gutters
First, you should be sure to clean the gutters. Heavy rain or snowfall can clog or even dislocate your gutters from the roof. So it’s important to clean them of all debris and make sure they are firmly attached to the home. They will be much harder to repair if something snaps in the middle of the winter, so it’s best to be sure they are serviced beforehand.
Inspecting the Roof
While you're cleaning out the gutters, you should also inspect the roof. Heavy snowfall, ice, or freezing rain can also seriously damage your roof, which will hurt the value of your investment. Taking a few extra minutes to inspect the condition of your roof before the winter rolls in, could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Last Minute Landscaping
Make sure you rake the leaves and trim any long branches before winter because you might not get the chance once the weather changes. You don’t want to be cleaning up wet leaves in the spring or have a long tree branch crash onto the roof during a storm. So be sure to take care of any last-minute landscaping projects before the first snowfall.
Check for Drafts
Inspect the interior of the home for any gaps or drafts, if you can access the unit. Cold air seeping into the home won’t just impact the comfort level of your renter, it will also force you to spend more on heating the building. Plus, it will prevent any animals or bugs seeking refuge from the cold from getting in during the winter.
Have the Boiler/Furnace Inspected
Make sure your HVAC system is in working order before the temperature drops. You don’t have to worry as much about the A/C until the spring, but you should at least have the boiler and furnace inspected to be sure they can last through the winter. It’s typically much cheaper if you catch a problem early than to wait until one of these appliances breaks down. So, you should be sure to have them inspected in the fall before they’re put to the test.
Bring in Any Outdoor Furniture
If you have any patio furniture or other outdoor items that won’t be used in the colder months, now is the time to bring them inside. This is also a good time to do a quick inspection of the premises to be sure that nothing else that may have been left out on the lawn needs to be taken in.
Stock Up on Winter Essentials
Make sure you have everything you need to handle the winter. This could include rock salt, sand, snow shovels, snow blowers, and anything else that you think may come in handy during the colder months. If you live in an area of heavy snowfall, you should consider hiring a service to take care of the snow removal.
Clean out Air Duct and Check the Chimney
You should have a professional clean out your air ducts at least once a year. The fall is a good time to do it because it can be harder to get a service person to come out in the colder months, especially if it’s an emergency. If the property has a fireplace or a chimney, this is also a good time to clean out any soot or other debris to prevent an accidental fire.
These are just a few of the common chores a rental property owner must undertake to prepare a home for winter. Depending on the location and features of the property, there may be others to add to that list.
If you are getting tired of handling all these responsibilities yourself, you should consider hiring a property manager to take care of them for you. A professional property manager will not only help you stay on top of your maintenance needs, but they can also help you collect rent and help you run your business more efficiently.