Today’s REI Classroom Lesson

Property maintenance needs to be done year round but the types of maintenance varies a bit by season. BreAnn Stephenson goes over the top 10 tips to consider when creating your maintenance schedule for your properties.

REI Classroom Summary

From winterizing your water systems to cleaning and inspecting your chimney, there’s certain things that need to be done before winter hits.

Listen to this REI Classroom Lesson

Real Estate Investing Classroom Show Transcripts:

Mike: Welcome back to the flipnerd.com REI Classroom, where experts from across the real estate investing industry teach you quick lessons to take your business to the next level. And now, let’s meet today’s expert host.

BreAnn: Hey there, everybody. This is BreAnn Stephenson from Affinity Loss Prevention Services and I am your host of the REI Classroom show today. And today we are going to be talking about the top 10 key maintenance tips for your property.

Mike: This show is sponsored by passiverental.com.

BreAnn: So really, there are some main areas that we want to talk about. And forgive me, I’m going to be looking at my notes a little bit. You will be too if you prepare a good checklist for yourself for maintenance for your property. Don’t be ashamed to write this down, put little check boxes so that you can stay organized. Loss prevention is one of those things that you’re constantly learning new things and then also constantly relearning things. So don’t ever be afraid to write notes and refer to them often.

So, starting off, in terms of fall maintenance, one of the things that we want to talk about is keeping water damage at bay. So what are some things that you can do to do that? For one thing, probably the top thing on the list, clean those gutters. So probably something that you’ve heard a million times, probably think to yourself a million times when you go by your properties to take a look at them, maybe do a monthly drive by or something, or maybe you’re constantly harping at your property manager to do. But that really is something that’s a very simple task that can really prevent a lot of damage. So it can prevent, of course, water from going up underneath those soffits and causing damage to the sheet rock inside.

So make sure that those gutters are cleaned out. Make sure that you have long enough extensions at the end of the gutters that will channel t water away from the foundation as well. You don’t want anything sitting up against that foundation that can damage it, or also allow that water to run into the basement. I know, especially for those older properties, that can be an issue, limestone foundations. I have one of my own that we’re constantly trying to keep dry. So, again, clean those gutters.

And then, also, you want to make sure that you are being aware of the condition of your roof, and your soffit boards and your fascia boards. So you’re going to want to check for damage to your shingles, nail pops, and for wood rot as well. And just address those items as soon as you can to prevent larger damage from occurring. Sometimes, even just in lieu of getting on the roof there, you can use binoculars to take a little bit closer look instead of climbing that ladder. And that can help you make sure that your roof is in good condition.

And then, also, in terms of keeping water damage at bay, you want to make sure that as you’re going into the winter season, that you’re winterizing all of your water systems, especially for those vacant properties that you guys have. You’re going to want to drain and disconnect and store any of those garden hoses that you have and also installing an inexpensive faucet cover can help prevent faucets and any of that connected plumbing from brazing. So be mindful of that.

If you have a sprinkler system, make sure that that’s drained appropriately. And then also, too, if you have a swimming pool on any of your properties, that swimming pool pump is drained off as well. You want to, especially, like I said for those vacant properties, really, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t turn off the water and fully drain those systems. It’s not a difficult thing to do, but if you have any doubts about that call in a pro and that is something that they can do for you.

The second thing that we want to talk about, a group of things would be protecting your property from fire. So you want to make sure that at daylight savings time, that those batteries are changed. You want to inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure that they’re installed in each one of your properties, in the appropriate locations. Especially those smoke detectors should be on each floor of your property and also outside of sleeping areas.

And then, in the kitchen, of course, you want to make sure that it’s placed far enough away from that stove, to prevent false alarms. So you don’t want your tenants taking the batteries out to keep from having an alarm go off every time they cook something in the kitchen and then when they really do have a fire, not be alerted to that. So just be mindful of that placement in the kitchen.

