Now that spring has arrived, it’s time to do a thorough cleaning of your investment property. Spring cleaning your single-family rental should include maintenance projects that you can tackle when the weather starts to get warmer.
This blog outlines all of the items you'll want to clean up and maintain at your rental home this time of year. Not only will you be able to "clean house," you will be able to provide residents with an even better living experience and enhance your single-family rental home’s value.
Checking these items off of your to-do list will help you achieve market-rate rents just in time for the busy leasing season. Here are 14 spring cleaning tips to enhance the value of your single-family rental:
1) Air Conditioning
Clean your window unit, check the belt and adjust if needed. If the belt is worn or cracked, replace it. Also, clean and replace the filter.
2) Decks and Other Wooden Structures
Thoroughly inspect all decks, porches, patios, stairs and railings to see if they’re loose. This is the time to check for signs of depreciation or decay. Expect to treat wood with paint/satin every four to six years. Check for dark gray spots, and if you locate any, consider hiring a professional or property manager to help you fix the problem right away.
3) Drain-Waste-Vent System
Consider hydro-jetting the main sewer line annually.
Whether your home’s foundation consists of masonry, concrete or brick, make sure to carefully inspect it. Look for signs of deterioration of your stem wall, which is a concrete slab that serves as the base structure to which other walls and floors of the house are attached, according to Realtor.com. Also look for foundation heave, which is prevalent in states prone to earthquakes. Heave occurs when the soil under the foundation surges up over time. If you can slide a nickel into a crack in your concrete floor, slab or foundation, call a professional immediately.
5) Gutters and Downspouts
Liberate your gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris. This is especially important for properties located in regions that typically have rainy or stormy winters, such as Seattle or the Bay Area. If the gutters pulled away from the house, you should re-attach them. Carefully run a hose on the roof and check to make sure your gutters and downspouts drain properly. If you find leaks, dry the area completely and use strong caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.
6) Heat Pump
At least once a year, a professional tech should service your heat pump at least every year. The technician should inspect ducts, filters, blower, and indoor coil for dirt and other obstructions. The tech should also inspect electric terminals and tighten connections.
7) Hot Water Heater
Flush the hot water heater annually. Make sure to also lubricate the circulating pump and motor.
If you’re in a cold or rainy climate, the first landscaping item to address is the likely overgrown grass in your front and back yards. So, get the mower out or hire a professional landscaper. Then, trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures. Overgrown limbs and leaves can damage your exterior paint job. This means that you might need that side of the house repainted. Ongoing trimming and maintenance of your landscaping can save you thousands of dollars.
The cost of replacing a roof, especially on the West Coast, can be quite high. According to a 2018 Angie’s List blog, the cost can range from $5,000 to $25,000 on the high end, so it’s imperative to maintain it well. Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves and soffits. Conduct a thorough cleaning, typically using a power washer. Watch out for those pesky roofing nails! Check for roofing nail heads popping up through shingles, and patch as needed. Check for lifting, worn, curling, missing and delaminated shingles. Most asphalt shingle roofs only last about 15 to 20 years.
10) Roof Flashing
Inspect for lifting, separating damage, and ensure it has full coverage over the roof decking material to prevent wood rot and pest, insects, etc., from entering your attic.
Clean the winter dirt that has accumulated on your window and door screens over the winter months. Then, check for holes large enough to allow bugs in. Patch small holes in your screen. Most hardware stores also carry screen patch kits. If the problem is significant, replace the entire screen. You can save the bad screen to patch holes next spring. Loose or damaged frames should be replaced and repainted as well. Also, replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind will ruin screens and frames if damaged by blustering winds, so make sure they’re securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.
Use a pressure washer to keep mold from growing on your siding. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.
Examine your lawn sprinkler system for valve leaks, exposed lines and broken sprinkler heads. If there are areas of your yard that flood or don’t get enough water, run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it’s not something you can fix yourself, call a professional.
14) Window Sills and Door Sills
Remove old caulking, fill cracks, remove caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.If you’re too busy to check all these items of your spring cleaning list, consider hiring an expert property manager. A local property manager company has relationships with high-quality, affordable vendors to make owning real estate simple.