When left unmaintained, vacant properties can start deteriorating quickly. It doesn’t take long for weeds to grow to 6 feet or more, and before you know it, your property’s aesthetics can look pretty shabby.
Tenants won’t find your property attractive if it’s buried in a mess of overgrown weeds. You’ve worked hard to turn your investment property into a revenue-generating rental unit. You’ve planned everything possible. You’ve calculated your capitalization rate, performed important renovations, and you’ve probably calculated the day you’ll finally pay off your mortgage.
When you’re a landlord, you don’t want your vacant properties to deteriorate. However, you might not have enough time to maintain your vacancies. If that’s the situation you’re facing, here are some tips to keep your vacant properties looking great.
1.Find a tenant as soon as possible
The most obvious way to keep a vacant property from becoming overrun by weeds and debris is to fill that vacancy fast. If you’re struggling to find a tenant, get to the bottom of why you can’t fill your vacancy. For instance, is the market slow? Is your rent priced too high? Does your property need major renovations? Is your property in a bad neighborhood?
Find out what’s keeping you from renting your property and then fix it to the best of your ability. If you have to lower your rent, do so. If you have to make extensive repairs, do it. The longer you wait, the more money you’ll lose.
2.Contract regular landscaping services
Even though your property is vacant, you still need to perform regular landscaping tasks like mowing the lawn, weed eating, and trimming tree branches. If you let it go for too long, it will look bad and be a pain to manage later.
Not every homeowner is lucky enough to have a random lawn care company take care of their yard for free. Don’t hold out for kindness from a stranger. You might get lucky, but chances are, you won’t.
3.Hire a neighborhood kid to mow the lawn each week
Neighborhood kids can be a fantastic resource for yard work. There are some dedicated, aspiring entrepreneurs out there just waiting for a regular gig. Find a kid willing to mow the lawn once a week. Pay extra if they’ll fertilize and water your lawn to keep it lush and green. It will be a win-win for everyone.
In addition to getting regular lawn care, you’ll be giving them a great opportunity to practice discipline, reliability, and consistency.
4.Spend the weekend in your property once in a while
Once in a while, spend a weekend in your vacant property. Hopefully, your property won’t be vacant for more than a couple months, but if you foresee a long-term vacancy, stay in the home at least one weekend every month.
Keeping the inside of your property warm is the most important reason to spend a weekend in your vacant property. When nobody lives in a house, especially in winter, the lack of warmth can cause problems. For example, in the cold months, pipes can burst and heavy snow can damage the roof.
While it’s good to spend a weekend on your property, be careful about asking other people to house sit for you. Once you allow someone to occupy your property, even for one night, you’re inviting the possibility of inheriting a squatter.
If you think that can’t happen to you, and that your friends are better than that, don’t be so sure. Plenty of people are caught off guard when once-welcomed guests become obnoxious squatters.
5.Pay someone to wipe down your property’s exterior
A little bit of soap and water will go a long way to maintain the curb appeal of your vacant property. It won’t take long for a vacant property’s exterior to collect dust, mud, dirt, and other debris. In fall, leaves will clutter the yard and driveway, and the wind will blow leaves around, causing some to stick to the siding.
Hire someone to wipe down the exterior of your property periodically. It doesn’t need to be done every week, but have it cleaned at least once a month. This way, when you do find prospective tenants, you won’t have to work so hard to make your property look decent.
Make your vacant property look like it’s occupied
Ideally, your vacant property should look like someone lives inside. Even though your neighbors will know the home is vacant, looking lived in will deter criminal activity from outsiders. Ultimately, a neat and clean vacant property will be easier to rent when you find prospective tenants.