Winter is coming, and although you may not be Jon Snow, it is essential that you winterize your rentals during the colder months to maintain their longevity.
To give you a good idea of where to start, we have compiled a list of the 8 best ways to take care of your properties and ultimately save you money and stress during the winter!
Do a general walkthrough of all of your properties
Your first step will be to check all of your properties. Although it’s important to check on your properties multiple times throughout the year, it’s especially important this time of year.
It’s also a great idea to check up on your vacant properties to ensure everything is running smoothly as well. Make sure to completely turn off the water in these properties, and drain all pipes and toilets if possible. This will keep your winter months stress-free!
Also, if you have a rental office or any sort of community center, you will want to make sure to take winterization steps for these properties as well. This is often forgotten by landlords and property managers.
Instruct your tenants on how to prepare for colder months
Your tenants are going to be at your properties more than you are so they will ultimately be the ones who will be able to take the best care of your property.
Send them an email notification or drop something off at the property that states the following:
- Keep faucets dripping warm water if your pipes are in danger of freezing over on a particularly chilly night.
- Remind them to maintain a minimum temperature of 55 degrees if they are planning on traveling during the holidays. This will prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting.
This is a great way to remind and teach tenants of good ways to keep their costs down. It is also a great way to add value to your relationship by providing them with helpful advice that can save them money.
Inspect Your Heating and Air Systems
Inspecting the heating and air-conditioning systems in your units is important to make sure they are running efficiently. It’s important to change the filter for them every 30-60 days. Make to arrange for this ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about it during the winter. This will help reduce the utility bill for your tenants and of course, extend the life of your heating/air system.
Another option is to get a programmable thermostat, as these can be effective in allowing for your rentals to stay at a certain temperature.
Check Your Pipes
Pipes bursting in your rental is one of the most damaging and costly mistakes that can happen. Pipes can easily freeze over so it is important to take necessary precautions to avoid this.
To winterize your rental and reduce this risk you will want to completely drain outdoor pipes and sprinkler/fountain systems to ensure they are taken care of.
In addition, make sure to wrap any un-insulated pipes and remove garden hoses from their main spigot.
Look for cracks in the windows, doors, or roof!
When doing a walkthrough of your property make sure to inspect all of your doors and windows for cracks. This is beneficial to prevent leaks and any drafts from entering which would likely cause utility bills to spike.
If you do run into any cracks or other issues, it is recommended that you caulk the area between the window and the frame as to block any air or water from coming in.
If you are concerned with drafts slipping in under doors, there are many tools you can purchase that can help keep your property protected as well.
It’s also important to check the roof for broken or cracked shingles that can come loose during a storm and fix or replace those as necessary.
Prepare for Snow and Ice Removal (if needed)
If you live in an area where you fear snow and ice may be a problem, then it is important to take precautions for that as well. Make sure to have shovels and any other tools on hand for your tenants to use during the winter.
It’s also a good idea to sprinkle salt on walkways or in any other common outdoor areas so your tenants do not slip and fall. It’s better to have things on hand sooner rather than later, don’t wait until bad weather comes to start.
It is also extremely important to check for any weak tree branches that can fall due to snow accumulation and cause property damage, or worse, injure your tenants.
Clean Your Gutters
Cleaning your gutters may be a hassle but it is one of the most important things you can do to winterize your rental. By cleaning your gutters, you are ensuring that rain and snow don’t cause clogs that can lead to roof or water damage to your property.
There are a lot of tools that you can use to make cleaning gutters easier and it’s worth it if you want to be able to protect your properties from serious damage.
Get a Home Energy Audit
Home energy audits are a great way to prepare for colder months. They can sometimes be free and additionally, save you money down the road, as you can write off certain improvements you made to your property that helped save energy. It could also potentially uncover hidden issues that are costing you thousands of dollars.
Most importantly, tenants are more attracted to homes with energy-efficient features that can save them money on their utility bills and are kinder to the environment.
Although these fixes can take extra time and sometimes a little extra money, it is better to put in the time now to avoid costly mistakes in the future. Plus, it will ensure that you and your tenant’s winters are stress-free which means you can spend more time inside!