This time of year can be fun and exciting; it can also be hectic and stressful.  In an effort to make the summer more exciting and take more off of your plate, here are some time and money-saving tips to do this summer. 

Dealing with the Heat

With soaring temperatures, many landlords are dealing not only with keeping air conditioning in the unit running, but also stopping pests and heat from entering in.  Landlords need to understand how to properly cool as well as seal the entrances to the property.

First thing you should do is change the air filters often and when needed.  It’s important to have clear communication about this with your tenants, as well as show them how to change filters so they can do it themselves.

When conducting inspections, check the ducts and provide service to them as necessary.  Some landlords and tenants prefer to have the AC or cooling unit off while not at home or on vacation, but this ends up costing both parties more money.  If the property is maintained at a constant temperature, it can end up creating a happy tenant and save you a little money.

Also on the inspection, (we recommend doing quarterly or seasonal inspections, about four times a year), make sure to check the doors and windows.  Ensure that there are no gaps where pest and drafts could enter.  If you need to secure an exterior gap, door or window, you can use caulk, weather stripping and padding.

Exterior Maintenance

One of the best opportunities summer provides is the ability to work on things that are inaccessible during other seasons.  During this optimal time of the year, landlords need to ask themselves two questions – what needs to be fixed and what do I want to upgrade?  Things that immediately need to be fixed are roof leaks, rain gutter build up, unsafe structures and fixes that would be required to sell the property.  Once you identify these things, the only step left is to ask yourself how you want to fix it.  Do it yourself?  Hire someone?

Upgrades

When looking at upgrades, it’s important for a landlord to understand that this is an upgrade to YOUR property; it will keep the tenant happy and you are increasing the value of your investment.  Often, landlords will overlook upgrades for whatever reason and pass up the potential to make more money.  In the summer, look into re-doing the stucco or buying some new blinds.  Your tenants will stay longer and it will make it easy to rent in the future.

Create a list of property tasks that could be done.  Organize them by importance and figure out which ones are necessary and finally how many of those things you can afford.  Landlords who do this and take advantage of these opportunities not only have a better looking property, but a better bottom line as well.

Landscaping

The yard and garden is often regarded as real estate’s biggest selling point.  When evaluating whether or not to rent a house, studies show that renters will look first to the landscape/exterior of the house, then to the kitchen and then to the bathrooms.  And like too many landlords know, once a lawn or garden dies, it can take years to get it back to what it was.  For effectively maintaining your landscape, use the following tips:

  • Establish and communicate clear rules on who is responsible for what
  • Hold individuals strictly accountable for their landscape responsibilities
  • Make sure general maintenance (lawn cut, weeds pulled, etc.) is done once a week
  • Clearly define when the lawn is supposed to be watered
  • Water the lawn at night to avoid losing water to evaporation
  • Fertilize the lawn regularly
  • Trim and keep up with trees, bushes and flowers
  • Plant flowers and other plants and allow your tenants to do the same
  • Spray weed killer on weeds in the garden, cement and the road
  • Ensure walkways and driveways are clear of garbage, dirt and hazards
  • Don’t be afraid to hire a lawn care professional if you need one

The most important thing a landlord can do is have regular inspections.  By doing this you can stay informed about the property’s condition and know what exactly needs to be done.

 

Reprinted in part with permission of the Utah Apartment Association.