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Fall Maintenance: Leaves

Along with the beauty inherent in fall leaves there is also a measure of work to counteract the mess and potential for destruction.

Trees and Shrubs

Now is an excellent time to trim any branches or vegetation that touches the exterior of the building, as they can lead to damage over time. Protect your investment and ensure that all foliage is maintained before the wet season gets in way.

Leaves and Your Gutters

Your gutters protect your property by redirecting rain away from your roof and siding. However, as most of us know, gutters can become clogged, causing water to back up and spill over the edge and exposing your roof and siding to potential water damage and mold. Fall leaves are usually the biggest contributor to rain gutter blockage.

For most property owners, clearing out the gutters twice a year is necessary to keep gutters free flowing year round. However, it’s important to consider the foliage surrounding your home. If you have large deciduous trees overhanging or near your roof, you should consider cleaning your gutters more frequently. Keep an eye out for water spilling over the edges of your gutters for a sign that a gutter cleaning is overdue.

Lawn Leaf Removal

While raking and disposing of leaves is still a good option to keep a healthy lawn, there are several other options to consider that can be less work and provide added nutrients for your lawn and landscaping. Consider these options:

  • Composting – Leaves make a great additive to your compost pile to create a nitrogen-rich additive great for use in gardens
  • Mulching – Whether you have a leaf shredder, use a mulching lawn mower, or simply run over your leaves with a traditional lawn mower, a thin layer of leaf mulch on the lawn, or surrounding your plantings in the garden or around trees and flower beds can insulate the ground from heat and cold and add back nutrients to make lawn plants and trees thrive.

If you’re short on time and looking for help with your rentals, consider outsourcing the job to Conover Property Management. Our property managers can oversee maintenance, fall prep, and even emergencies for you to make your life easier and save you time and headaches. The variety of services we offer can allow you to have a complete hands-off approach if desired, or choose from our a la carte services. We can do as little or as much as needed, from fielding late night calls from tenants regarding maintenance issues to making sure your contractor stays on budget and on time.

Easy Steps to Keep Your Rental Property’s Furnace Working This Winter

An HVAC system (heating, ventilation, & air conditioning) is an important topic for you as a rental property investor whether you own a single family home, a multifamily, or an apartment complex with many units.

Repair and replacement of HVAC systems are one of your biggest ongoing costs and could affect your rental cash flow. And to keep quality, long-term tenants you will need a system that works efficiently and cost-effectively.

If you’d like to pay a little bit now to save a lot later, you will want to implement a regular HVAC maintenance schedule for your rental units. Conventional wisdom says fall is the time to make sure your heating system is ready for winter.

If you have the skills, you can do much of this yourself. Of course, you could also hire an HVAC professional to handle them on a regular basis.

Conduct Your Own Preliminary Test

By checking on your furnace every couple of months, you will help guard against surprise expenses. Here are some things you should look for:

  • Is the venting pipe fastened and angled?
  • Are the drainage tubes secured?
  • Does the furnace look like it can work for another year?
  • Have you noticed any leaks anywhere on the furnace?

And then there’s a smell test, which you’ll notice right away. If you smell rotten eggs, then there’s a leak.

Replace Air Filters

First, make sure all of your air filters are the correct size and then replace them regularly as necessary. Clean and check the filters until their lifespan has come to an end. Keep a supply of air filters on hand for quick replacement. Generally, they’re not costly.

Get Regular Tune Ups

To ensure you have superb efficiency during the winter months, it would be a prudent step to have furnace tuned up by a professional annually.

If you’re short on time and looking for help with your rentals, consider outsourcing the job to Conover Property Management. Our property managers can oversee maintenance, winterization, and even mid-winter emergencies for you to make your life easier and save you time and headaches. The variety of services we offer can allow you to have a complete hands-off approach if desired, or choose from our a la carte services. We can do as little or as much as needed, from fielding late night calls from tenants regarding maintenance issues to making sure your contractor stays on budget and on time.

