Smart investors know that understanding risks is the key to maximizing any investment. When it comes to investment properties, the weather is one of the most volatile risk factors. It has the potential to inflict severe damage to your portfolio, particularly as seasons change. Since fall is just around the corner, this is the perfect time to carry out a property inspection.
Before you begin a fall-specific check, you should make a general walkthrough of the premises with the tenants. Regular (at least quarterly) visits of this nature build trust and give them the opportunity to share concerns they might have. It is the ideal way to identify infrastructure issues before they become significant – and expensive – problems. Here are some areas of focus:
- Doors and Windows. The most common problems you are likely to find are issues with window and door seals. Wear and tear leads to gaps that grow larger with time. As the mercury falls, drafts will lead to higher heating expenses and an overburdened heating system, both of which could have been avoided. Fortunately, rubber seals and caulking are inexpensive but very effective. You might also consider attachments that can be fitted to the bottom of doors to impede the flow of air.
- The HVAC will start to see regular use in the coming months. Changing the filter takes five minutes and only has to be done once a year – and now is the perfect time! This is a simple task which you can perform yourself. Alternatively, you can have a professional perform a complete tune-up every other year.
- Smoke Alarms. You are legally obliged to install functioning smoke alarms within the premises. Ensure that they are working and replace the batteries if needed. Many renters use portable heaters and smokers tend to light up indoors when the cold sets in. Both are potential fire hazards and we cannot stress the importance of smoke detectors enough.
- As one of the least accessed areas of a house, the attic frequently falls victim to damage from pests and wildlife. Not only do holes in the insulation affect the temperature inside, they allow moisture to enter and cause extensive and expensive damage.
- Trees are a twofold hazard. Firstly, branches can fall and the tree itself can be toppled during a storm, resulting in severe property damage. Secondly, leaves can clog up gutters; this allows ice dams to form and cause major cracks as temperatures fall. Trim the branches of trees that may pose a threat and ensure that the rain gutters are free of leaves and other debris.
- The cooler weather brings with it rising winds. The cladding and roof of your investment home will bear the brunt of the assault. Minor damage can quickly turn into the center of a gaping hole. Employ a professional to perform a thorough inspection of these potential problem areas.
This is a very basic checklist of pre-fall inspection essentials. If you have been conducting regular maintenance reviews of your property, it is unlikely that you will find any major problems. If you have not, there is still enough time to do a thorough inspection and ensure the cold weather does not eat into your investment. If home maintenance on an investment property feels daunting to you, consider contacting us to professionally manage your property. We are here to help make your investment a painless experience for you.