It can be all too easy to “set and forget” when you have a property manager or great tenants looking after your investment property, but as an investor, it’s important to cast an occasional eye over your assets and make sure everything is running smoothly.
Ideally, you should aim to touch base with your property at least once a year. Summer is a great time to do this. It can mean starting the new year on the right foot and setting yourself up for a successful year’s tenancy.
We’ve created a checklist of some of the things you might like to look out for and consider over the coming months to optimise your investment for 2023.
1. Visit the property in person
Nothing beats an in-person inspection to identify any potential problems and making sure your tenants and property manager are really taking care of your property. Organise a suitable time with your manager and tenant and take a little tour of the place, checking inside and out for any deterioration or other issues that will need your attention throughout the year.
2. Draw up a maintenance and repair schedule
Based on your visit or on your manager’s reports, you can organise an annual schedule to work through any maintenance or repair issues that you identified during the on-site visit. Planning ahead this way will make budgeting easier and also provide a clear framework for your tenant, who will be happy to know that you are aware of and will deal with problems in a timely way.
3. Ask about potential vacancies
It might be a good idea to get your property manager to ask your tenants if they are planning to vacate the property for any length of time, for example, to go on a holiday over the summer break. If they are, it could be an ideal opportunity for you to carry out more extensive maintenance jobs such as repainting or repointing with a minimum of fuss. If forewarned, they will be able to leave the property ready for tradespeople to come in and get the job done efficiently.
4. Do a security check
Having your property empty for any length of time has inherent risks, so if your tenants are planning a holiday, make sure that your property is safely locked up and secure. When you visit the property, check all of the window and door fastenings are working well and have all the alarm systems checked by professionals. Another thing you might like to check if your tenants are away is that they have not sub-let the property in the interim without your written permission, which can void your insurance. You can ask your property manager to do this for you.
5. Get gardening
Spring and summer are busy times for gardeners, and if your property has greenery, it can easily get out of hand if it isn’t maintained, causing safety hazards and making the property look untidy. Whether through strata or your property manager, it’s a great idea to step up garden management in the warmer months in line with your lease agreement. If your tenants are keen gardeners, you might like to discuss plans for the garden with them.
6. Spring clean
If your property is vacant, summer is the ideal time to do a deep clean in preparation for new tenants. Open everything up and air the property out thoroughly. Clean the carpets and wipe out the cupboards, drawers and wardrobes. Change the filters on extractor fans and air-conditioning units if you have them.
Exteriors should also be inspected and cleaned, especially the gutters, which may accumulate leaf litter and twigs, causing a fire hazard in the hotter months. Sweep away cobwebs and make sure all the exterior finishes are prepared to withstand the weather for another year. If you are responsible for pool upkeep, make sure it’s safe and ready in time for a summer full of swimming.
7. Consider updating appliances
Black Friday, which falls at the end of November, has caught on around the world, and it can be the perfect time to nab a great bargain on new appliances for your apartment. If you’ve identified issues with any of your appliances or would like to add value to your investment by installing a new dishwasher or air-conditioning unit, now is the time to act.
8. Plan the year ahead
Arrange to talk through the year ahead with your property manager. Discuss budget, plans for attracting or holding on to tenants, maintenance and repairs that need to be done through the year, and any opportunities for adding value to your asset.
Keeping tabs on your investment property can make a huge difference in how efficiently and effectively it works for you. Take the time this summer to optimise your asset to ensure 2023 is a successful, happy year for you, your tenant, and your property.
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