It’s easy to let your rental or investment property go without small repairs or preventative maintenance from time to time. As a landlord, you’re a busy person, and if you have other tasks to tend to besides your rental property—which you almost assuredly do—time can easily slip away. You miss one annual checkup, and you think, “I’ll just do it next time.” Before you know it, you’ve added a dozen do-it-laters to your list, and things start to fall by the wayside.
Little things can add up quickly when it comes to preventative maintenance and repairs; putting off small items can cost you ten times more money in the long run if they’re not tended to in a timely manner.
To help you make the most of your investment, we’ve compiled this rental property maintenance checklist, so you don’t miss a thing:
1. Change Your HVAC Filters Quarterly
Your HVAC system accumulates a lot of dust, dirt, dander, and pollen every day. Its filters have a huge job, and if you’re not changing them regularly, your HVAC system will become inefficient, ultimately costing you mostly in energy costs—as well as repair costs to the unit down the road.
By changing your HVAC filters each quarter, you’re enabling your heating and ventilation system to function at the highest level possible, preserving its overall life. Studies have shown that by not changing your filter regularly, your system will last half as long as it would if it were properly maintained.
2. Turn Off Water to Outside Spigots Every Fall
Winter can settle in without much warning. We recommend turning the water off that leads to your outdoor spigots every fall. By doing this, you’ll prevent water from freezing within your pipes, which can lead to burst lines when temperatures fall below 32 degrees for extended periods of time—an expensive endeavor that can eat into your budget from many different aspects.
3. Clean Your Gutters Every Autumn
Your gutters will begin to accumulate dead leaves as soon as summer changes into fall. Gutters that are filled with debris prevent water from draining off the roof properly. This situation often leads to unexpected water damage because the water that’s gathered after precipitation falls needs to escape somewhere. If it’s unable to get down your gutters, it’ll likely seek the path of least resistance, which often forces it to find its way underneath shingles and into any open area available if it’s able to travel down the side of your house. The end result can be very costly water damage.
4. Remove Leaves from Your Yard Each Fall
A lot of homeowners don’t realize the importance of removing leaves from the lawn when the trees start to go bare. In fact, if you’re not diligent about cleaning up dead leaf debris, you might actually find yourself with dead grass, too. A buildup of organic matter on your lawn leads to something called thatch—a thick mat of material that starves your grass’s roots of oxygen and minerals. The end result could be a lawn that never gets a chance to grow when spring arrives.
The cost of redoing your landscaping will be considerably more than the time it takes to rake leaves regularly.
5. Stain Your Deck and Fence Every Now and Then
Your home’s wooden features are exposed to sunlight and weather elements all year long. If you have a deck or fencing, they’re particularly susceptible to premature damage if they’re not kept protected. Staining these items can preserve the life of the wood by three times the lifespan of untreated materials.
Even the best stain fades eventually, which is why it’s important to apply a fresh coat every few years to ensure your investment is protected as best as possible. A quality stain and sealer can help prevent the wood from chipping, peeling, and cracking as it swells and shrinks in hot and cold temperatures. The higher quality stain you choose for this task, the less frequently you’ll need to apply new stain. But, you should still check in with your wood features every so often to ensure they’re not experiencing excessive fading or damage that a new layer of protection wouldn’t fix.
6. Power Wash Your Porch and Siding Every Few Years
Power washing is another part of standard maintenance that doesn’t need to be done every year, but should be done on a regular basis. By performing this duty every few years, you’ll not only keep your porch and siding looking its best (thus, attracting more potential renters when it’s time to advertise your investment again), but it will also remove mold and mildew, which can cause damage beyond the exterior of your home if it continues to grow and find its way to the inside of your walls.
Power washing is also an important part of the process when it’s time to re-stain your fence and deck. It will remove the existing sealant, stain, dirt, and grime, giving you a great foundation for the longest-lasting results.
Beware that power washing isn’t always an activity for amateurs. It’s often best to hire professionals to take care of this job because a misapplication of the water pressure can wind up splintering and damaging your wood. What starts as a simple cleaning task can quickly turn into an expensive project.
Hire a Property Management Company
It’s very easy to overlook these regular maintenance items. At Bay Property Management Group, we’d venture to say 80% of homeowners are negligent in at least two of these categories. We strongly feel the value of your home will be optimized when you follow these six preventative maintenance guidelines.
At Bay Property Management Group, we understand the importance of rental property maintenance; that’s why we employ a team of trusted handymen, contractors, and rental maintenance professionals to ensure our clients’ investment properties are well-cared for all year long. If you’re ready to experience a better way to manage your rental property, we invite you to learn more about Bay Property Management Group’s Baltimore property management services today!