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Are Your Real Estate Investments Ready For Winter?

Published on Thursday - December 12, 2013

Depending on what part of the country you live in, you may already be experiencing winter weather. If not, you will be dealing with it soon enough. Harsh weather conditions can take a toll on your properties and the tenants within them. Severe enough weather can make or break the experience your tenant has in the property and also cost you thousands of dollars if something unexpected goes wrong. Fortunately, there is still time to prepare and take the necessary precautions to prevent costs and aggravation from piling up. More buyers are expected to participate in the market this winter, make sure your properties are presentable and ready.

There is nothing you can do to prevent winter weather. The only thing you can do is to take action before it comes. The first thing you should do is to check the readiness of your property. If you have not done so already, give the furnace a check. If your furnace is not running properly when cold weather hits, you will be forced to have it fixed or replaced immediately. This will irritate almost any tenant, especially those in colder areas. A yearly tune up of the furnace will not prevent it from breaking eventually, but it will catch items that can be an easy fix and save you money. Aside from the furnace, interior checks should include cracked or unsealed windows and insulation. These things will drastically impact the temperature of the interior. You should not leave this up to your tenant to tell you if they see something. The odds are they won’t.

In order to prevent possible basement flooding and excessive strain on your roof, make sure the gutters are cleaned out. Leaf and debris build up can clog the drains and leave excessive snow nowhere to go. A gutter guard, after they are cleaned, should prevent this from being an issue moving forward. Also, look to see if there are any limbs or branches that could be a problem around the house. You don’t want weather to cause a branch to fall and damage the property.

It is easier to talk to your tenants about snow procedures before they happen. As a landlord, it is a good idea to provide a mini emergency kit in the house with a flashlight, batteries and a shovel. Talk to them about snow parking rules and what is expected of you for each amount of snow. You can limit your snow removal to anything over 3 inches or you can do it every time there is a coating. What you intend to do should be talked about before they sign the lease.

If you have to get the snow removal contracted out, the time to do so is well before any inclement weather hits. If you are left scrambling the morning of a storm, you could find yourself out of luck or paying two or three times the regular rate. Look to lock in a price now or see if they are willing to do a seasonal fee for the entire year. In some years there may only be a handful of storms, but others can have one every week. Make sure you are prepared for each of them.

Winter weather is no fun, but it doesn’t have to be any more stressful than it should be. Take the time now to get everything in place. Winter weather will be here before you know it.

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