12 Things Every Landlord Should Do NOW to Prepare Rentals for Winter

12 Things Every Landlord Should Do NOW to Prepare Rentals for Winter

2 min read
Drew Sygit

Drew is a classic overachiever, bringing intensity and passion to everything he does. While in the mortgage business, he rose to a VP position at the first broker he worked for and then started his own company.

In the pursuit of excellence, Drew obtained several mortgage designations and joined mortgage and several affiliate association boards. He also did WebX presentations and public speaking engagements. It was during this time, he started personally investing in single family rentals, leading him to start Royal Rose Property Management with two partners. He also joined the board of a local real estate investors association, eventually becoming its president.

The real estate crash led to an offer from the banking industry to manage a Michigan bank’s failed bank assets they acquired from the FDIC. The bank went on to eventually acquire four failed banks from the FDIC, increasing from $100MM in assets to over $2B while he was there. After that he took over as president of Royal Rose Property Management and speaks at national property management conventions.

Former board member of Michigan Mortgage Brokers Association, Financial Planners Association of Michigan & Mariners Inn (nonprofit)

Former taskforce Member of Michigan Association of CPAs (though not a CPA)

Involved in mortgage business for over 18 years, obtained mortgage designations: Certified Mortgage Planner, Certified Mortgage Consultant, & Certified Residential Mortgage Specialist

Board member of Real Estate Investors Association of Oakland; President since 2012

2009-2012 Shared-Loss Manager for Talmer Bank (now Chemical Bank) handling FDIC failed bank loan loss strategy, reporting, REO management, collections, & gap analysis

Started investing in real estate in 1996

President of Royal Rose Property Management since 2001

Drew received an MBA from Wayne State University, concentration in Finance & Marketing.



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As the cold approaches, it’s the duty of every landlord, be they property manager or real estate investor managing directly, to prepare their properties for the upcoming season. That’s no small amount of work, done correctly. Let’s take a look:

Fill All Gaps in the Exterior

Gaps around doors, windows, pipes, conduits, and vents cause significant heat loss when unattended. Furthermore, as the cold drives pests like mice and roaches to find warmth and easy food sources, those gaps can easily become the ports of entry for the annoyances, and that’s a whole new layer of expenses.

Get Preventative Maintenance for the Heater

Every year, you should pay for a standard preventative-maintenance routine for the heater on every one of your properties — including a filter change. It’s a small expense today that will save you a much larger expense in the future.

Check the Attic Insulation

Most of the time, this is a two-minute task involving sticking your head into the attic and shining a flashlight around. Like the previous point, though, on those occasions when there is a serious problem, you’ll be very happy you found out and ordered corrective measures before you discover that your tenant is overworking your heater.

Inspect the Roof

The wintertime is by far the most difficult time to deal with missing shingles or other roof-related problems. Make sure you don’t have them before they’re buried under the snow.


Clean the Gutters

Gutters that get clogged during the fall can cause poor drainage of future melting snow, which can in turn cause all kinds of problems down the road.

Related: Winter is Coming! The Investor’s 7-Point Checklist to Prep Rental Properties for Colder Months

Winterize the Sprinklers

If you happen to have a sprinkler system, you’ll need to get all of the water emptied out of it before it freezes — failure will mean a cracked pipe and a useless sprinkler (and possibly a huge water bill) come spring!

Prune Anything Near the House

Snow and ice can make trees and shrubs sag and break. Rather than let that happen haphazardly — and potentially damage the house — trim before the snow hits.

Seal Cracks in the Driveway and Walkways

A small crack pre-winter can become a large crack by springtime just by the action of water freezing. A concrete sealer can help enormously.

Schedule Snow Removal Services

If you’re going to have someone else keep the driveway and walkways free of snow this winter, get the service lined up and scheduled now so it’s off your plate once the inevitable wintertime emergencies hit.

winter house

Check the Insulation Around the Pipes

Look for un-insulated pipes, and get (at the minimum) foam sleeves around them so they won’t freeze when temperatures drop. Frozen pipes burst easily, so don’t let them freeze in the first place.

Check Smoke and CO2 Detectors

Tenants tend to keep circulation through the house at a minimum over the winter, so you need to make sure that the emergency detectors are functional and have fresh batteries.

Related: 7 Easy Tips for Filling Vacancies in the Dreaded Winter

Possibly Clean the Ducts

This one isn’t necessary every year, but at least every three years, you should have a professional come in and clean the heating ducts thoroughly to keep the heater working efficiently for as long as possible.

If you don’t have a property manager, that’s a list that can easily take up a few days for every house you run (and require you to have a mountain of handyman skills on top of it). If you do have a property manager, you can simply forward this list to your PM and ask them to let you know when it’s done — problem solved!

Anything to add to this list?

Let me know with a comment!