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Spring Cleaning 101 for DIY Landlords

June 11, 2015

Now that the worst of winter is over and summer is right around the corner, spring is the perfect time to complete any maintenance or yearly upkeep on your rental property. A well maintained rental property inspires tenants to care for the home as much as you do, not to mention that regularly performed maintenance keeps surprises to a minimum. Many fixes are better completed in the spring so that if large repairs are needed, you have time to budget for them without hurting your bank account. To keep your rental property sparkling all year round, here are some things for DIY landlords to keep in mind.

Where to focus

It’s easy to go overboard on the fixes you’d like to make, so focus on what is the most important and valuable maintenance for your property. Keeping the property safe and secure should always be your primary objective when it comes to deciding what repairs or maintenance to complete first. Complete an inspection of the property, inside and out, to determine what needs to be completed and create a list based on priority.

Groundskeeping and yard maintenance – April showers bring May flowers and downed tree limbs. Trimming back trees and tall shrubbery will not only improve curb appeal, but reduce possible damage during freak thunderstorms in spring and summer. It can also keep pests and rodents out of the home – many people don’t realize that scorpions and rats enter homes from overhanging tree boughs.

Window and door seals – Post winter is a great time to check all the seals on the windows and doors to prevent drafts and leaks. Sealing trouble spots will keep energy costs low as well as prevent mold and mildew. If the home has shutters, check those for any signs of rot or wear and tear from the winter, and replace as needed.

Roof and gutters – A property’s roof doesn’t need to be replaced more than once every 20-30 years, unless there’s been significant damage. Taking the time to inspect the roof and repairing any loose shingles will go a long way to extending the life of the roof and prevent costly leaks. Be sure to clear out the gutters of any debris and replace any cracked or leaking gutters. Keep a lookout for any small holes or places where rodents can creep inside the home. These small creatures can do some serious damage when they chew through wiring and drywall.

HVAC systems – In climates with extreme temperatures, having a working HVAC is a necessity. If tenants clean or replace their air filters regularly, it will keep the unit in good working condition. Make sure it’s running optimally by having it fully serviced every two to three years, and checking it once a year for damage and to clear any debris.

Chimney cleaning – Chimney sweeping companies have long waiting lists in the late summer and early fall, so if the home has a chimney, it’s best to get it cleaned and inspected early. Not only will cleaning remove creosote buildup to prevent chimney fires, but it will also clear out any other fire hazards, like bird or rodent nests. If the chimney was damaged during the winter, you’ll have time to get it fixed; masonry work requires time to cure, and getting it done earlier in the year allows time for the job to be properly done.

Interiors – Tenants should be keeping the interior of the home clean, but it’s a good idea to do a once over to make sure that none of the appliances, floors, walls, or plumbing require repairs.  Document the condition of the home by taking pictures of the inside of the property (as well as out), to protect yourself against damages when the tenant moves out.

Do it yourself or delegate?

A landlord can save money by going the DIY route with spring cleaning and maintenance, but sometimes the better investment is to have someone else take care of it, especially the big things that are beyond your experience and knowledge. If you choose to make repairs yourself, be sure to budget accordingly in case you need to hire contractors to complete the job.

Consider hiring a property management company like Renters Warehouse to handle all the pieces of the process instead. They’ve taken the time to build relationships within the communities they serve and have lists of vetted and trustworthy vendors who will handle the maintenance and cleaning for you. Additionally, a property management firm can arrange regular seasonal inspections so that your property is maintained year round, allowing you to spend more time enjoying life and less time worrying.  Contact us today to find out more!

Photo Credit: Kate Ter Haar | Flickr