While some of these tasks could be taken care of by your tenant, don’t assume that they know how to prepare your property for the change of seasons. Providing a quick checklist will help to prevent winter related emergency calls and help them be ready!
Windows and Doors
Encourage your tenant to check all of the weatherstripping around windows and door frames. Correcting leaks now to prevent heat loss and reduce winter heating bills. If the weather stripping needs to be replaced, better to do so now! Checking for drafts around windows and doors will also alert you to any spots needing caulking, both inside and out.
Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem. Identify any unhealthy trees that might need to be taken down. Get a head start on a spectacular spring lawn (especially if the property will be turning over next summer!) by aerating the lawn, reseeding, and applying a winterizing fertilizer.
Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house. Adding extra dirt to low areas can help to prevent rain water from pooling in problem areas.
Remove any attached hoses and store them away for the winter to prevent cracks, preserve their shapes, and prolong their life. Wrap outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage. Shut off exterior faucets.
Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts. Consider getting sprinkler systems serviced before winter if any heads are damaged or functioning at less than optimum (services are likely to be much busier in the spring).
Clean any leaves, dirt, and pine needles caught between the boards of wooden decks. Consider power washing and make note of any areas that will need re-staining. Inspect outdoor lighting and replace light bulbs where needed.
Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning
Check fireplace for drafts. Provide any tenants with fireplaces with a guide for safe use and any ongoing cleaning or maintenance that will needed during the winter season.
Clean or replace the air filter in your furnace for maximum efficiency and ensure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have new batteries.
Gutters & Roof
Check the gutters and downspouts for stability before dealing with the weight of snow and ice while cleaning any debris. Ensure all vents and openings are covered to prevent insects, birds, and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place.
Give the roof a once over inspection for damaged or missing shingles before the wet weather.
Remember that your tenants may be unfamiliar with the winter weather in your area. Giving them heads up of any ways to lower energy bills, prevent ice or offset any of winter’s challenges will foster your relationship and be appreciated!