Regular property inspections help you keep track of whether your property is being looked after, but they can also flag things that could do with some attention.
Spring is a great time to consider improvements, alterations or even minor renovations that can be made to the property – and it’s not just to boost the spirits of your tenants! Upgrading appliances, repainting interiors, exteriors and fences, changing window dressings, light fittings or floor coverings; these are all valuable ways to improve the value of your property incrementally through your ownership, rather than all at once if you decide to sell.
Refreshing the décor, appliances or colour schemes also keep your property up to date for when it goes back onto the rental market. It’s difficult to ask a premium price for rent, if you still have 1970’s shag pile carpet, dusty vertical blinds on the windows or whitegoods that should have stayed in the previous century. If you have a reliable long-term tenant this may not be a consideration, however paying attention in small ways to the property over time, will certainly soften the regular blows of rental increases as they happen.
Appliances are a great place to start – especially if yours have depreciated beyond your ability to make a claim against them. You can replace old appliances with higher value ones, to make them eligible for depreciation claims. You can also add new appliances that weren’t’ there before – such as a dishwasher or a washing machine - as assets to the property to boost your claimable expenses at tax time.
As soon as the shiny new appliance is installed however, other things may start to look a little more tired than they once did. When your property manager attends the property for its regular inspection, it’s a good idea to ask them to check on more than just whether your tenant is taking care of the place. Let them know you’d also like an overall review of the property. Get them to take a look at its general appearance and condition and make a note of anything they think could be attended to. Is the carpet starting to wear thin? Could the floorboards do with a polish? Maybe just the window trims and doors could be painted to freshen things up.
Talking to the tenant about how things are working is also useful – your property manager could ask if there have been any issues they haven’t thought to report, such as the intermittent flickering of a light globe, a vaguely dripping tap or strange noises from the hot water or heating systems. These could be indicators that something might need to be replaced and if it’s getting close to its use by date anyway, it could save you money later. If you have the time, money and inclination so why not do it now, before disaster strikes and save yourself a potential expensive call out fee on a messy repair?
Make a list of all the possibilities then refine it by identifying which upgrades will deliver the most value to you, for the amount you are willing to invest.