When you have a tenant that vacates during the winter months you absolutely have to winterize your property ASAP. When pipes full of water freeze that means they break. For just $185 your property management company will send a plumber out to winterize the property AND have the plumber come back and un-winterize it when it gets warm again.
This seems like an obvious step to take to protect your property but we have investors who want to take a chance and do nothing.. or.. pay to heat the property while it is vacant. Either way can be EXPENSIVE. Having a vacant rental property in the dead of winter is the absolute worst. Its by far the slowest time for leasing AND you have to deal with winterizing.
Two things that I always recommend to avoid a vacancy in the middle of winter are:
A. If your unit hasn't rented heading into mid October then lower your rent by $50 – $100 and do another big marketing push.
B. Offer a 6 month lease. This could open up a possibility for some short term tenants and it would end your lease in the summer 🙂
If you lower the rent AND do a short term lease you can always raise the rent after the 6 months..
*The demand for rentals is much higher during warmer months! Just be sure to let the tenants know that you plan on doing that ahead of time… no one likes surprises when it comes to rent payments!
WARNING – WRAP THOSE PIPES
(This is an excerpt taken from a MSN winterizing article)
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained, says Broili. In climes such as Portland, Ore., or Seattle, where freezing nights aren't commonplace, you can install Styrofoam cups with a screw attachment to help insulate spigots, says Broili.
Next, go looking for other pipes that aren't insulated, or that pass through unheated spaces — pipes that run through crawlspaces, basements or garages. Wrap them with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation, available at hardware stores. If you're really worried about a pipe freezing, you can first wrap it with heating tape, which is basically an electrical cord that emits heat.