It happens every year. There is another needless death from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Do you know what the signs and symptoms are of this silent killer? Read the rest of this entry →
At this time of year, we should all think about keeping our homes safe from some of the common hazards that go along with Christmas trees and decorations, both interior and exterior lights, and of course fireplaces. If you have rental property, this is a great time to remind your tenants of all the ways they can help keep YOUR property and their home safe during the holidays.
The holidays should be a magical time for children. Yet each year, hospital emergency rooms treat about 8700 people for injuries, such as falls, cuts and shocks, related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees.
Why not put together a simple newsletter of Christmas safety tips for your tenants,and offer an incentive for getting the rent in before the first of January? Here are some sound tips for keeping Christmas safe. Read the rest of this entry →
Let’s face it; whether or not we like it, clogged drains are part of life. They just show up unannounced every now and then. And for anyone that has rental property, you know firsthand that they show up with much more frequency. What’s the reason for that? Do tenants lose more hair than the rest of us?
Landlords hate driving across town to clear clogged drains. Calling a plumber is expensive not to mention that you have a tenant that is unhappy until the plumber finally does show up.
I have found what I like to call the miracle tool. It’s called “Zip It”. Read the rest of this entry →
According to our metro police department, they are experiencing a spike in copper theft and vandalism in vacant properties. I’m sure this is also happening in other areas around the country. To help real estate investors prevent these acts of theft and vandalism, they have provided our local REIA group with an extensive list of things you can do to keep your property safe.
Always keep garage doors closed and locked. Intruders may seek entrance through the garage, burglarize the garage or even use tools stored in your garage to break into your home. Keep tools in a locked location. The single lock on the garage door is not enough to keep intruders from prying up the opposite side and crawling in.
Secure your garage door by:
Windows naturally impose a great security problem. One way to protect windows is by using unbreakable, transparent polycarbonate materials which look like glass, but are very difficult to break. The material is very expensive however. Another method of protecting windows is by installing burglar bars. These should be easily opened from the inside with a key or latch that requires no special knowledge to operate. Prior to installation of these bars, be sure to check your local fire and building requirements. Another consideration is to install storm windows that not only offer burglar protection but also conserve energy. The primary interest in securing windows is to eliminate attempts at entry by prying open the window. Most burglars avoid breaking glass due to fear of attracting attention.
Warning: One bedroom window on the ground and second floor must be left available as a fire exit. The bedroom window may often be the quickest and safest means of escape if fire occurs at night.
Good exterior lighting is important, especially when the yard area is obscured by shrubbery. Locate outside lights under the eaves where it would be difficult for an intruder to reach them. An inexpensive timer or photoelectric cell will automatically turn lights on at dusk and off at dawn.
There are several types of lighting that work well for outdoor security. Some of them are:
Other inexpensive outdoor deterrents
Any alarm system should include these four things:
In addition to the alarm sounding at the residence, your system should transmit a signal to the alarm company. This will insure notification of the police.
One thing is for sure, as the problem of vacant houses increases due to the economy, real estate investors will have to become even more vigilant at keeping their investments safe.
While natural gas prices are lower in some places than they were last year, the cost of heating your home can still be very costly. Every time you sit down to watch the news or you pick up a newspaper, you hear about how natural gas prices are on the rise. This is not good news, especially during the cold winter months when you want to be warm. Listed below are 5 money saving tips that you can use to cut down on your gas usage and lower your heating bills substantially.
Lower your thermostat.
Research has shown that by lowering the thermostat even one degree, you can save up to five percent on your heating costs. Programmable thermostats are great because once they are properly set up; they automatically lower the temperature in your home. You will never again get to work and remember that you forgot to turn down the heat! Ideally, you should program it to set the temperature lower when you are at work and when you are sleeping.
Maintain your furnace.
