NO. 3 Survey the interior for maintenance items Doing an interior inspection once a quarter encourag- es your tenants to keep the property in good shape and can help you uncover issues when they may be easier and less expensive to remedy. Regular maintenance can also help larger systems like your HVAC last longer, saving you money over time. Complete these mainte- nance tasks this spring: • Check that all electrical outlets are operational to keep electrical hazards at bay. •  Clean the space under the dryer and dryer exhaust vents to prevent a fire.

•  Check washer supply lines to be sure there are no leaks.

•  Have the AC inspected and ducts cleaned by a professional.

•  Check the water heater. It needs cleaning at least once a year to stay in top shape and extend its life. •  Test your sump pump to make sure it comes on when water is poured into the sump pit. NO. 4 Take steps to lower your liability risk With tenants likely to be outside and the potential for more frequent guests in the spring, it’s imperative to pro- tect yourself from liability risks like:

Spring into Early Success this Season with these Six Maintenance Steps TIPS TO HELP YOU MAINTAIN YOUR PROPERTIES AMIDST SPRING WEATHER CHANGES.

•  Slip-and-falls on uneven pavement damaged by winter weather

by BreAnn Stephenson

•  Dog attacks


or many of us, "springing forward” into Daylight Savings Time is when we leave winter behind. This year, it arrives March 10. Whether you invest in areas that experience dramatic or moderate temperature shifts, the following tips will help you stay on top of routine maintenance and avoid major expenditures. NO. 1 Examine your property’s exterior from top to bottom Remove dead trees, trim bushes and clean up the yard. Removing hazardous trees and limbs will help you avoid a downed tree or costly roof puncture when spring storms arrive. Clean up the yard and fill in any small sinkholes to keep tenants or their guests from injury. The same goes for all driveways, walkways, stairs, and decks. Look for any trip hazards or signs of wear-and-tear and promptly remedy them. Make sure all guardrails are up-to-code and securely in place. Slip-and-falls are one of the most com-

mon liability claims we see for real estate investors. After the yard is tidy, turn your attention to the prop- erty’s exterior. A solid roof and clean gutters are key in keeping spring rains from ruining paint and sheetrock on the inside. Downspouts should route water at least three feet into the yard, away from your foundation. Proper drainage can help you keep the right moisture level in the soil next to your foundation. It’s an easy fix that can save you a bundle in foundation repairs. NO. 2 Make sure all fire protection devices are in working order Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be tested monthly to make sure they are consistently working. Daylight Savings Time is an easy marker to remember for changing batteries and replacing alarms that are 10 years old or older. Lastly, fire extinguishers should be checked and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

•  Falling trees and limbs that damage others’ property and cause injuries

• Injuries on trampolines and play equipment

Take a walk around the exterior and interior of your property looking for potential problem areas and remedy them. Make sure tenants are following lease regulations, including pet policies. Foster open communication with tenants so they feel comfortable with you and see it as a priority to contact you if they discover a potential hazard in their living space.

> Continued on :: PG 97

BreAnn Stephenson is the Loss Prevention Director at National Real Estate Insurance Group, which specializes in protecting real estate investors with custom-coverage options for investment properties. Learn more at or contact her at

46 | think realty magazine :: march / april 2019

thinkrealty . com | 47

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