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Get Your Rental Property Ready for Winter: Fall Maintenance Checklist

As you start to feel the chill in the air — and suddenly you can get pumpkin spice everything — you know winter is on the way. Use this checklist to perform the needed maintenance to protect your rental properties from the cold, wet, wind and ice of the season. Completing these tasks will save you time and money from costly damage during the winter months. For more information about maintaining your rental properties, watch this webinar.

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Exterior Maintenance

Inspect roof and clean out gutters

Stop leaks at the source by checking your roof for broken shingles or holes. Replace problem areas and seal with watertight caulk. While you’re up there, scoop out leaves and debris from the gutters.

Winterize exterior faucets and sprinkler systems

Insulate outdoor faucets with foam or towels held tight with a bungee cord. Drain water from irrigation or sprinkler systems and garden hoses to prevent freezing and cracking.

Check snow and ice removal tools

Make sure you have the necessary supplies to keep your properties safe, including salt for making sidewalks and paths walkable and a snowblower or shovel for clearing driveways.

Secure snow-removal services

Sometimes a shovel isn’t enough: If you live in an area that generally gets a lot of snow, line up a plow service. Look for a service that lets you pay as you go in case you don’t get the expected snowfall.

Landscaping

Fertilize grass and mulch beds

Mow and dethatch your lawn with a rake, aerate and fertilize. Apply fertilizer to beds as well, and then spread mulch. Water well to get the fertilizer into the soil to do its work. This is a good time to plant spring bulbs, like tulips and hyacinths, for added appeal,

Trim flowers, plants and trees

Cut back dead flowers and seed heads, and prune bushes and plants. Be on the lookout for trees that need trimming. Remove dead branches, and take out unstable trees.

Check the water drainage in your yard

Check outside areas for disconnected drain spouts and landscaping that slopes toward your foundation. Add sand or gravel to improve draining in low areas.

Interior

Check window and door seals

Check for drafts and air leaks to prevent heat escaping and cold air coming in. Caulk over trouble areas or call in a professional to replace a window or two if they are beyond repair.

Make sure the furnace is working (and replace filters)

Replace furnace filters, and check the connection between the furnace and the thermostat.

Clean out air ducts

Hire an HVAC professional to use negative pressure to clean out your ducts at least once a year.

Have your fireplace and chimney checked

If your properties have fireplaces, check for buildup and make sure the damper and flue are functioning properly. If needed, call a professional chimney sweep to come and clear soot and creosote to avoid accidental fires.

Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in tip-top shape by replacing the batteries every six months and testing them monthly.

Check your dryer to prevent fire

If you provide washers and dryers for your tenants, now’s a good time to clear lint. Check the dryer’s lint trap and ductwork, and clean out any built-up lint or debris. 

Wrap pipes to prevent freezing

If you have pipes in chilly basements, exposed crawlspaces or accessible attics, insulate them with foam covers or towels.

Add insulation to the attic and basement

Add extra insulation to your attic ceiling and basement walls. You can use traditional insulation or spray-foam that acts as an instant barrier against freezing temperatures.