December 27, 2018

As a property owner, you know that every new year brings new challenges. Some of them are unexpected: emergency breakdowns, late rental payments, or increasing property taxes. However, there are some things you can plan ahead for in the new year. In this article, we will review three ways you can plan ahead and set 2020 up to be a great year for your rental property.

Schedule an HVAC tune-up

Your tenant calls to tell you that the property’s heater has stopped working. Best case, you will need to get a local HVAC technician out to fix the system. Worst case, the entire unit needs to be replaced, which can be a major, revenue-crushing expense for any property owner.

As the property owner, you are in a unique situation. You cannot control how much heating your tenant uses—that is between them and their electric bill. Yet, if they have it constantly running, that’s extra wear-and-tear on the system you may not have planned on.

Our recommendation: call your local HVAC contractor and have them tune up the heater at your property. Regular maintenance helps air conditioners and furnaces run smoothly without breakdowns. Plus, an annual tune-up can extend the lifespan of your HVAC systems, which means you get more years out of them. This can amount to big savings long-term and much less headache for you in 2020.

Upgrade the Water Heater

. A water heater tank burst can literally destroy your property, leading to the loss of good tenants, months of rent revenue, and major reconstruction costs. If your property is depending on an old water heater to get by, you should consider upgrading to a new model. As water heaters age and their anode rods rust, the risk of a tank burst increases dramatically.

Consider a Tankless Water Heater

When you upgrade, you have options. Beyond getting a new standard water heater, there are also tankless systems on the market. Tankless water heaters are typically wall-mounted (saving you space) and do not carry the risk of a tank burst. Plus, they offer an unlimited hot water supply, which might be a huge selling point for renters with a large family.

Install an Emergency Shutoff Valve

If you are short on cash for upgrades at the start of the new year, you should at least consider having your local plumber install an emergency shutoff valve on your current water heater. That way, if your old water heater tank does burst, the damage will be limited and may not even cause you to lose your current renter.

Get Smart

It is not just a gimmick or a passing fad. Smart technology has the potential to make your life as a property owner much easier. If you have yet to try out these tools, the start of 2019 is the perfect time to get onboard!

Add a Smart Thermostat

We mentioned earlier that property owners do not have much control over how much energy their tenants use. However, the vast majority of tenants are relatively responsible with their energy use—if nothing else, because they are the ones paying the bills!

You can help your tenants save energy by installing a smart thermostat in the property. Not only will this be a selling point for future tenants you show the property to, but you will also reduce the wear-and-tear on the cooling and heating systems. That’s a win-win for both you and the tenant.

Other smart systems

There are several other ways you can use smart technology to help both yourself and your tenants:

  • Smart security: Both you and your tenants have a shared interest in protecting the property. By adding a smart security system, you can give the tenant the means to keep the property undamaged and crime-free. After all, a tenant who is getting their packages stolen off the porch by thieves is probably not going to be a happy, long-term tenant for you.
  • Smart locks: By installing smart locks on the doors of the property, you can reduce the use of copied keys, which makes the property more secure. Longtime property managers know that the proliferation of copied keys is a constant concern and locks need to be routinely changed. A smart lock allows you to do this much more easily, without a call to the locksmith.

Ring in the new year by getting your property ready to go

Whether you are getting it ready to show to new tenants or you are working to keep your long-term tenants happy, the new year is a great time to revitalize your property. A property that is well-taken care of will continue to generate revenue through 2020 and beyond.

About the Author: Victoria Reimer is the communications director and senior writer at Reimer Home Services, a professional home repair & HVAC company servicing Western New York. She has been working within the home repair industry for almost 15 years and enjoys sharing her HVAC knowledge with others.

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