Preparing Your Tenants For Winter

Hearing the August cicadas lets us know that summer is coming to an end and winter is around the corner. To give you plenty of time to get your property prepared to dodge any mid-winter catastrophes, here’s a look at some things that you and your tenants can do.

Prepare Your Tenants

Don’t assume that a tenant knows what they’re supposed to do during the winter. They may be new to the area and unfamiliar with a colder climate, or first-time renters and unaware of all of the work that’s involved with keeping a property sound. Or they may simply assume that as the landlord, you will handle everything. Inform your tenants of their responsibilities, and make sure they know that they should contact you at the first sign of any winter problems such as leaks, water damage, pest infestations, or issues with faucets or pipes.

In addition to early preventative maintenance, there are also some proactive steps that tenants can take during the winter months, to help prevent problems from occurring:

  • Before the cold weather hits, turn the furnace on and try running it on high for a few hours, to make sure it’s working. Better to learn early that there’s a problem rather than mid-winter when it’s harder to find a technician.
  • Don’t turn the heat off! You may be tempted to switch the heat off mid-winter if you’re leaving town, but it’s important to leave the heat on low continually throughout the winter to prevent the pipes from freezing.
  • Make sure you know where the water shut off valve is located. In case of emergency, turning this off will help to prevent a flood (and costly water damage).
  • Likewise, consider turning the water off before leaving on a trip to ensure against pipe bursts while you’re away.
  • While the home is empty or during very cold spells, leave the attic open a crack to allow slightly warm air to circulate around the pipes.
  • During very cold spells, leave two taps running very slowly. The continual flow of water will help to prevent pipes from freezing completely.
  • Be alert for signs of rodent or pest infestations. Winter is a prime time for these unwanted guests to make themselves at home. Set traps and inform the landlord at the first sign of a pest infestation.

If you’re short on time and looking for help with your rentals, consider outsourcing the job to Conover Property Management. Our property managers can oversee maintenance, winterization, and even mid-winter emergencies for you to make your life easier and save you time and headaches. The variety of services we offer can allow you to have a complete hands-off approach if desired, or choose from our a la carte services. We can do as little or as much as needed, from fielding late night calls from tenants regarding maintenance issues to making sure your contractor stays on budget and on time.

Is a Home Warranty on Rental Property Worth It?

Should landlords buy a home warranty for rental property? Learn the benefits of having protection for home systems and appliances for your rentals.

As a landlord, you have an interest in investments and making money. But have you thought about capitalizing on something just as important: helping to protect your budget when it comes to those investments? A home warranty for rental property can do just that.

Whether you’re buying, selling, or renting property, a home warranty can give you peace of mind. Also known as a home service contract, the home warranty typically covers mechanical systems and built-in appliances in the home.

This is different from homeowner’s insurance, which covers damage from external forces. Home warranties are designed to fill the gap between the original manufacturer’s warranty and normal wear and tear.

Here’s how it works. If your AC goes out or your dishwasher breaks, you contact the home service company and describe the problem. The dispatcher will send the appropriate licensed plumber, electrician, or appliance repair specialist to service the call. Expect to pay a service fee of about $50 or higher for each visit.

Remember that home warranties don’t provide blanket service. They don’t cover repairs or replacement for pre-existing conditions or for elderly mechanicals that are beyond their useful lifespan. But they are good for emergencies. Sure, you’ll have to pay the annual contract fee along with service call fee(s), but that can be a drop in the bucket when it comes to paying for repairs or all-new items that might have been covered by the warranty, right? Another bonus? Since you’re a landlord, the cost of the home warranty on the rental property may be tax deductible — the annual premium and service fees may be considered operating expenses that can be claimed (of course, you must verify any tax benefits with your tax professional).

When you think about the wide range of systems and appliances that it takes to operate your home, a home service contract is a bargain at approximately $400 to $500 and could pay for itself with one use.

Whether your property is income-producing or your family home, Conover Property Management can help make your life easier and save you time and headaches. The variety of services we offer can allow you to have a complete hands-off approach if desired, or choose from our a la carte services. We can do as little or as much as needed, from fielding late night calls from tenants regarding maintenance issues to making sure your contractor stays on budget and on time.