This biweekly sponsored column is written by the experts at Gordon James Realty, a D.C.-based property management company that specializes in managing condos, single-family homes and multi-family properties in the metro region. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.
Spring has finally arrived. With the warming temperatures comes the perfect time to complete a few simple property maintenance tasks critical to preserving the value of your home and rental properties.
Regular maintenance is a relatively low-cost way to avoid problems that could damage your home later and rack up big repair bills.
For rental property owners, preventive maintenance has the added bonus of decreasing the likelihood of emergency repair calls. No landlord wants a call about flooding or an air conditioner that fails when temperatures soar and repair companies are swamped.
Now is the time to consult with your property management company or find professional contractors to have the following five maintenance services completed:
1. Inspect and Service HVAC systems — Sweltering, humid days are on the way. Make sure your air conditioner is up for the job. Have a service person give any HVAC units a checkup to ensure they are in good working order. Typical spring maintenance will include checking electrical connections and controls, cleaning evaporator and condenser coils, cleaning and adjusting the blower, and inspecting and clearing the condensate drain, according to Energy Star.
2. Inspect and Flush the Water Heater — Maintaining your water heater can help prolong its life and improve its efficiency. The National Association of Realtors’ Houselogic site recommends draining it to clear sediment, testing the temperature-pressure release valve and inspecting the anode rod, which prevents tank corrosion. Tanks that are more than 10 years old or are leaking should be replaced to avoid unit failure and flooding.
3. Clean the Gutters — Clogged gutters are the leading cause of window leaks in single-family homes. April showers are upon us, so now is the time to prevent all that water from ending up in your home. Make sure to clean out any gunk, leaves, branches, etc. that have built up over the winter. Check for leaks and ensure downspouts are clear, firmly attached and placed to direct water away from the foundation. Add flexible extenders, widely available at hardware stores, if necessary.
4. Inspect the Roof — Most experts recommend inspecting roofs at least annually for damaged shingles, flashing and other signs of failure that can cause leaks and damage. This is a job that is generally best left to professionals, who know what to look for and can safely assess the condition from the roof.
5. Check Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers — The National Fire Protection Association says having working fire alarms halves the risk of dying in a fire. Make sure you have enough alarms and that they meet local regulations. Replace batteries and any alarms that are more than 10 years old. Ensure you have adequate fire extinguishers and have them professionally serviced.
In addition, spring is the time to take stock of other problems that developed during the harsh winter and make repairs before the harsh summer sun and temperatures make them worse.
Start by inspecting your home or rental property. Walk around the perimeter of the home and note anything in disrepair, including rot, peeling paint, debris buildup, or possible water intrusion. Check each interior room, too. Dealing with these problems promptly helps minimize future damage, costs and hassles.
Check out this article for additional information on how to maintain rental properties to keep tenants happy and preserve your investment’s value.
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HillNow.com.