Here in Des Moines, we are no stranger to winter weather. Aside from the fun that snow can bring, it can also wreak havoc on your investment properties. One of the best ways to protect your Des Moines real estate investment portfolio and maximize your profit is to strategically invest in preemptive measures. Here is a list of maintenance tasks you should perform on your Des Moines investment properties before winter hits.
1. Save Money With A Water Heater Blanket
Protecting your water heater is especially useful and valuable if you are a landlord that is including utilities as part of the rent. Are you aware that water heaters can actually make up 25% of your utility bill? One of the best energy-efficient upgrades you can make is to add a water heater blanket. It is simple, effective, and will only cost you about $25 but will save you in the neighborhood of $30 annually.
2. Clean Your Gutters
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that your idea of a fun Saturday afternoon does not include cleaning the gutters of your investment properties. However, it is one of the most important tasks in winterizing them. If you neglect to clean your gutters, rain can cause damage to the foundation from overflow, as well as, the walls behind the gutters. All of this can become extremely expensive rather quickly so it is important to invest a little time to protect a lot of money.
3. Switch The Ceiling Fans
Did you know that the blades on ceiling fans are actually reversible? Yup, by simply flipping them around in the winter they can go from cooling the air to warming it up. In most cases, there is a root switch on your fan that can easily reverse the direction of the blades. In general, you can expect this to cut energy costs by 15%.
4. Seal The Windows
This one is especially important in older homes which develop spaces between the windows and the frames. This is a common problem with a simple fix. Pull back the caulking and trim between the frame and the window to check and repair any rotting wood. You can also grab shrinkable plastic from the hardware store to wrap the windows during the winter months.
5. Add Insulation As Needed
You likely already have some insulation in the attic of your property. However, many attics have subpar insulation because builders will do the bare minimum just to pass building code requirements. If you don’t want to add property-wide insulation, focus on elbow walls, the attic, and basement ceilings. This is a worthwhile investment and the better your insulation the lower your energy costs will be.
6. Install Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats seem like a huge expense because they are often double the price of a regular one. However, it is better to look at the cost as an investment because it will definitely pay you back for the original price and then some. For example, a Nest thermostat which typically cost about $200 can save you hundreds of dollars per month.
How To Get Your Tenants On Board
If your investment properties are currently occupied with tenants, you can’t just show up randomly to begin making these preparations for winter. Instead, you will need to give advance notice to your tenants. One of the best ways to get them on board with you coming in for these preparations or actually helping you to complete them is to explain how they will benefit from these preparations. Not only will it make the winter months more comfortable for them, but they will also help them to save on utility costs.
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Liz and Chase