It’s finally summertime. Time to relax with the family and enjoy those long sun-filled days with good friends and a little BBQ. However if you own an investment property, summer is also when you need to get some pretty important maintenance items checked off your to-do list. And of course, the more rain we’ve had through the winter, the more important it will be to get to these items sooner as opposed to later.
If you’re working with a property management company, this may be a good time to check in and just take stock of the plan you’ve put in place to make sure all the items are being covered off. Or if you don’t relish the thought of property maintenance, this could be a great time to have a chat about what options are available to free up some of your time.
Let’s have a look at some of the summer maintenance items you should be checking off your list, both inside and outside the property:
The Indoor List:
Getting the HVAC in order:
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The beginning of summer is a great time to have the property’s systems inspected. Coming out of winter you may want to have the ducts cleaned out, replace the furnace filter, and have the air conditioning looked at. Early summer is that important juncture where all this maintenance can be done with little inconvenience to the tenant. The last thing you want is for the air conditioning to give out midway through one of our impromptu heat waves leaving you with an overheated tenant and a demand for a service call that is outstripping the supply. You should also do a quick check of your existing HVAC service plan (provided you have one). It’s important to know what the company has agreed to cover and how quickly they guarantee service.
Closing the gaps:
Gaps are unavoidable, especially when we’ve had an unusually cold or wet winter. The weather stripping around the doors and windows start to lose the ability to keep the outside out and the inside in. All of which means you are going to be constantly losing cold or hot air out the gaps. And, depending on how big the gaps are, you could actually be putting all sorts of undue strain on your HVAC system, not to mention the increase to your tenant’s utility bills.
The other gap related issue to be aware of is with regard to pest control. You’re never going to make your property into an impenetrable fortress, but filling obvious holes with expandable foam and replacing any torn screens quickly can help you head the little critters off at the pass.
Especially after a particularly wet winter, you may want to invest in having any of the interior carpets professionally cleaned. Even if you have tenants who do regular cleaning, having a thorough, professional, clean done at the beginning of summer can be a big bonus. First and foremost it will help prolong the life of the carpeting, meaning you can leave it in place longer. In addition to that, it demonstrates to your tenants your commitment to your property and making sure they have a good place to call home. Not to mention it reducing any potential for allergy issues for your tenants. And lastly, a good professional steam clean can help evict any of the aforementioned little critters who may have gotten in before you sealed the gaps.
Testing the smoke detectors and CO2 alarms:
You are going to want to inspect both of these devices several times a year. So when you set up an appointment to come out for the other items on the list, make sure to do a quick battery swap on both to help ensure your tenant’s safety.
The Outdoor List
Summertime is often filled with long nights on the patio with friends. Make sure that when the good times wrap up, your tenants have a well-lit path back inside. A quick check of the exterior light bulbs and some consideration to any dark areas can go a long way to making your tenants feel safe at home. One option you may want to consider is switching to solar powered lighting. They’re an energy efficient option that usually require very little maintenance.
Winter can wreak havoc on the gardens, especially if we get a lot of rain. Early summer is the perfect time to give the trees and hedges a little trim, reinforce any retaining walls, and turn the soil over to ensure your property looks its best. A great tip for summertime gardening is to add two to three inches of mulch to the garden bed. This will help your gardens retain water during hot summer days and help conserve on overall water usage. You also want to make sure that you weed the paths and walkways where little plants will have popped up throughout the spring to prevent the home look unkempt.
This is going to be an ongoing item for many investment properties. If you plan on doing the work yourself, be sure to set up a calendar reminder for every couple weeks so it doesn’t end up looking like the prairies. If you don’t think it’s something you want to manage, consider hiring a lawn care service. However, even if you choose to contract this one out, do make sure that you’re driving past now and again to ensure the work is being done.
Washing and repairing the deck or patio area:
Similarly to having the carpets cleaned, power washing the deck and replacing any loose deck board can help you increase the life of the deck. It’s much easier to swap out the odd board now or add a fresh coat of sealer than to have the entire deck become unsalvageable. As we get into summer, you can be sure that your tenants are going to log a lot of hours on the deck or patio, so getting these into shape early will reduce the interruption to the tenant’s outdoor plans and keep them enjoying where they live. A quick tip to help keep these outdoor spaces clean is to install a fixed trash can on the deck or patio.
Window and gutter cleaning:
The most important of these being the gutters. You want to make sure that they are properly cleaned out. After a winter of rain and debris flowing through them, there is likely to be some sort of obstruction. Having a log jam in the gutters can lead to all sorts of extra work and expense, not the least of which is causing water damage to the roof. A helpful gutter tip is to have foam filters installed in the gutters. They allow for water to pass through and into the drain while forcing the debris to flow over.
And of course, summertime is a great time to have the windows cleaned. After the short, gray, rainy, days of a Vancouver winter, your tenants will appreciate letting the sun really shine in. Not to mention it makes your property look great!
While most of these items are going to be important to get out of the way before summer really gets rolling, there are a few that you could spread out over the course of a couple months. Just be sure to create a schedule and run through the timeline with your tenant to make sure it works for them as well. A tenant that feels part of the process is much more likely to feel at home and stay put, which helps prevents you from adding “find new tenant” to this already considerable checklist.
Don’t have time or just don’t feel like doing your own property management?
We are here to help. Bolld Real Estate Management offers efficient and affordable property management services. Click here for an instant quote: https://bolldpm.com/rental-evaluation/ or call 604-671-0293