Three Things You Should Do This Fall Before Putting Your Rental Home On The Market

Whether you've recently bought a rental home as an investment or have upgraded to a bigger house and plan to hold onto your old home and rent it out, there are several things you should know before beginning your journey as a private landlord. If you're putting your home on the rental market this fall, here are are three preventative strategies that will provide your tenants with a better overall rental experience as well as hedge your bets as a landlord against costly repairs. 

Have the Pipes Winterized 

One of the last things that you need is for your pipes in your rental home to freeze during the winter. Although there are ways for household residents to prevent this, such as turning the faucets on just enough to allow a trickle of water or leaving cabinet doors open under sinks to allow warm air to reach the pipes. However, dealing with broken pipes is a time-consuming, expensive fix. Leaving prevention strategies to tenants may not have optimal results -- even the most well-meaning and responsible tenants won't quite treat your property as if it were their own. The best course of action for landlords to take is to err on the side of caution and have the pipes winterized so that neither you nor your tenants end up with an unpleasant surprise if the weather dips into the freezing zone. 

Have the Furnace Serviced

Having your furnace serviced before your new tenants move into your rental home will help keep their heating costs down, significantly reduce chances of the furnace breaking down or otherwise malfunctioning during a serious cold spell, and potentially prevents you, the landlord, from having to deal with large furnace repair bills. It can also help keep your home and your rental tenants safe -- faulty furnaces can result in household fires. You should also keep in mind that many furnace warranties are contingent on the homeowner having regularly scheduled maintenance on the system, and failure to do so may cause the warranty to be rendered invalid in the event that your furnace experiences serious problems.

The technician will check all of the parts of the furnace to ensure that they are all in good working order and ready for the challenges ahead and temperatures continue to drop as winter gets closer. This is also the best time to get the furnace filter replaced or cleaned depending on which type your furnace uses. 

Have the Landscaping Inspected 

You could possibly be held legally liable for injuries sustained by tenants due to weak tree limbs and other landscaping issues. Having your landscaping inspected for any possible danger hazards helps ensure a safe environment for tenants. If you've got mature trees on your property, they should be inspected for overall soundness and stability, particularly if you live in an area that experiences windstorms or heavy snow. You should also ask your landscaping professional to check for plants that may be poisonous -- a surprising amount of ornamental landscaping plants contain high levels of toxins and should be removed from properties where children and pets will be spending time in the yard. Examples include oleander, castor bean, azaleas, foxglove, and buttercups. Tree branches that overhang the house should be removed as well -- even if they're in good health, they still may pose a fire hazard as well as allow wildlife such as squirrels and racoons access to the roof, where they may proceed to enter the home through the attic or chimney.  Trees with roots that are growing into sewer and water lines will probably have to be removed as well as any that have developed dangerous leans or are growing up through paved surfaces and making them unstable. 

Your furnace care specialist will be able to answer any questions you may have about furnace maintenance best practices for rental property. You can also visit websites like