Have you checked your property investment for termites lately?
Any savvy investor who’s been around the block a few times will tell you that part of the acquisition process when buying a property is getting a thorough once-over of the building to ensure it’s not a ‘lemon’.
Inspections include termite and pest inspections, as well as a building inspection to assess how sound the dwelling is and uncover any potential maintenance or repair issues around the property’s structural integrity.
If you’re not checking off at least these two standard items before settling on a new asset for your property portfolio, you’re buying blind and could be unknowingly wading into a money pit of endless problems.
During your tenure as landlord of any property you own, it’s important to maintain the dwelling in the best possible condition.
Not only will this make your investment more attractive to the local tenant pool, but it will also sustain optimal capital growth over time – the objective of creating wealth through real estate.
As such, taking care to uncover any potential issues before they become large-scale (and costly) sagas makes sense.
This is primarily the property manager’s responsibility of course, who should ensure effective communication with your tenants, as well as routine inspections to address any maintenance items.
If your property manager is particularly proactive in looking after your asset base, they’ll also give you friendly reminders about extra steps you can take (or they can arrange on your behalf) to keep your property/ies in pristine order for the long haul.
While you might initially be out of pocket a few hundred dollars or so for a routine pest inspection to be conducted annually on your investment, don’t forget this is a tax-deductible item at the end of the financial year.
And when you consider what’s at stake, it’s not a lot to pay for peace of mind that termites aren’t busy gnawing away at your future fund.
In fact, most landlord and building insurance policies specifically exclude termite damage from items they cover, meaning if you do have to foot the bill for extensive repairs, it will come straight from your personal cash flow.
Not only would it cost thousands of dollars to address any termite damage, but if sub-flooring and structural degradation occur, the premises could be rendered unsafe for habitation and pose a very real risk to your tenants’ well-being.
Termites can pop up at any stage in a property’s lifetime and are difficult to detect unless you happen to know what you’re looking for.
If you haven’t arranged a pest inspection within the last two years or more, then you should definitely put this on top of your ‘To do’ list and speak to your property manager as soon as possible.
A few indicators that could point to a termite infestation are:
The appearance of what looks like ‘dry rot’ in wooden window or door frames and easily damaged skirtings, etc.
‘Papery’ timber. Because termites eat wood from the inside out, timber can appear intact externally, but be hollowed out by the pests. If parts of the structure sound hollow when you knock on it, this could suggest termites are at work.
Sticky doors and windows due to warping of the surrounds. As unpleasant as it sounds, termite excrement creates what’s known as ‘mud’, which traps heat and moisture and can cause timber to swell.
Remember, keeping your tenants safe and your asset in good repair, so it continues to be a worthy addition to your property portfolio, is a paramount responsibility of the successful investor.
If you would like further information regarding our comprehensive property management services, why not get in touch with the Little Real Estate team?
We go the extra mile to ensure complete peace of mind for our clients, maintaining your investment to the highest possible standard. Click here to find out how.