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March 20, 2018

Ah, spring! It’s the season of buds, blooms…and property maintenance. It’s an ideal time to perform maintenance on your property because snow and ice have melted, making the dwellings and the area both visible and accessible. Plus, it’s not yet too hot to do extensive outdoor work.

Performing routine maintenance on a schedule will do a lot to keep your properties in tip-top shape. Finding areas that need minor refurbishment or repair will keep the areas looking good.

In addition, of course, preventive maintenance can let you know of major issues needing repair before a crisis happens. Inspecting your roof, for example, will let you know if shingles need to be replaced. But routine yearly inspection lets you know when the roof is nearing the end of its lifespan. Roofs generally last about 20 to 25 years. As yours nears that age, it’s time to start planning for a new roof.

It's important to keep records of what you do every spring to maintain the property. This process gives you a permanent list of what you have maintained and replaced so that you know when it is due to be replaced again. If you needed to install a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit last year, for example, you won’t be due for a new one for 15 years or so. You do, however, still need to inspect the unit every year.

Here are some tips about spring maintenance tasks to do not only this year but every year.

1. Inspect the Exterior of the Properties

As soon as any snow and ice have gone for good, do a walk-about around the exterior of your properties. Look at the paint, siding, windows, roof and any decks and patios. Take a checklist with you. Take pictures so that you have a visual record of how the property looks from year to year.

Are all the areas in good repair? Is the paint peeling or looking shabby? If so, a new exterior paint job might go on the list of maintenance tasks for this year. Does the siding need to be cleaned or replaced? How about the windows? Are there cracks or holes in the screens? Washing the windows in the spring is a basic maintenance task, but be sure to check if more is needed.

Walk around on the roof or hire a contractor to inspect it. Is it in good shape, or do areas of it need to be repaired? How about decks and patios? Are there cracks or areas of damage? Do they need to be resealed or repainted this year?

If you are handy and own one or just a few properties, you can do the walk-around yourself. Many landlords, however, choose to do the walk-around with a property manager or contractor for more expert advice. Depending on what you find, you may need to hire contractors with expertise in repair and replacement.

2. Clean the Gutters

Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned once a year. Leaves and other debris, such as bird nests, can get stuck in gutters and cause problems in the very drainage they are designed to perform. Cleaning will also make it apparent when gutters need to be replaced.

If you are handy, you can clean the gutters yourself. If not or if you don’t have the time, you can also hire a maintenance team to do it.

3. Clean and Refurbish After Tenants Leave

If tenants are moving out, they often do so in the spring. This likelihood is especially true if you rent to students because the school year is over. Most Americans move in the spring and summer months, and the period immediately after tenants leave is a good time to clean and refurbish the interior of your property.

Paint the rooms. Inspect and take pictures of the condition of the rental. Does anything need to be repaired? Are all the appliances in good working order? If you need a new refrigerator or stove, this is the time to purchase one and have it installed before the new tenants come in. Are the windows and floors in good condition? If not, you can take care of it before a new renting cycle.

4. Inspect the HVAC System

HVAC systems should be inspected twice yearly, in the spring and fall. These are good times because your tenants are not likely to be in great need of heat or air conditioning in either season.

Call a qualified professional to clean the systems. The cleaning will include basic maintenance, and the expert will be able to tell you whether the systems need to be repaired.

5. Pay Attention to the Foundation and Basement

Don’t neglect a visual inspection of each dwelling’s foundation and basement, if there is one. Inspect the outside for cracks, if you find one, you’ll want to consult a structural engineer. Freezing weather can make cracks increase in size. If they do, it increases the risk of leaks and even flooding into the basement. It can also escalate the chances of pests getting into the dwelling.

Inspect the basement for any signs of water damage, including mold and pests. Both can threaten the structural integrity of the dwelling. If you do see any sign of water damage, mold or pests, call repair people to have them fixed. While removing pests and mold by yourself is possible, it’s safer to call qualified professionals to do it.

These five tips will ensure that your properties remain in tip-top shape and that you are alerted to any problems, so get excited about the spring!

Author Bio: This article was written exclusively for Rentometer by Megan WildMegan Wild is a real estate and home improvement blogger who writes about easy ways that you can fix-up rentals or your home. When she’s not sanding her next project, she’s found walking her dog, Tucker.

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