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Property Management Tips & Tools for First-Time Landlords

04/16/2015

Being a landlord means more than getting a steady income from a rental. It also means taking proper care of your property to prevent major problems and repairs. The best approach is to come up with a schedule that will help you to stay on top of any issues and fix them while they are still minor. For first-time landlords, the following tips will help you get started

The Chimney and Roof

Every fall, before the cold weather moves in and the roof becomes covered with snow or becomes too slippery, safely get up on the roof and check it closely for missing or loose shingles or tiles. This is also a great time to trim tree branches that are hanging down on the roof and check the satellite TV dish to make sure it is securely fastened.

While you are up on the roof, spend some time inspecting the chimney, looking for loose or missing bricks or an AWOL rain cap. To prevent birds from getting in and building nests in the flue, which can be a major fire hazard, replace the missing rain cap as soon as possible. If the property has rain gutters or eaves, this is the perfect time to inspect them too. Watch for broken, clogged, loose, or leaking pipes.

House Logic offers a checklist on roof maintenance and repair you can follow

The Washer and Dryer

Twice a year, you should inspect the washer and dryer, as well as after tenants move out. As Allstate notes, around 16,000 dryer fires happen each year, often because the vents are clogged with lint. Use a vent-cleaning brush kit - Amazon sells them for less than $25 - and run it through the dryer vent tubing in back and inside of the appliance. Also, check the tubing on the washer to make sure it is not cracked or leaking, and run a rinse cycle to be sure it’s draining properly.

Get the Proper Permits

There will probably be some improvement projects and repairs for you to tackle. From installing a new deck and repaving the driveway to increasing your rent by adding an in-ground pool, make sure you have the proper permits in place.

Although not every city or county requires it, it’s still important to check on this ahead of time. The last thing you want to do is hire a crew to install a deck or swimming pool, only to have a city inspector swing by and inform the workers they do not have permission to do the work. Porch offers great advice on applying for a permit to begin construction on a deck, and Specialty Pool Products features guidance on pool kit plans and permits.

The Windows and Doors

Finally, carefully inspect all windows and doors every year. Check for missing or cracked weather stripping and caulking, and replace any broken or cracked windows and screens. Manually open and close each window; if they catch, be sure the wells are clean and lubricate them as needed.

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