In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, summer turns to winter with very little time for fall in between. As the owner of an investment property in the area, you need to take advantage of this time to take care of important maintenance and repair tasks.
What types of maintenance and repair tasks need to be addressed in fall before winter sets in? Here’s a look at 7 things to focus on as you prepare your investment property for the coldest months of the year.
- Apply Fall Fertilizer
Most investors know to fertilize in spring, just as grass should be coming out of its winter dormancy. But many don’t realize that an application of fall fertilizer is one of the best things you can do for your lawn.
In late October, find a fertilizer that is 12-25-12 (which represents the mix of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). That type of fertilizer will promote root growth over the winter, which will help the lawn come back faster and greener in the spring.
As an added benefit for real estate investors, this fall application of fertilizer helps make lawns resistant to both drought and disease, which is a great thing in the long run.
2. Heater Inspection
Different homes use all sorts of different heating systems. No matter what type of system your rental property uses, make sure it is inspected and well maintained before winter begins.
There are two important reasons for proper heater maintenance. First, a lack of maintenance makes it far more likely that your heating system will need emergency repairs during winter. Emergency repairs tend to be more intensive and more expensive than proactive maintenance.
And, second, proactive maintenance is predictable and convenient for both you and your tenants — far more predictable and convenient than emergency repairs that might result from a lack of maintenance.
- Trim Back Trees
North Texas is famous for its ice events. If and when an ice storm hits Dallas or Fort Worth, tree branches that haven’t been trimmed back can become heavy and brittle. If tree branches break and fall onto your roof, you could be dealing with expensive and inconvenient repairs, all while ice covers the Metroplex.
So take a look at tree branches that could potentially do damage to your roof or to other parts of your property. Cut them back before winter begins, and you can avoid unnecessary damage to your rental home.
Fall is not the time for comprehensive tree trimming and pruning. Tree experts recommend pruning and trimming in late winter for best results. So, during fall, focus only on tree branches that could pose a threat to your home.
- Clear Gutters
Your property should include a number of features designed to move water away from the home and its foundation. Gutters are just one of these features, but they need to be cleared of leaves and branches during fall so that they can do their job during winter.
If your gutters are not cleared, frozen precipitation could cause them to swell and crack during winter, which would necessitate a springtime replacement. Also, if your gutters aren’t effectively moving water away from your home, that water ends up on patios and pathways. If and when that water freezes, it makes those patios and pathways slick and unsafe for use.
- Inspect the Roof
Winter can be rough on roofing. Tree branches can rub and pick away at shingles (as noted above), and frozen precipitation can also damage shingles and flashing — or even create harmful ice dams that make leaks more likely.
So, after you trim away problem branches and after you clear your gutters, closely examine your roof for any signs of wear and tear. You may want to call a roofing company to come and replace any loose or damaged shingles. In essence, you want to focus on making sure of a roof’s integrity before winter begins and repairing any spots that could lead to leaks if left unaddressed.
- Wrap Faucets and Pipes
Exterior faucets and pipes can expand and crack when the temperature drops below freezing. So, before sub-freezing temperatures become a possibility, drain and wrap all exterior faucets and pipes — including any lawn irrigation system that your rental property might have.
Wrapping exterior faucets and pipes will prevent them from cracking during the coldest parts of the winter. This is incredibly important for keeping your home’s plumbing system in full working order. The last thing you want to experience is a significant (and expensive) plumbing issue when spring rolls around.
- Clean the Chimney
If your rental property includes a chimney, consider getting it cleaned and inspected in fall. A chimney cleaning inspection comes with several benefits. It limits the risk of fire, it can reveal unseen chimney damage, it maximizes the flue’s useable lifespan, and it may even help you adhere to insurance requirements.
Need Management Support for Your Rental Property?
If you look at the list above and feel overwhelmed by the number of things to do at your rental property, you’re not alone. Maintenance and repairs in any season can be time-consuming and inconvenient for real estate investors.
That’s why it’s so helpful to have a provider of DFW property management services. At HUNTAHOME, we are the leading provider of property management in Dallas and Fort Worth. Our services include leasing, rent collection, repairs, maintenance and much more.
In short, we take care of the challenging, day-to-day aspects of owning a rental property so that you can sit back, enjoy your returns and focus on investment strategy.
Contact us today to learn more about property management in Forth Worth and Dallas.