Landlording & Rental Properties

4 Tips to Maintain the Value of Your Investment in an Unfamiliar Climate

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Finance, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Marketing, Mortgages & Creative Financing
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If you’ve become serious about investing in property but have yet to invest outside your familiar area, there are factors you should think about before venturing too far. The most important factor to consider is climate.

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For example, if you’re a successful landlord in sunny California, you’ll likely never have to worry about a massive snowstorm caving in your roof. If you’ve never lived in a harsh winter climate and you buy property on the East Coast, you’ll be completely unprepared when winter hits.

No matter how seasoned you become as a property investor, the moment you buy property in an unfamiliar climate, you’re going to be back on a hefty learning curve.

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

Here Are Some Tips to Stay on Top of Your Game

1. Research Common Weather-Related Home Repairs in Your Target City

A quick search on the internet can reveal weather-related repairs commonly undertaken by homeowners in your area of interest. Find out what most homeowners deal with, and check past weather forecasts to find out how severe the weather can get.

2. Learn How to Keep Pipes From Freezing

Frozen pipes are a big problem in areas where temperatures dip below freezing. However, frozen pipes aren’t exclusive to harsh climates. All it takes is one extremely cold night for them to freeze. After all, frozen water is just the science of temperature.

No matter where you invest in property, you should always be prepared to handle frozen pipes. The standard trick is to drip the faucets all night long to keep water moving. Moving water usually won’t freeze. This works well for areas that don’t get hit with constant freezing temps. For areas that do get hit with continual freezing temps, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with heating tape.

Heating tape isn’t actually tape. It’s an electrical cable that wraps around your pipes and keeps them warm. It’s important to know the difference between non-regulating tape and regulating tape. Not knowing the difference can contribute to a fire. According to Kefauver Lumber: “Regulating heat tape varies the heat output automatically, by gauging the surrounding temperatures. Heat tape fires can happen if a non-regulating tape is left unattended for long periods of time and during warmer weather.” They recommend unplugging non-regulated heat tape when it’s not needed — or using regulating heat tape to be safe.

3. Get Wood Stoves And Fireplaces Annually Inspected

It’s imperative to have your wood stoves and fireplaces inspected each year. You’re probably aware that creosote build-up can cause fire, but it’s not just the creosote you need to worry about.

All furnaces are prone to leaking carbon monoxide if not properly maintained. All it takes is one crack or leak for this deadly gas to fill your home with deadly consequences.

Wood stoves in colder climates get used far more often than in warmer areas. You might be used to hiring a chimney sweep once every few years. In a colder climate, you should expect to hire one each year if a wood stove is the primary source of heat.

4. Cold Climates Aren’t the Only Climates That do Damage

While the most extreme differences occur when switching from warm to cold climates, there are factors to be prepared for when investing in warmer climates as well. Sun damage is one of the biggest to be aware of.

The value of your property is largely determined by its exterior presentation, which includes the landscaping as well as your siding and paint job.

The sun’s UV rays break down the chemical bonds in paint at the molecular level. This causes paint to crack, peel, blister, bubble, and fade. It’s impossible to completely prevent this, but with the right paint, you can mitigate the extreme effects.

The solution is to paint your exterior with paint specially formulated with UV inhibitors that will minimize the damage from the sun.

Related: 6 Not-So-Obvious Tips From Experienced Landlords

The Bottom Line?

Be Prepared For Extra Work in Unfamiliar Climates

It’s tempting to jump on the opportunity to invest in a new property when you find a good deal. However, when you’re unprepared to deal with the climate, your investment may take more work (and money) than you anticipated.

By knowing what’s required in a new climate, you can prepare and preserve your investment properties, and over time, it will become second-nature.

What did I miss?

Can you think of more weather-related issues to brush up on? Share them below!

Larry is an independent, full-time writer and consultant. His writing covers a broad range of topics including business, investment and technology. His contributions include
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    Andrew Syrios Residential Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, MO
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Great article Larry!
    Garcia Santos Real Estate Broker from 1505 Elizabeth Blvd Fort Worth, TX
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Cameron Dunlap’s guide was well made and pointed some great tips.
    Cindy Larsen Rental Property Investor from Lakewood, WA
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Climates with high humidity require you to insure that adequate ventilation exists, or mold will soon exist in your property. Tenants can be resistant to using ventilation options such as windows in cold weather, and, if it is humid outside (rainy, or muggy) open or cracked windows may even increase indoor humidity. Two options I have found are portable dehumidifiers, and exhaust fans that have a built in humidity sensor. I am currently testing the second one, because some of my tenants were resistant to the perceived added electricity cost of the dehumidifier, and would not leave it turned on. The fan I bought turns on automatically from a setting inside the fan where the tenant is unlikely to get at it.