It’s a good time to reflect on repairs, updates or maintenance that needs to be accomplished; to make sure the rentals are fully occupied and make any changes necessary to make sure they stay that way; and to make sure properties are earning enough.
Repairs and Maintenance
Regular maintenance and prevention go a long way to make sure little things don’t end up costing far more than they should. Take some time at the beginning of the year to go through the property records. Have a look at the major pieces in the house; the roof, water heater, heating/air conditioning units, etc. Perhaps the roof is getting on in years? Budgeting and planning for a new roof now, prior to leaks and damage, will save you considerable headache and money than waiting for a problem and having to not only repair but clean up the damage as well!
Sending a survey to tenants with detailed questions can also be valuable. The best people to tell you if a small problem is going to blow up down the road are the people living daily in the property. Detailed questions help to make sure that tenants who have gotten used to small issues don’t forget to report them. For instance, a sink that keeps backing up or a toilet that doesn’t flush quite right could be symptoms of a plumbing problem. Having a professional in now could prevent something simple, like a partially clogged drain, from turning into a sewage back-up that would require extensive cleanup.
Updating a property that is functioning
Consistent updates, make sure that the rental is attractive to potential tenants, as well as making sure that the property isn’t losing you money. Updates to the efficiency of a property make sure you aren’t losing money. Have a look at the heating/cooling costs of a property. If they are eating into your profit, it’s time to update! First have a look at the insulation and windows of a building. If the windows are old and drafty or the insulation is insufficient, even a brand new heating or cooling system won’t fix the problem. If the windows and insulation are adequate, have a look to the units themselves. Purchasing a high-quality, efficient system will save you money on monthly expenses down the road.
Ensuring full rental
Property rentals that are empty do nothing but cost money. Now is a great time to assess any empty units and remedy the problem. Go through any empty properties, and make sure that they show well. Perhaps they need to be repainted a more neutral color, need some minor repairs or updates to be more attractive, or simply need a really thorough cleaning. Check out the neighborhood and make sure there haven’t been any changes that would affect the rental. Perhaps the price needs to be adjusted slightly to take the rental into a new market.
Remember, a rented property is bringing income to you, an empty one is costing you! Check the area and make sure the rental is appropriate prices. If it is the cheapest rental around and is unoccupied, perhaps think about updating it throughout and charging a higher amount to bring a better profit.