Winter is around the corner and it’s time to get your property ready for winter.
Spending a few dollars now could save you thousands later. And it’s equally important to educate your tenant. Their regular upkeep of the property reduces issues down the line, improves their experience, and reduces the number of their calls to you.
One of the most important things you can do is to check your furnace. It’s critical to the safety of the tenants and your property. And of course, a well-maintained furnace is also more efficient and likely to last longer. Remember, the furnace is one of the single most expensive items on your property. Unfortunately, it’s often one of the most neglected. When having your furnace checked or serviced, you should use the opportunity to have the air filters changed as well.
Speaking of safety, heading into the winter is a great time to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working. You should also check the date of manufacture for the devices and replace any detectors that are more than ten years old. This is about the welfare of your tenants and your liability as landlord.
On the outside of your property, look for cracks in the concrete. Now is the time to seal those cracks before water seeps in and freezes making the cracks worse leading to costly concrete replacement.
As the recent Oklahoma ice storm taught us, it’s important to have trees trimmed around the house and powerlines. Our roofing contacts also mentioned the problems they saw because of clogged gutters which lead to ice buildup on the roof. Yes, your tenants should be keeping the gutters clean and draining properly, but you should make sure.
And that brings us to our last point. Ultimately, one of the best things you can do for your property and peace of mind is to educate your tenants. Do they know what their responsibilities are to keep the property working well? Or what to do when cold weather approaches?
Remind your tenants to:
- Maintain a minimum temperature of 55 degrees while away from home. This prevents the pipes from bursting from the cold temperatures, saving you a costly plumbing job and other related damages to your investment property.
- Unhook water hoses and drain the outdoor pipes, including sprinkler and fountain systems, prior to the first freeze. As an added precaution, winterize any exposed pipes on the property’s exterior by covering them with inexpensive foam insulation.
- Inspect the property for cracks, especially around doors and windows.
- Check the roof and chimney for broken or crack shingles, which can come loose during high winds or a storm. Since blocked gutters can cause snow dams and ceiling leaks, be sure all the dirt and debris are cleared from your gutters and downspouts.
- Prepare for snow and ice removal.
- Prevent falling branches by checking the trees in the fall for any weak or loose branches. Trim back limbs that may be hanging over the house or near electrical lines. This ensures that snow accumulation and high winds will not damage your property or worse, hurt your tenant.
- Ensure your chimneys are clean, free of obstruction, and not damaged. Contact your property manager if you see any problems.
- Test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If you replace the batteries as part of the lease agreement, fall is a great time for maintenance.
By taking these steps you will protect your property from the harshness of winter! You can’t afford to neglect your property and tenants as winter approaches. Call us and let the experts at All County® Heartland Property Management give you some of your time back this holiday season. We make owning rental properties easy! (405) 444-8844