One of the biggest mistakes that landlords and real estate investors make is that they treat their properties like a hobby, instead of a business. There’s no harm in trying to enjoy yourself, but ultimately, the best way to maximize your income and keep your rentals occupied and in good condition is to treat your properties like you would any other business expense.
When you’re just starting out, it’s hard to justify spending money on upgrades and making changes that may not lead to positive results. However, over time you’ll realize that seeking out efficiencies and investing in your property are both great ways to support the long-term growth of your investment.
One of the best ways to invest in your business is to make your properties and your business practices more sustainable.
Why Make Sustainable Upgrades?
Making sustainable, long-term upgrades and investments will have a positive effect on the environment, and can also impact the overall value of your rental.
It’s also a great way to attract tenants, especially millennials, who have driven up demand for rental properties and units with eco-friendly features. The majority of financially-stable renters within the millennial age group are willing to pay a higher monthly rent for units that have eco-friendly features or amenities.
Property Managers Recommend These Sustainable Upgrades for Your Rental Business
There are many ways to make sustainable upgrades to your unit and your business as a whole. Here are some of the suggestions that our Windsor property managers often give to landlords that we work with around the Essex County area.
1. Install a Smart Thermostat
We wrote about this in-depth recently, but installing a smart thermostat (link to article) is a great way to help your current and future tenants use less energy. It typically doesn’t cost more than $300 and can be installed with ease. Then, your tenants can use the thermostat with an app on their phone or smart device, and can program in guidelines to ensure that they’re only heating or cooling their home when they actually need it.
If you’re the one paying the heating and cooling costs, this is a huge win for you. However, even if the tenants are the ones paying the bill monthly, having smart, eco-friendly features like this in your home will help attract more interest in your property.
2. Replace Your Old Lightbulbs with LEDs
LED bulbs don’t just use 1/3rd less energy than traditional incandescent, CFL, or halogen bulbs. They also last 80% longer! There’s absolutely no reason why you should be using traditional lightbulbs in 2021. If you haven’t made the switch yet, take this as a hint to get in and get it done as soon as possible.
It’s a bit of an investment now, especially if you’re replacing every bulb in several units, but with LEDs lasting up to 50,000 hours, you won’t have to think about doing it again for a while.
3. Move to the Cloud
Operating a rental business produces a lot of paperwork. To keep your business organized and help maintain a more secure operation, think about moving your business to the cloud.
In addition to simplifying your physical paperwork, going to the cloud gives you security against hackers or cybercriminals, who may be able to easily break into your simple desktop storage system.
It also allows you to access your critical files from anywhere, giving you the freedom to pull up an invoice or lease agreement in the moment, even if you’re away from your home network.
4. Install Energy-Efficient Showerheads
Energy-efficient showerheads have gotten a bad rap in the past, especially by people who love a strong spray in their daily shower. However, these energy-efficient fixtures have gotten a lot better in the last several years. Now, they’re able to provide a strong spray while conserving water.
According to guidance from Natural Resources Canada, landlords should be looking for a showerhead that has a flow rate of fewer than 7.6 litres per minute, in order to conserve the maximum amount of water.
5. Shop at ReStores
Run by the charity Habitat for Humanity, ReStores are the perfect destination for landlords who are looking to save a bit of money, while saving building materials from a landfill.
Instead of buying home goods or building materials new, ReStores give people the chance to purchase new, returned, or gently used materials and household items donated by builders.
This is a great resource to check if you’re about to start a renovation, and want to save money and support the environment. Their available stock varies, so you’ll need to plan ahead if you’re doing a big project.
6. Go Paperless
The next time you have an open house or need to get paperwork signed by your tenants, take the opportunity to start your move to a paperless system. In Ontario, there are some documents, like leases and official notices, that need to be exchanged as hard copies, but the vast majority of the paperwork that landlords collect can be easily accessed digitally.
Instead of collecting paper copies of dozens of references and credit checks at your next open house, ask potential tenants to send them via email. This will allow you to collect them in one central location and avoid the hassle of dealing with piles of paper that will eventually have to be shredded and thrown away.
7. Ensure Tenants Know the Municipal Recycling Schedule
When tenants move in, especially if they’re new to the neighbourhood, it can be a challenge to learn when they should be putting out their garbage, recycling, and green bins. To help them start off on the right foot, leave the municipal recycling schedule in a prominent location. That way, they won’t be so tempted to throw out their moving boxes.
Ask Our Property Managers for More Tips on Keeping Your Rental Sustainable
There are lots of little changes that can have a positive impact on your rental property and your business.
For more tips on managing a successful rental business, give us a call today. The team at Goldmar Property Management always loves to talk with new and established landlords and make connections in our local community.