As a homeowner, keeping your house well-maintained and in top condition is a major priority. This is never truer than if you are a landlord renting out your investment property. As a landlord, it is important to stay in touch with your rental properties. A property management company can help to make this easier and less stressful, but there are still certain maintenance projects that you need to be thinking about throughout the year.
This time of year the number one thing to consider about your rental home is the roof. Late summer and early fall are the perfect times of year for roof maintenance, before any serious weather arrives and your roof tells you that it needs maintenance by way of a leak.
Here are some things to discuss when scheduling your rental property for roof maintenance:
- Cleaning the gutters. The gutters of a home are basically a protective measure to fight against flooding. When it rains, the gutters route the water away from the foundation of the home so that the foundation, basement, and crawlspace are not flooded. You’ve seen the water run down the downspout and the shoot out the lip on the bottom. If the downspout was not there, the water would come down the downspout and puddle, eventually cause a flood. Keeping the gutters clear of leaves, sticks, and other debris is essential to the gutter system being able to effectively route the water.
- Walk the roof. It is difficult to truly see any damage or problem areas without actually getting up on top of the roof. Shingles can curl up and buckle, a clear sign of needing replacement, but that is difficult to see from the ground. Maintenance must include actually getting up on top of the roof and walking the lines to check for damage or areas that need repair.
- Chimney, skylights, and vents. Any areas on your roof, where the roof has been cut out to make room, need to be checked thoroughly. There are measures take to seal off the area around these additions, and it is important to maintain that. For instance, flashing, sealants, and covers must be checked regularly to make sure they are not damaged. Even the smallest leak will cause significant damage if left long enough without repair.
Keeping in touch with your rental properties and providing regular maintenance is the best way to protect your investment. Use this time of year to schedule roof maintenance on your home, and avoid significant problems this fall.
2015 off to a great start!
It looks like 2015 will be a great year for sellers to sell their homes and buyers to buy a home! It’s unusual that it’s a great market for both but here is why.
For home sellers: the number of homes that have resold has increased by 18% and the median price of those homes sold has gone up 13%. This is the number of homes sold in Jackson County for the last 90 days, December 1st – February 28th, compared to the same time last year. During the same time the median home price in Jackson County has increased by 13% to $208,430. In Jacksonville, the median home price increased by 28% to $363,500. Just a reminder that the median price can increase or decrease due to both home prices going up and with the mix of the properties sold. In other words, if four homes sell for $1,000,000, in one month, in Jacksonville, that will increase the median price of home sales but not necessarily the price of each home sold. However you look at it, home sales are off to a great start in 2015!
For home buyers: As homes become more expensive, you would think it’s more expensive for buyers to own their own homes, and it is, but it still costs less to own than to rent in the majority of cases. The cost of buying a home is still only about half the cost of renting.
Zillow, one of the largest real estate websites, estimates that U.S. homeowners spend, on average, 15.3 percent of their income on monthly mortgage payments. For younger homebuyers, who typically make smaller down payments, that figure is only slightly higher at 17.4 percent. Renters, meanwhile, are spending 29.9 percent of their monthly income on their living space. In Jackson County we are seeing higher growth in home prices than rental prices but they are both increasing.
Homes for younger buyers remain affordable thanks to continued low mortgage interest rates and many new loans that allow you to borrow up to 97% of the purchase price. However, coming up with the down payment and closing cost is still a struggle for many. If a renter purchases a $150,000 home they will need $4500 for a down payment and about the same amount for closing costs.
While continually rising rents might be expected to drive more Americans into purchasing homes, they’re also making it difficult for renters to save up for a down payment. In a recent survey, Freddie Mac found that 61 percent of current renters don’t expect to buy a home in the next three years, with half of respondents saying they can’t afford to save for the initial costs.
For those buyers that can scrape together a down payment, homeownership remains very accessible. It’s nice to have fixed housing payments and the opportunity to build wealth through home equity will draw more buyers out of rentals and into homeownership.
A few months do not make a year, but if the numbers keep trending in the same direction and the interest rates remain low, 2015 will be a great year for both buyers and sellers!
As a landlord, Spring time can mean not only deep cleaning your residence but also giving any rentals that you own a little TLC. The winter months typically bring some severe weather and your properties may have sustained some damage during the season. Even if your properties made it through the winter unscathed, Spring is a perfect time of year to touch base with your tenants and do some minor improvements that will help to keep your rentals prepared for all seasons.
These are some areas inside the home that might need some attention:
- Furnace filters. If the filter for your furnace is dirty and hasn’t been replaced recently this can significantly reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system. If your system is equipped with a removable filter you can remove it, wash it, and replace it. If not, you’ll need to purchase a new filter.
- Air conditioner maintenance. Having a professional air conditioning technician come and provide maintenance to your air conditioner is an essential step in preparation for the hot weather of the summer.
- Caulking and sealants. To prevent moisture, allergens, and pests from entering your home make sure that the caulking and seals around the windows and doors are not cracked or missing. While you’re at it double check all of the screens and make sure none are missing or damaged.
- Test any smoke, fire, or carbon monoxide alarms and replace batteries if necessary.
Outside of the home there are additional areas that should be checked for spring maintenance:
- The roof. Check the roof for damage including missing or cracked shingles.
- Drainage. Clean out the gutters and downspouts to ensure that water will be carried away from the home if there is a spring rainstorm.
- Deep cleaning. Give the house a pressure wash to remove any dirt or growth that might have accumulated during the moist weather of the winter
- Landscape. Cut tree limbs and shrubs. Take extra care to make sure that any trees or bushes that block the visibility of the driveway are cleared.
Maintaining the property that you rent to others is just as important as maintaining the property that you live in. Your rental home(s) is an investment and keeping it well cared for will protect that investment. Call our office today to discuss our property management services and how we can help!