Fall back means fall maintenance for your properties!

Time to “Fall Back” and look through your properties. The days are getting cooler and the nights are getting longer. It is a sure sign that fall is here. The good news is we tend to have less issues with our properties in this season, than any other. Our multi-unit buildings where we pay some of the utilities, experience the best cash flow, as we aren’t paying for heating or cooling for much of the day. But it is also a time to prepare since winter is coming! Remember how valuable these assets are to you and your family’s future. We use this time (when the clocks change) to go through each of our units and make sure that the properties are still is in good shape and repair and small maintenance issues are dealt with.

Having a Fall back checklist is important!

Don’t have a checklist of your own? Below is a checklist of things you need to do at this time as we prepare for the long winter months ahead.
  1. Change (or check) the smoke alarm batteries in every unit you own. Never, ever leave this task up to the tenant. In fact, take a photo of the smoke detector and get your tenants to sign off that the smoke alarm is working. We have a journal that has every one of our properties. In the event of a fire, this journal is crucial to let the fire department know that we monitor it regularly. If the battery is removed over the next 6 months, that is on the tenants and we are not held responsible.
  2. Change the furnace filter. Also, make sure there is a supply for the tenant who is assigned the task of looking after the furnace filters. At inspection, you change it, but then you can remind the tenants monthly or quarterly to check the filter.
  3. Drain and shut off any outside taps. Don’t count on the tenants to remember this task. If the pipes freeze over the winter, the spring thaw will bring a new host of surprises next year.
  4. Remove leaves and branches from the eaves trough and make sure the downspout is hooked up and also free of debris. When the snow melts, it needs a place to go. If there is a blockage, water will accumulate in one spot and when it freezes again, it can form damming which can damage the roof, plus the water will eventually just drip down the side of the house (water has to go somewhere) and that somewhere could be into your basement apartment.
  5. Walk around the house to make sure the grading hasn’t gotten too bad over the year. If the water sits in puddles against your building, it could find its way into the house.
Get your DTW Real Estate Investment Checklist today

Make the time to take care of your properties.

Yeah, I know it is a pain to have to do this. If you lack the time, consider subbing these jobs out to others. But consider, doing at least the inside tasks. These assets are SOOOO valuable to your future. No one you hire can offer you the insight of seeing the state of the units as well as you can with your own two eyes.
  • Is the place tidy, and in good condition? If so, it makes you feel better about your choice of tenants.
  • Is there a giant water dish for a dog you don’t know about?
  • How about an ashtray of butts and a smell of cigarettes or marijuana in the air?
  • Are you looking at a hoarder situation happening?
  • Is there signs that people have moved out or moved into the unit that you don’t know about? If there is something you find, it is better to deal with it now, then wait a year or two when the tenant eventually vacates the unit.
In reality, if you have quality units in quality neighbourhoods and select quality tenants, then most often, you will be pleased with what you find. But with that said, I would estimate that at least one in three smoke detectors have their battery removed because they “just” burnt some toast or something and removed it, but forgot to put it back in there.

Smoke detectors are important to keep your property and tenants safe.

By re-inserting the battery in, taking a photo of the smoke detector, and insisting that the tenant signs off on it done, it reinforces the importance of having a working smoke detector (and CO detector) in the unit. Although highly unlikely, a fire COULD happen in your property from no fault of your own. You want to do all that you can to ensure that the tenants stand the best chance they can to get themselves and everyone else out safely. Insurance can repair and replace your building, but safety has to be your number one priority. Doing these simple but important property check-ups in the Fall, will help your properties over the period of time that you have them.