Fall is less than a week old, but here in Portland, we already see shorter days and more color in the leaves. Both are important reminders that while we can still enjoy an occasional sunny day, much colder and wetter weather is right around the corner. October is the perfect month for investment property owners to tackle a fall home maintenance checklist and bundle up your rental homes before winter sets in. Here are a few great places to start.

Trim Shrubs and Trees

Winter in the northwest means plenty of wind and rain and the occasional snowstorm. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to trim dead branches and leaves away from the shrubs and trees on your rental property. If you don’t do it while the weather is still pleasant, you might be forced into a big yard cleanup after the first major fall storm. If you have large trees on your property, fall is also a great time to hire an arborist who can assess their overall health. Sometimes trees can become heavily damaged by bugs or disease while showing few exterior signs. When that happens, they can topple in heavy winds. That’s an autumn surprise nobody wants.

Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Another essential item on your fall home maintenance checklist is to clean out gutters and downspouts. During the summer and fall, gutters and downspouts can become cluttered with debris and dead leaves. Once the rain begins in earnest, you’ll want these clear, so rainwater running off your roof flows away from your rental home instead of puddling against the foundation. If you own a two-story rental home, you may need to hire a professional to tackle this critical task.

Check Your Home’s Seals

Fall is a great time to seal up your rental property from cold air and water intrusion and keep pesky rodents out. Older homes are especially susceptible to small gaps and cracks, which allow in the cold and wet. You can install weatherstripping around doors and windows to create better seals. It’s also smart to look for small gaps on the interior and exterior of your home where mice could enter. As the temperature falls, small rodents will be searching for warmer places to live. Sealing these potential entry points will force them to look elsewhere for their winter residence.

Shut Off Exterior Faucets

Perhaps one of the worst winter home repair projects is frozen pipes that burst and cause significant flooding. This happens when cold air freezes the water inside exterior pipes causing it to expand. Property owners can prevent this from happening by turning off exterior faucets and installing styrofoam hose bibs covers. In places where winter is unusually cold, owners should also install foam block insulation in foundation vent openings to prevent cold air from collecting underneath your home.

Make Exterior Repairs

Before the wet weather begins, take a walk around your rental property with an eye towards exterior repairs. Maybe it’s a loose railing or sticking door. Perhaps the deck could use another coat of sealant. Does the roof need tiles replaced or repaired? Are there areas of your property that could become difficult or hazardous to navigate during snow or ice? You likely won’t want to tackle these projects during winter. So, the fall is a great time to make any small repairs that will keep your tenants more comfortable and safe.

Schedule Furnace and Chimney Maintenance

After months and months of warm weather, your tenants probably haven’t turned on the furnace in quite a while. Before it gets too cold, property owners should have a professional look at the furnace and perform any necessary maintenance. That way, it will be in tip-top shape all winter long, and you won’t be forced to scramble with a last minute winter repair when the furnace breaks. If a wood-burning stove heats your investment home, October is the perfect time to have the chimney cleaned. Not only will this keep hazardous smoke out of the house, but it will also protect your tenants from a potentially deadly chimney fire.

Conduct an Energy Audit

Understanding how your rental home uses energy can help you make smarter decisions about improvement projects and keep your tenant’s energy bills lower. Organizations like Energy Trust of Oregon offer resources property owners can use to audit home energy usage. They can also make suggestions on steps you can take to improve your energy score. Conducting an audit before the weather turns will give you important insight on your property before energy use increases during colder months.

Property Managers Can Help

Fortunately, you don’t have to handle your fall home maintenance checklist alone. When you partner with Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew for your property management, regular home inspections are a core part of our services. Our mission is to help you maximize and preserve your rental investments over the long term. And keeping your home in tip condition is an essential part of that process. Our in-house repair and maintenance team will examine your home for needed repairs and maintenance and help you decide which repairs are critical and which can wait. Then, we can make the repairs ourselves, refer you to one of our trusted partners, or you can handle the work yourself. Regardless of the method you choose, we’ll look after you home like it was our own.

If you’d like to learn more about our process and services, please contact us today. You can call or text us anytime at (503) 515-3170 or send us a message by filling out the contact form on our webpage. We can’t wait to talk more about your rental home and all the ways we can help you achieve your investment property goals.