As landlords, there are some essential tasks that we have to get done every year. Most are repair and maintenance related, but not all of them.
I like keeping my annual to-do list handy, so when opportunity knocks (for example, when a tenant moves out and before the new tenant moves in), I can conveniently check chores off my list.
Let’s dive right in…
- Renew your leases. Consider offering your tenant a lease renewal 90 days before the lease expires. Here’s a handy tip – if you start the rental period during the winter, initially use a six or nine-month lease. Why? If your renewal dates fall in the summer, they are easier to fill. Once you’ve got the lease dialed into a summer month, switch to an annual term.
- Check your rental rates. Before you renew a lease or put a new property on the market, be sure that the rent is in line with similar properties in your area. Renting your property for less than market value is like throwing money away.
- Do the required major interior safety inspections on your properties. Here’s your interior inspection checklist –
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors need to be checked and the batteries replaced.
- Visually inspect the water heater for any leaks. If you see a small problem (a minor leak), replace or repair your water heater.
- Either change the HVAC filters or be sure that your tenant has done so. Be sure the HVAC system is still working correctly.
- Inspect the bathrooms (toilet, shower, tubs) for damage and possible leaks.
- Make sure that electrical systems are working properly.
- Verify that the appliances are still up to speed.
- Check the walls for damages beyond normal wear and tear.
- Do the required major exterior safety inspections on your properties. Your tenant is likely responsible for basic yard maintenance, like mowing lawns and raking leaves. Regardless, as the property owner, you need to be sure that larger concerns are handled.
- Are any trees in need of pruning?
- Clean all your rain gutters at least once a year (twice a year is better).
- Repair any crumbling concrete on your driveway or sidewalks.
- Do a quick visual inspection of your foundation to determine if you’ve had any significant settling or other issues.
- Visually inspect your roof. Any storm damage? Is the roof nearing the end of its natural life?
- Check for evidence of rodent or insect infestations.
- Make sure that your keys work. Tenants change the locks for many reasons. As the landlord, you must have the keys required to access your property. Once a year (at least), check and see (legally, of course) that your key still opens the front door. While ensuring that your keys work, double-check with your tenant that you have their correct emergency contact information. Verify this information, just to be thorough (call the phone number, send them an email, etc.).
- Do an insurance checkup. Insurance companies often entice landlords with inexpensive introductory rates only to jack those rates up on renewal dates (or sooner). While switching insurance companies is a major pain, check around to be sure that you’re getting a good deal at least once a year.
- Thank your tenants. Without good tenants, you don’t have a real estate rental business. At least once a year, do something special for them – you could send them a small gift and a card, or give them a 15% rent discount for one month or just call and let them know how much you appreciate their business.
Some people can juggle a full-time career and their real estate investment responsibilities successfully. Others have found, sometimes the hard way, that managing their rental properties and pursuing a full-time professional career just doesn’t work well for them.
Hiring a property manager does not mean that you completely step away from the rental real estate process. It does mean that you do not have to be intimately involved in the day-to-day hassles you would rather avoid, like dealing with property maintenance, collecting rents, tenant complaints, finding new tenants, etc.
If you want to explore the option of hiring a property manager, please reach out. If you have a property management company in place, but they are not giving you the top-tier service you deserve, give us a call.
At Sterling Property Solutions, we have a team in place that can answer all your questions and address any challenges. We are not a “cookie-cutter” property management company. Our strength is tailoring a property management program that addresses your individual needs.
Please give me a ring at 914-355-3277 or send me an email at Linda@Sterlingpsi.com. Together, let’s form a plan for you to take full advantage of the current conditions and put in place a robust, long-term program for your success.