According to Zillow Group research, outdoor space is a highly desired feature for renters. Forty-three percent of renters with kids living in the home and 48 percent of renters with dogs view private outdoor spaces as very or extremely important. Having outdoor space may be great for tenants — but with it comes additional upkeep. Plan on preventive maintenance to maximize the value of your property and minimize expensive weather damage by adding these inspections to your spring maintenance to-do list:
- Roof, gutters and downspouts
- Windows, doors and thresholds
- Decks, porches and fences
- Outdoor faucets
1. Roof, gutters and downspouts
Winter can cause damage to roofs, gutters and downspouts. Water intrusion can lead to expensive repairs, so it is important to catch damage early. Clear debris from roofs, gutters and downspouts. Check for gutter damage and missing downspouts. Replace any damaged or missing pieces so rainwater flows away from the property.
One easy way to maintain siding is to make sure it is not exposed to ongoing moisture. Keep ground soil and vegetation away from the siding. Walk around the property and make sure ground soil has not covered the bottom sections of siding. Rake soil away from the base of the property so it is only touching the foundation. While walking the property, make note of any trees, bushes and shrubs touching the siding. These will need to be trimmed away to allow the siding to dry properly after rain showers. Look at each side of the property and make note of any irregularities from moisture or worn paint.
While walking the property check the foundation for any cracks and signs of structural problems. Different cracks can mean different things depending on the location, shape and size, and the type of material used to build the foundation. Consider getting the advice of a structural engineer to decide if the cracks are safety issues.
4. Windows, doors and thresholds
Winter weather can lead to cracks around windows and doors, which means cold air and insects can enter the property. Draftiness can result in air conditioners and heaters working overtime — thus straining the HVAC systems. Insects can sneak into your house through the tiniest of cracks and become a nuisance or eventually an infestation. These issues are preventable by identifying and sealing any cracks around windows and doors.
5. Decks, porches and fences
Winter moisture can be rough on outdoor wooden structures. Check for wood rot, loose boards and warped wood. Address rot and loose boards early to keep your tenants safe from falls. If the paint or stain shows signs of cracking and discoloration, add it to your list of summer projects.
6. Outdoor faucets
Remove faucet covers after the last freeze of the season. The time frame can vary depending on geographic location. Inspect outdoor faucets to make sure water is not dripping. Leaky outdoor faucets can lead to higher water bills and water intrusion around the foundation if left unaddressed.
Oftentimes, you can do these inspections yourself, or you can hire a contractor to do the inspections for you. Once you have a list of things that need to be addressed, figure out which projects you can do yourself and where you’d want to bring in a professional to take care of the necessary repairs — for instance, a landscaper who can take care of yard debris and trim bushes and shrubs. Proactive maintenance can help prevent several property headaches and maintenance emergencies down the road.
Credit: Liz Koser from Keepe
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.