Keep February Fun

February is the month when we’re on the cusp of spring, but it’s still snowy and cold outside.
Here are some fun activities to keep February fun!

Refresh Your Bed

The most inviting beds mix and match colors, patterns and textures. If you love your white or neutral sheet sets, experiment with pillows or throws in new hues.
DIY Snow Globe
Snow is quite actually quite mesmerizing — when you don’t have to shovel and wade through the slush. Embrace its magical qualities by having bored kids make a glittery snow globe when the weather outside is frightful.
Make Your Space Smell Sweet
Mask bathroom odors by placing a couple drops of your favorite essential oil inside the toilet paper roll. Or, fill your linen closet with the aroma of cedar and lavender with this clever hanger. And it’s easy to mix your own special potpourri with ingredients found in the kitchen.
Game Night
Get board games and the family and friends together for a night filled with your favorites.
Homemade Pizza Party
Make your own pizza from scratch. Try traditional recipes or let your imagination run wild!
Photo Nostalgia
Organize photos and go over your fond memories with friends and family.

Good Practices for Normal Wear and Tear versus Damage

“Normal wear and tear” and “damage” are difficult to define; but you can protect both yourself and your tenants from misunderstandings or confusion.
Communication is key
If both you and your tenants are clear about the condition of the unit at move-in, the importance of promptly reporting needed repairs, and expectations at move-out, the tenancy and the end of the tenancy will be smoother.
Insist on a walk-through with new tenants.
At the walk-through new tenants will have an opportunity to note in writing existing damage and wear and tear in the rental. Encourage tenants to examine the rental from floor to ceiling, open and close doors, test all appliances and locks, looks for leaks in the kitchen and bathrooms, and look for signs of pest infestations. In addition, consider taking dated photographs of the unit for your tenant file. Both landlords and tenants are protected by the walk-through: tenants can’t be blamed for damage that was noted in the file at the beginning of the tenancy and landlords have a baseline to refer to upon move-out.
Require in the lease that tenants promptly notify you of needed repairs.
Make it clear to tenants that if they don’t notify you of a leaky pipe or broken dehumidifier, they could be responsible for any damages. Make it easy for tenants to notify you by making your contact information available.
Provide tenants with a “Wear and Tear versus Damages” checklist.
Give new tenants similar charts and have them initial them at the time they sign the lease agreement. In addition, give new tenants a cleaning checklist, so they know what will be expected of them at move-out.
Before move-out refer tenants to the “Wear and Tear versus Damages” checklist.
Being reminded of the difference between “normal wear and tear” and “damage” can be helpful to tenants when they are cleaning their rentals in preparation for moving out.

A Smoking Unit Makes a Turn Expensive

The restoration checklist for cleaning an apartment that has been heavily smoked in is long and expensive.
Clean or replace if needed, floors, baseboards and trim, walls, ceiling, door chime, shelving, light fixtures, outlets and switches, closet organizers and rods.
To turn the unit, it costs at least 3-4 times more if the person in the unit was a heavy smoker.
In all, a two-bedroom apartment unit inhabited by a heavy smoker could cost in the range of $8,000 -$15,000 per unit.
The expenses come from heavy cleaning or replacements necessary to return the unit to revenue viability.
It’s no secret that some of the largest operating expenses of a property result from residents moving in and out. Lost rent in addition to advertising and leasing expenses, plus maintenance between tenancies, add up.
Finding the balance between an occupied unit that produces top-line revenue and one that is consumed by turnover costs is a task that property owners today must face.

Action Plan for a Healthy Lawn to Attract Tenants

The lawns around your property are the first thing a potential tenant sees. Make sure it’s green and beautiful for the high turnover time – spring and summer.
February is a great time to begin making plans for how the property should look during the growing season.
• Assess the lawn, beds, trees and the general landscape
• Determine what needs to be cut back, removed, culled and reshaped.
• Plot a path and follow it.
As temperatures get warmer, put your plan into action.
• Cut back ground cover and monkey grass.
• Prune plants that require pruning.
• Reduce large shrubs that are overgrown.
• Make sure bigger shrubs are but back before they start to bud.
• Check your irrigation.
• Fertilize.
April usually is the final chance to get the lawn in shape before the heat hits.
• Plant shrubs, grasses and other new plant life.
• Trim trees.
• Apply pesticides.
• Mulch beds and other areas.