It is interesting when I tour investment property in Minnesota and especially in Minneapolis. You can often tell right from the curb which landlords maintain their properties and which do not. As a real estate agent and an investor, I am more often concerned and discouraged by the lack of minor maintenance than I am about the major items. In my opinion, the minor maintenance items are death by a thousand pin-pricks over the high dollar, major repairs/replacements. The neglect of minor items also makes me question what else is wrong with this property that we are not seeing. Here are some minor items that are fast and inexpensive to fix and improve the “first impression” of your property. These tips will help you both when you sell your investment property and when you are showing the property to prospective tenants. Clean up the yard, pick up any trash, trim the bushes and trees, if there are no shrubs then consider planting some.
- If the front door knob is falling off or if the front door has been kicked in or damaged, repair or replace it. Look at the mailbox, if it is also dented or damaged replace it.
- Make sure the lighting in the front hallway in a multi-unit building is bright. Paint the hallways and staircases. Keep the halls and stairs swept and clean.
- In a multi-unit building, if the apartment doors are damaged or need paint, repair them or repaint them.
- If the building has an odor of pet, smoke, or mildew, fix by removing the offender (no not the tenant!).
- Clean up the laundry room and/or the furnace room. Paint them and put in bright lights.
- If the blinds on the front windows are damaged, replace them. If they are missing or the tenants have put sheets up over the windows, remedy.
- Walk around the outside of the building and look at the steps, the screens, the fascia. Replace, repair or repaint anything that does not look perfect.
- Confirm that you have door bumpers on all the doors and repair any damage in the walls.
- Look under every sink for any dripping drains and repair both the plumbing and then paint or re-skin the inside of the cabinet.
- Re-caulk the tubs and showers if they have mold growing in them.
- In Minnesota in the winter, make sure when you are going to show the property (to buyers or new tenants) that the sidewalks are absolutely clear of snow and ice. Clear a path around the building to make it easier for the buyers to inspect the outside.
Many of these above suggestions are easy and inexpensive, but the best way to tackle these items is to do a little every month. Then when you are ready to sell your investment property or rent to a new tenant, it is closer to looking perfect.