Autumn tends to be a slow time for property owners; people prefer to move in the late spring and summer, whether to avoid uprooting kids during the school year, to avoid extra holiday season chaos, or because college graduates are moving on and setting up in new locales. Everyone has their reasons, but spring and summer are prime moving time. So, where does that leave you as a property owner?
Following the peak moving season, one of the best things you can do as a landlord is take care of annual maintenance and tackle major renovations and upgrades – especially in any unoccupied properties. And with cooler weather arriving, it’s an especially pleasant time to take up your hammer (or call the contractor). These 8 home improvement projects are especially well-suited to the season.
Cleaning Out the Gutters
The leaves may not have started falling off the trees yet, but that doesn’t mean your properties’ gutters are totally tidy. Rather, there’s a good chance they’re filled with junk from the past few months, including leaves, acorns, sticks, and dirt. It’s time to get out the ladder and clean those out.
You should also consider installing gutter guards while you’re up there cleaning. These will keep major debris out of your gutters and keep water flowing smoothly through them. They will also save you time in subsequent years, and can prevent your home from sustaining water damage due to clogged gutters.
If any of your properties have fireplaces, you’ll want to make sure they’re properly cleaned out before winter hits and residents start to stoke the flames. Birds often take up residence in the flue if the chimney is uncapped, so check for nests and other obstructions, and test out the damper which controls air flow. The damper occasionally gets stuck when not in use and no one wants to find this out when they’ve already started a fire.
One note – even if you’re comfortable checking the chimney yourself, call on a professional cleaner if it’s looking a bit clogged. Properly cleaning the inside of soot isn’t a job for amateurs.
Warm Up With Windows
Though it can be a touch disruptive, if your properties have older windows, fall is the perfect time to replace them. That’s because older single-paned windows can easily get drafty and make the house cold, driving up winter heating bills. Consider investing in double paned windows or those with alternative fills instead. Doing this yields a more energy efficient home.
If new windows aren’t in the budget this year, or the problem doesn’t seem to be with the windows themselves, you might also need to check the weather stripping. Insufficient or old weather stripping can prevent your windows from closing snuggly, but you can easily add another layer and see if that keeps the chill out.
A Fresh Look
Peeling paint can be a sign that your property needs new siding, but it may also simply mean that the home is aging and is otherwise fine. Either way, if you think it’s time to paint your property, fall is the time to do it. You want to wait for a stretch of low humidity weather and clear skies for the best results. Otherwise, you may end up with a spotty paint job that refuses to dry.
Some Light Landscaping
Fall is a great time to make some landscaping adjustments in advance of cooler weather. Change our annuals to something seasonal, plant perennials for next spring, and give the hedges a trim. These may be small things, but since the weather remains fairly temperate around Houston all year, you and your tenants will get to enjoy the fruits of your labor for several months.
Improving the insulation in your properties is definitely a job best left for when the home in uninhabited – it requires a lot of deconstruction and old insulation can be hazardous to your tenants’ health if it’s made of materials like fiberglass. That’s why this fall you should perform an insulation overhaul in any unoccupied properties, and check the state of the attic insulation. Attics tend to be poorly insulated, especially if they’re unfinished and used exclusively for storage. So you may need to replace what’s there and you should consider putting up sheetrock for an extra layer of protection.
Vet the Vents
While you’re up in the attic, take a look at any open vents up there. Cooler weather drives rodents inside, and mice and rats love vents. Set up traps and call an exterminator if you see any, but if it looks all clear, simply screen those vents to prevent intruders. No one wants mice running around in their attic.
Don’t forget to check the kitchen as well, while you’re on the hunt. This is the other main place you’ll find mice – although when there are mice in the kitchen, your residents are likely to have complained well before you get a chance to go looking for them.
Fire Up The Furnace
Since you’re already in maintenance mode, ask your tenants if they’ll turn on the heat for a short while just to make sure it’s working. It’s far preferable to address furnace problems in advance of truly cold weather than to wait until it’s an urgent problem, when repair services are often backlogged. In some cases, you may just need to relight the pilot, but in other homes, bigger problems may have developed during the summer months.
Get More than Maintenance with Green Residential
At Green Residential, we have more than 30 years of Houston area property management experience, and today we continue to lead the field by offering comprehensive management services to our clients. Whether you need help screening tenants and collecting rent, or you’d prefer to hand off your investments to an experienced manager, we can help – it all starts with a call.
Contact Green Residential today to learn more about our many services, and start the new season off on the right foot. Our representatives are happy to provide a complete evaluation of your needs and will match you with the appropriate package of services. Because property management isn’t about buildings; at Green Residential, we know it’s the people who make the difference.