We've crossed the midpoint and left the first half of the year behind us. Fall is approaching, and it's the perfect time for landlords and property managers to start thinking about the maintenance their properties will need to keep running smoothly through the cold winter months.
Maintenance not only keeps tenants happy, but it allows investment properties to stay in good condition for years to come — without spending more repairing unexpected breakdowns. Here is a list of essential fall maintenance tasks for rental properties:
1. Sealing Against Cold Weather
Even if you don't pay for utilities, no one likes a cold house when the temperature starts to drop. One of the easiest things to do when you're looking at maintenance in the fall is to seal the properties against the cold. Take the time to inspect things like weatherstripping and insulation. Doing that will ensure these components are in good shape and ready to keep your properties warm and your tenants comfortable once things start cooling off.
2. Cleaning Gutters
You might not need your gutters until the snow starts melting in the spring, but the last thing you want to do is try to clean them when they're frozen over. In addition to keeping your gutters in good shape, cleaning them out will prevent them from tugging on the shingles and causing the roof to leak. Plus, clogged up gutters are the perfect place for rodents and other pests to set up shop. Keeping them clean prevents all of those problems.
3. Inspecting Roofs
Winter can be rough on roofs, between rain, snow, ice and everything in between. Don't let roof problems sneak up on you or your tenants once the weather gets cold. Look for signs that your property needs a new roof, from hail damage to curling shingles, that might indicate a bigger problem. The roof's age will also play a role in whether it needs to be replaced before the cold winter season.
4. Inspecting the Furnace
As a rental property owner, there's nothing more expensive than having a furnace fail when it's supposed to be below freezing. Emergency repair calls are incredibly costly, and you may even have trouble finding the parts necessary to complete the repairs. Have the furnaces or HVAC system checked to ensure everything is in good working order and won't fail on you when your tenants need them most.
5. Landscaping for Cold Weather
If you take care of landscaping at your rental properties, fall is the perfect time to add new plants, repair or replace the lawn and fertilize the greenery so they're ready to weather the winter months. If you're not comfortable with landscaping the lawn yourself, consider reaching out to a professional. They'll have your property looking perfect with plenty of time to spare before Jack Frost gets his fingers on everything.
6. Cleaning the Fireplace
If your properties have fireplaces — which many do in the Northern states — maintaining them is essential. A dirty or clogged fireplace can be a massive fire hazard or could cause smoke and carbon monoxide to build up in the home, creating a dangerous environment. Bring in a professional chimney sweep and ensure everything is well maintained before your tenants light their first fire of the year. Doing so will ensure your renters have plenty of fun and safe nights gathered around the fireplace during the coldest days of winter.
Preparing Investment Properties for Cold Weather
Fall is the best time to get a head start on maintenance for your rental properties. Create a plan with your property management team to ensure focus on preventative maintenance. Focus on things that will be difficult to address once the temperature starts dropping. The advantage will be a property well-prepared for years to come.