When it comes to owning a rental property, your location plays a huge part in how you need to care for the home. Property maintenance in the spring and summer can be a walk in the park. However, in places like Northern Virginia, preparing for a harsh, cold winter can be a totally different story. Thinking ahead and being proactive in making sure your property is ready for winter can really help in saving a lot of money.
Whether you’re new to the game of property management or a seasoned veteran, it’s always important to do your research and continue to learn best practices on how to set yourself up well.
Why is all of this necessary? A few reasons.
For one, it’s important to take care of your tenants. Keeping the home warm during the winter (even if you’re not paying the monthly bills) can be more expensive than you want, but it’s going to set you up for long-term success when it comes to keeping renters in the house. Providing great service is huge.
Second, taking good care of the home each year in the short-term will end up saving you financially in the long-term. It will probably save you a few headaches as well. Preventing yourself from unnecessary damages and costs by being proactive will help your bottom line no matter how you swing it.
So, as a landlord, you should be concerned with protecting both your assets and your renters. Start taking steps, big or small, now to ensure you have a warm, cozy winter.
Here’s our 5-step guide on winterizing your property in 2021.
1. Inspect, Repair, Replace Windows
Whether you live in a location that experiences brutal heat or extremely cold winters, windows are crucial. Updating or repairing old windows isn’t the most exciting expense, but doing it proactively can actually set your home up for great success in the long run.
Check for leaks, cracks, energy inefficiencies, and anything else that might suggest windows are closing securely. It might even be a good idea to have a professional come out and give you a rundown.
2. Do a full check on HVAC
In the midst of a cold winter full of snow and below-freezing temperatures, keeping warm seems to be at the top of anyone’s priority list. Rightly so. When preparing for winter, it’s always important to ensure that your heating system is working well (and efficiently) when you’re set to brave the cold.
As a rental property owner, you never want to get the call when it’s too late - especially when it’s freezing cold and your heater goes out. That situation leaves you with a huge repair to make (an expense you probably didn’t account for) and renters that are left without properly heated living conditions.
Save yourself some time and money and do a proper, high-quality check on your heating and HVAC system before winter hits!
3. Give your roof a check up
Another one of those duties that isn’t the most exciting thing to do, but can make a huge difference in making sure your rental property is well taken care of. The cold, wet weather during fall and winter can wreak havoc on your roof and lead to much bigger problems.
Have someone check to make sure the shingles are in good shape and that there are no cracks or spaces where water could leak in and cause deterioration of wood, drywall, and insulation.
Get on top of this before any major problems arise - you’ll be glad you did!
4. Do a run-down on detectors
This one is really important. Not just because all states require property owners to install working smoke alarms, but also because homes become much more susceptible to fires and carbon monoxide when we turn up the heat to keep warm.
Make sure batteries have been replaced and that all detectors are in proper working conditions. Clarify what is the responsibility of the renter and what is up to the property manager when it comes to keeping detectors charged and replacing batteries.
5. Outdoor Landscaping/Furniture
Finally, don’t forget about everything outside. When it comes to cold winters, most people tend to focus on the inside of the home and what you can do to keep renters warm and comfortable throughout the season. However, making sure the exterior and outdoor areas are prepared for the cold is just as important.
Move outdoor furniture into storage, make sure your pool cover is in good shape and ready to withstand the harsh conditions of winter, and prepare your yard and any walkways for a long season of cold weather.
BONUS: Inspect the Chimney!
Who doesn’t love a warm, cozy fire when the snow is falling and the weather is cold? Do your renters a favor by making sure that your chimney is in good shape and ready for a number of fires in the fireplace this winter.
We can help!
Having a property management company on your side to help take care of the home, think proactively, and ensure that you’re setting yourself up for success can be a huge advantage when it comes to breaking a profit on your rental property. We work hard to help rental owners build a profit on their properties and give renters the best experience possible.
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