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Spring cleaning as a metaphor

By Shannon Callanan

The term “spring cleaning” has evolved over time from being a tidy up around the home, to being a metaphor for life. Spring is now an opportunity to sanity check the important things in your life. It acts now, more as a calendar reminder than it does a literal concept.

I find in the property cycle, that ‘things’ seem to happen annually, meaning once a year is a great time for investors to perform a spring clean on their investment portfolios. Some of this can be literal, and some not so literal.

Let’s go through a list of things you should check at least once every year!

The spring season marks the start of the storm season in many states. Check that you have correct insurance for your property and that your property manager has a copy of this on file. Some insurance companies require the agent to be nominated on the policy so they can push forward on any claims, on your behalf, in the event a claim is necessary.

Check the photos of your most recent routine inspection to ensure trees haven’t started to overgrow and the gutters don’t need cleaning. While generally the lawn and gardens are the tenants responsibility, any bigger trees and bushes are the owners. Once a year spring time is a great prompt to ensure they are trimmed, tidy and don’t present any injury or damage to the property, tenant, or their guests.

If you have a furnished property or holiday rental, you will now be starting to move into the busy season. The opportunity to make repairs or update furniture and fittings, will be limited now, until the summer has passed. It is a great time to do a walk through and ensure that a room doesn’t need painting, rug updating or some new window coverings. Make the place look fresh and attractive. This will promise your guests a great stay and repeat business next year.

In most states the responsibility of washing the exterior of the property belongs to the landlord. Many investors overlook this. It is in my experience that a good wash down of the exterior of a property, once a year, will make it more attractive to potential tenants or staying guests. The buildup of dust on the exterior of the property really takes the shine off it.

One last thing I would suggest is a building and pest inspection. Your property manager conducts periodic inspections on your property during the year, but these are just visual inspections. Your property manager is not a builder or qualified pest inspector so there maybe a chance they could miss the early signs of a pest invasion or timber erosion. I would encourage asking your property manager to engage a building and pest inspector once a year to give your property a once over. It is a cheap alternative to a termite infestation or a liability claim from your tenant. This also keeps the property in premium condition for ongoing quality tenants and guests.

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