Your investment property’s autumnal checklist

As summer winds down and the air gets a bit crisper, there’s no excuse for overlooking your investment property’s management.

You always want your investment property to attract as much interest as possible and the change of season offers a good opportunity to make this happen. If you're in between tenancies or just looking to make some improvements, here are some things to think about.

Gutter time

This is the ideal time to get your mind in the gutter. Make sure all the guttering, pipes and downspouts on your property are up to scratch. Faulty pipes can cause water damage to your property's exterior, so check for rust and corrosion, and clear out any built-up debris.

Cooler weather brings rain, so inspect the roof for any weak spots or leaks that could create problems in the long-run. You want to avoid any issues that could discourage tenants.

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Ask your property manager for a condition report and specifically ask that the condition of your guttering is checked.

Seal it up

A warm, dry and healthy house will appeal to all tenants. Mould and dampness are not easy to get rid of, once established, and they’re one of the most common causes of problems between tenants and landlords. So, prevent these problems before they start. Ask your property manager to check external doors and windows for gaps, cracks or faulty locks. Seal cracked windows and door frames to block damp and cold air from entering the house. Consider thermal insulated curtains if your rental property is in a cool location - these stop heat escaping and can even save a few dollars from your tenant’s energy bill.

Safety check

Heaters and fireplaces are fire hazards during the cold months, so equip your property for the risks by inspecting smoke detectors. Property managers typically check detectors as part of their condition reporting regimes, but if you’re self-managing, you need to make sure your property’s smoke detectors are working and properly positioned. Think about installing a fire extinguisher and tuck it away somewhere discrete and accessible, like under the kitchen sink or in the pantry. Fire blankets should also be installed near cookers.

Clean

Why wait until spring to clean up your rental property? Gardens can become tatty during the cooler seasons, so prepare the greenery by weeding and replenishing the garden beds. A property with a lovingly tended garden will almost certainly attract a tenant that appreciates your efforts and will follow your example.

Tax Tips

As we head into autumn, the end of financial year isn’t far off either. That means it’s time to think about the other things you could be doing to maximise your rental property’s yield before you lodge this year’s tax return.

As your property gets older, things start to wear out. The Australian Tax Office allows property investors to claim depreciation deductions related to the building structure, plant and equipment.

Tax experts recommend that rental property owners obtain a Tax Depreciation Report before end of financial year. For an investment of a few hundred dollars, you can potentially add thousands of dollars to your annual return.

You need to be careful that your claims are made correctly though. Because tax depreciation can be complex, you should engage a specialist property quantity surveyor to arrange your tax depreciation schedule. Some guarantee that you’ll recover more than your outlay on their report so keep that in mind.

So what’s on your autumnal checklist and do you have any tips to share about how you’ve improved the appeal or returns from your rental investment property?