Your furnace is a key element to your family's comfort and it needs to be properly maintained in order to function properly. Maintaining your furnace is also key to lowering your heating bills. It is recommended that your furnace be professionally cleaned and serviced at least once a year. The filter is a very important and often neglected heating component. A dirty filter restricts air flow and causes more energy to be used to run the furnace. It is generally recommended that it be changed at least once a month. However, if you live in a new construction area, you may need to change it more often than a home located in an established area.
Turn water heater temperature down.
We often find temperatures on water heaters that are set much higher than recommended. The typical recommended temperature setting is 120 degrees however some dishwashers require a higher heat setting. Check the manual for your dishwasher and lower the water heater temperature if you can. You should also consider insulating the water line starting from where it comes out of the water heater and continuing along the exposed length. It is estimated that making these simple adjustments can save up to ten percent on the cost of heating your water.
Fill the gaps.
Homes can leak air from many different areas and it is important to inspect your home for gaps. The areas most prone to air leakage / infiltration include windows and doors where they meet the house as well as any areas where pipes, vents or electrical conduits are run through the siding and into the home. All of these areas should be inspected and sealed as needed to prevent air and water penetration. If you have windows that are very old and are in poor condition, it may be wise to install replacement windows.
Upgrade your furnace.
Unfortunately, older heating units and water heaters are not as efficient and cost effective to operate as newer models. For example, if your water heater is more than 14 years old, you can purchase a new unit that is up to fifteen percent more efficient than the old unit. Installing new gas units is costly initially, but can really save you money over the long term.
Landlords are always concerned about safety issues in their investment property. But there is no better time than during the holidays, to remind your tenants of some basic steps they can take to keep themselves and the property they live in safe. Holiday decorations present many “opportunities” for landlords to encounter additional liability. Here area some Christmas Safety Tips for you.
Indoor Christmas Lights
Indoor Christmas lights should be replaced every 3-4 years for safety however most of us tend to keep them a lot longer than that. Those tiny wires can be easily damaged from normal use. Before you put any lights on the tree, they should be inspected for broken and cracked sockets, frayed, bare or damaged wires and loose connections. Never use more than 3 strings of lights per extension cord as this presents a definite fire hazard.
Christmas lights are relatively inexpensive so go ahead and change them out every few years for fire safety reasons. Be sure to remind your tenants to always turn off the Christmas lights when they leave.
Exterior Christmas Lights
Tenants that decorate their homes with exterior lights can expose their landlord to some serious liability. Many people are injured from roof falls and shocks every year when they get up on the roof to decorate. Just walking on the roof in very cold conditions can damage the shingles on the roof.
When using exterior Christmas lights, always be sure that the lights and any extension cords are certified for exterior use and that they are plugged into GFCI protected outlets.
Chimneys and Fireplaces
As a landlord, if you have a property with a wood burning fireplace, be sure to have the flue cleaned annually. Creosote occurs naturally from burning wood. If it gets to be a quarter inch thick or thicker inside the chimney, it’s a fire hazard as it can ignite and cause a chimney fire.
Be sure to caution your tenants not to throw wrapping paper in the fireplace. Those materials tend to get very hot as they burn and they can cause flash fires.
People love candles, but candles pose a serious fire risk if they are not handled properly. Most fires started by candles are a result of them being forgotten or being placed too close to something that is flammable. With a little caution, most all fires started by candles could be prevented.
Facts and Figures
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has some sobering statistics I would like to pass onto everyone that has rental property.
-Christmas trees are responsible for 300 fires annually which result in 30 injuries, 10 deaths and $10,000,000 in property damage.
-There are 12,500 injuries every year from roof falls and shocks associated with the installation of exterior Christmas Lights.
-Candles start about 11,600 fires annually which result in 1200 injuries, 150 deaths and $173,000,000 in property loss.
No one wants to get “that call”; the one telling you that someone has been injured on your property or that he house has sustained serious damage from a fire. Take a few minutes this busy holiday season to give your tenants a little reminder of these simple but important safety tips.
f you are not already subscribed to the “Inner Circle”, be sure to do that today so you don’t miss any of the business building tips I have coming your way. I want this year to be your best year ever! And if you enjoyed this article, please share it.