And then, like I said, as far as changing those batteries, one of the best times to do that is when daylight savings changes. So twice a year, of course, when you fall back and get to get more sleep, that’s a great time to do that. And then, of course, spring forward as well. And then, also, you want to make sure that your fire extinguisher is full and operational. So make sure that you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions for monthly maintenance on that.

The other thing is if you have a chimney, make sure that it is professionally cleaned and inspected before use. That soot buildup and that creosote can really cause big flare-ups and big problems if it’s not properly cleaned. So be mindful of any properties that have those nice fireplaces in there.

The third thing that I want to talk about is just cleaning up around the property. One of the best things you can do to avoid problems with theft and vandalism is just to really make sure that that property looks like it’s taken care of, that somebody’s over there watching and driving by at least regularly or that somebody’s living there. You want those thieves and vandals to say, “Hey, I don’t know when somebody is going to show up to this property and they might just catch me.” So make sure that you don’t neglect the yard, for example. Make sure that your trees are well taken care of and make sure that that grass is cut.

And then, lastly, we just want to talk about eliminating liability issues. And this is what I would call keeping the doctor away from your property. So you want to make sure that any broken or uneven driveways are repaired. Of course, those railings, you want to make sure are secure and watch those walkways and stairs. You don’t want to have tenants just coming to you with a slip and fall or receiving a letter from a lawyer in the mail about that. So make sure that those are always well taken care of. And a good time to do that, of course, is in fall before we get that more severe winter weather, especially if your properties are up north, for example.

And then, lastly, in that realm, you want to make sure that you are on top of your maintenance for preventing bugs and rodents from entering the property. They say that basically, rodents, mice anyways, can enter in a dime-sized hole. So that’s a pretty small sized whole to take care of, but you just want to do a good inspection and walk the property, make sure that all of your windows are sealed appropriately, if there are any holes where you’ve got, let’s say, your internet connections that are coming in or electrical, all those things are well sealed.

The last thing that we talk about today is really preventing bugs and rodents from entering your property. So that’s the other way that you can keep the doctor away from your property. Rodents can enter into holes that are a dime-sized or larger so just be aware that they can really get into spaces that you might think are too small for them, just might not be. You want to make sure that you walk your property and make sure to seal any cracks or holes that they can enter through, especially where you have connections, let’s say, for your Internet or any electrical, that type of thing that’s coming into the property.

And also, lastly, to that effect for bugs and rodents, is just making sure that the property is kept clean. So, hopefully, you can check in on your tenants, make sure that their things are shipshape, you guys have a good relationship that you might be able to stop by once in a while.

Obviously, give the proper notice that is required in your city in terms of that. But just because you have good tenants doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t need to be mindful of stopping by to see the state of your property. So just be involved. And even if you have a property manager, also stay involved with them as well, but you want to check up and make sure that they’re performing on their contract with you too.

In summary here, having a year-round maintenance plan is always best, of course. But you can really start at any time. So if you don’t have something that’s written today, just get started. Get started and then put it into action. And we have plenty of checklists for you at our website. So if you need some help with that, please feel free to visit. There are lots of other resources as well to help you protect your property. And that all is at www.affinitylps.com. So thanks for joining me today and I hope you guys have a great day.

Mike: PassiveRental.com is your source for turnkey done-for-you rental properties. If you’d like to be an investor and not a landlord, please visit PassiveRental.com to learn how to purchase cash flowing, professionally managed rental properties in the hottest rental markets across the country. We can also help connect you with financing for your next property. Invest the easy way today and get started by visiting PassiveRental.com.

Please note, the views and the opinions expressed by the individuals in this program do not necessarily reflect those of FlipNerd.com or any of its partners, advertisers or affiliates. Please consult professionals before making any investment or tax decisions, as real estate investing can be risky.

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BreAnn Stephenson
BreAnn Stephenson is the Assistant Vice President of Affinity Loss Prevention Services (ALPS), a licensed Property/Casualty insurance agent, and has been working with remodelers and real estate investors for over 10 years. Contact her at breann@affinityLPS.com and follow ALPS on Twitter (@AffinityLPS).