One of the biggest costs of owning single-family rental properties is tenant turnover. A vacant rental home, even one that’s empty for just a few weeks or months, will need repairs and maintenance, utilities paid, and a new tenant found and screened. In such situations, any little bit you can do can help keep costs down and minimize impact, particularly with utilities. Simply shutting off the utilities is a terrible idea – frozen pipes and mildew growth are expensive items to repair, and no prospective tenant will want to tour a property in the dark. Yet, there are a few simple ways to keep utility costs down during times of vacancy.
It may sound like a small change, but installing LED lightbulbs throughout your rental house can add up to big savings. LED lights use less electricity, helping to keep your bill as low as possible. Switching to LED lightbulbs comes with the added benefit of needing to change light bulbs less often since most LED bulbs will last between 25 and 50,000 hours. This is important because leaving a light on in a vacant property is a great way to keep vandals and burglars at bay. When using LED lightbulbs, you can keep your costs down and your property safer at the same time.
While you will need your utilities in your rental property to stay on, that does not mean that you need to maintain the same climate settings you would if the property were occupied. Rather, set the thermostat to a minimum comfort level in winter and a maximum level in the summer. In this way, you can keep your property from roasting in the summer and freezing in the winter without breaking the bank. You can then temporarily adjust your setting just before a showing to ensure that your prospective tenants have a pleasant experience.
Air Sealing and Insulation
Drafty homes are usually not energy-efficient, adding as much as 20% to utility bills. That is why sealing your rental property against drafts and air leaks is such a money saver. Simply adding caulk and weather-stripping around doors and windows is an inexpensive and easy way to reduce your energy bills. Adding some extra insulation to your property’s attic and exterior walls can have an even more dramatic impact on the home’s energy bills. Because the combination of these two small things will help a home’s furnace and air conditioning unit work more efficiently, you are likely to see an immediate drop in the costs of heating and cooling the home. And as a bonus, your furnace and air conditioning unit will likely last longer if being used less.
These simple strategies are quick and easy to implement, but might help you save a lot on utility costs during a tenant turnover. For more information on ways to save money during tenant turnover, contact your local Real Property Management office today.