Owning real estate as an investment is a fantastic way to maintain and build wealth. The successful real estate investor knows how to look ahead to and profit from changes coming in the market. They also understand the value of preventative maintenance on investment homes. This includes the time-honored seasonal maintenance that comes up every year.
“Seasonal”, is relative, of course. A rental nestled on the shores of a private lake in the woods of northern Wisconsin has a very different season than a condo on the beach in Fort Myers, Florida. While snowmobiles extend the season at the first location and sun seekers extend it at the latter, generally speaking the season for one is closing when the other is starting.
Real Estate Maintenance “Must-Dos” For Fall
However, checkups on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in the fall are a universal fall maintenance item. Heating systems in colder climates have been sitting idle for several months and will soon be put into service. Air conditioning systems in the southern states may have been set to warmer temperatures if the property does not rent out in the summer months and may need some attention before being pressed into full duty.
Fall is also an ideal time to check on the exterior of an investment home regardless of the location. Caulking windows and doors is important and a cost-saving step if the house is being heated or cooled. Insects are also more active in the summer months across the US, and checking for infestations, nests and other damage is a great idea in the fall when they have begun to settle down.
Taking care of trees, leaves and plants is another universal seasonal item. Leaves that clog gutters and downspouts cause rain and melting snow to back up instead of draining properly. This can promote rot and result in expensive damage to the soffit and facia on an investment property. Trees damaged by seasonal storms in Florida can continue to weaken if not repaired. These simple maintenance items are great examples of how diligence in small things can pay off in large ways when it comes to real estate investing.
Climate Specific Maintenance For Real Estate Investments
Investment homes in northern climates need some specific care in the fall to prepare for the coming cold. Gardens, which are so important for curb appeal and market value, need to be cleared of dead plants and covered with protective mulch. Lawns need fall feeding and seeding to prepare them for spring growth. Of course, any outdoor water, such as fountains or birdbaths, need to be drained to prevent damage from freezing.
The property investor in southern climates will take steps to prepare their investment homes for the coming rental season. Fresh paint and minor repairs will keep seasonal renters happy and coming back in future years. In addition to the tree damage that has already been mentioned, some properties may require additional work due to the severe storms that buffeted the Gulf Coast states this hurricane season. Of course, putting up welcoming touches like holiday wreaths makes for a cozy “Hello!”
The severe storms of this hurricane season also make an important point about seasonal repairs. There are always some maintenance items that need to be addressed, but in years with a short list the savvy real estate investor will not count the lower expense as profit. Instead, they understand that there will also be years when the list will be longer. Creating a reserve to fund those future costs is a prudent way of avoiding cash flow issues in years when there is an abundance of seasonal maintenance on investment properties.