One of the most important aspects of selling or renting property is keeping up with the maintenance. Are the appliances up to date and in good working condition? Is everything clean and aesthetically pleasing? As a real estate agent, property manager, landlord, and prospective buyer and/or tenant, there are certain technicalities that require keen attention to detail. Maintaining properties can be quite costly, but taking care of these items will help the home/apartment look great, keep utility bills low, and prevent future repairs.
Foundation- The foundation of the property might not be something that comes to mind when looking to buy or rent. It's easy to assume that since the property is on the market it must be in good condition. However, there might be an issue that the owner did not notice, and it is always better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to check for moisture and cracks that may be a potential hazard in the future.
Roof- The roof can be inspected from both the outside and inside of the property. It may be hard to notice, but try to look for loose tiles or shingles that need to be replaced. Once inside the property, check the ceiling for any bubbles or wet marks. This is an indication that there is a leak that needs to be handled before it gets any worse.
Paint- Interior painting is usually touched up before the showing of the property. If not, it will be handled before the move in date. For rental properties, it is important to make note of any scuff marks, holes, or other damages in order to ensure the new tenant will not be charged.
Chimney- If the property has a chimney it would be wise to hire a chimney sweep to clean it out before selling or renting. The point of this is to remove the buildup of flammable substances in order to reduce the risk of a hazardous chimney fire.
Water heater- Water heaters tend to create some pesky maintenance issues. Typical water heater issues include leaking tanks, no hot water, strange noises in the tank, and discolored or funky smelling water. To avoid having these issues make sure to have the temperature and pressure relief value tested regularly.
Air Conditioning/Heat- Air conditioning and heat may not be of utmost importance depending on the climate of where the property is located, but it is reliant upon the residents' preference. It is best to make sure that all of the filters are clean in case the unit will be used so the property is considered to have habitable living conditions.
Washer/Dryer- Some rental properties come equipped with a washer and dryer in the unit. Others simply have a laundry facility on site. Whatever the case, be sure the machines are functioning properly. Also, make sure the exhaust duct line is clean and all hoses are in good condition. Most properties that are for sale do not come equipped with a washer and dryer. Before buying these appliances, double check if there is a gas or electric hook up in the house so you buy the appropriate machines.
Refrigerator- Refrigerators can cause quite a few different problems. They can leak, completely shut down, make obnoxious sounds, etc. Each of these issues can be avoided by simply taking care of the appliance. Make sure the temperature gauge and compressor are working consistently. Also, try to keep the coil as clean as possible. This will increase energy efficiency, which will in turn keep the utility cost low.
Garbage disposal- Garbage disposals are fairly easy to maintain. However, if they are not operated properly, a garbage disposal can very easily break down or clog. Be aware of the basic garbage disposal do's and don'ts. Do: keep it clean (hot water and baking soda), run it regularly, grind food with a strong flow of cold water. Don't: grind glass, plastic, or metal, grind large pieces of food, pour grease/oil down the drain. Using cold water will cause any grease/oils that do happen to get down the drain to solidify, making them easier to chop up before reaching the trap.
Doors/Windows- Doors and windows are a huge part of the security of a property. Hinges and locks needs to be in good working condition to ensure residents' safety. Woodwork around doors and windows needs to be installed properly in order to prevent leaks. Leaks can cause wood rot. New windows or doors cannot be properly installed if this occurs.
Flooring- Before renting a property it should have been professionally cleaned. This is referred to as "vacancy cleaning/deep clean". This will include carpet/floor cleaning in order to sanitize the property from anything that happened while the previous tenants were living there. This is sometimes the case when it comes to buying, but depending on the situation, the cleaning is usually the responsibility of the new owners.
Smoke alarms/Carbon monoxide detectors- Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are very important for the safety of future residents. Be sure all alarms and detectors throughout the property have working batteries. There are about thirty-seven states that require carbon monoxide detectors in residential properties. Even if it is not a state requirement where the property is located, it is wise to have these devices in good working condition to prevent a potential tragedy.
Although this may seem like a simple list, keeping these items updated and in good working condition will improve the quality of the property, which will help it sell or rent out quicker. It's common sense: if appliances are taken care of properly they will be less likely to cause any problems. Maintaining these items will also ensure happier residents, lower monthly bills, and less costly and less problematic future repairs.