It’s Time for Annual Property Maintenance!
You don’t HAVE to do these things at Christmastime…but it’s a great landmark to work from.
Every property needs regular maintenance, and not all maintenance happens on the same schedule. Some things need to be done monthly, like a basic drive-by-and-look checkup. Some need to be done once a season, or just at the shift from warm to cold weather and back. These things need to be done once a year, which means there’s no better time to do them than as New Year’s approaches. This is annual property maintenance!
Just like the cost of living changes every year, rents can change — and many do. Take this time of year to see how comparable rentals in the neighborhoods of your rentals have changed, and prepare to adjust your rent if you’re getting too far from the average. Most renters will understand if you need to increase their rents a small amount, and it’s far better to adjust a small amount annually (3-5%) than it is to wait 3 years and then hit them with a single large (10%+) increase.
Review Insurance Policies
Similarly, but in the opposite direction: insurance companies change their existing rates and specials constantly. While it’s not a great idea to jump from company to company whenever you find a slightly cheaper rate (insurance companies value loyalty, so sticking with one for a few years is recommended), it’s certainly not a bad idea to spend a few minutes on the phone with your provider and figure out if and how you can get your rates reduced and/or coverage improved. (Yes, this actually counts as property maintenance — it’s not all handywork and repairs!)
Check All the Locks
It’s pretty trivial for a tenant to decide to change the locks and…forget…to tell the property owners/managers (or provide a new key). Since it’s crucial that you be able to access the property in an emergency, this is a good time to bop around to all of your existing properties and check that all of your keys still work in all your locks.
Update Your Tenant’s Information
People’s lives evolve — it’s folly to think that the same emails, emergency contacts, and phone numbers you have on your applications and in your database are still all accurate. Check in on your tenants, wish them Happy Holidays (as appropriate, naturally), and double-check that all of the information you have on file for them is accurate.
Go Down the Maintenance Checklists for Every Home
You know what they are. Tenants will call you if a faucet leaks or the heater breaks down, but they’ll also just disconnect the smoke detector rather than actually replace its batteries. Furnace and A/C filters need to be replaced, water heater elements need to be cleaned, and yes, smoke and CO2 detectors need to be checked and possibly have their batteries replaced. This is the right time to get it done. Oh, and the gutters need a post-autumn cleaning, too!
If you take care of your properties, they’ll take care of you — annual property maintenance is no exception.