Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The last couple of years there has been a lot of buzz about "green living," "sustainable practices," "recycling..."
How do any of these things affect investors? And what can we do to help without losing money hand over fist? And why would you want to?
Let's start with a simple step. Insulation.
It seems to be a fact that older homes tend to make up the majority of rentals in the city of Indianapolis. Many of these homes were built during the victorian era and have had little to no insulation installed in them since. This is both good and bad. Good for the structure, as the air flow between the walls allows the structure to dry out. Bad for your tenants, as that same air makes the home/apartment harder to heat affordably.
I don't have to tell you that there's a recession out there - it's pretty obvious. And I'm not going to say 'hey, go insulate the heck out of all your rentals,' either. I know cash flow can be tight these days, especially in Marion County.
But what I'm saying is that we as landlords need to treat insulation just like every other system of a rental house. When it stops working, it needs to be fixed. Why? So that your tenants spend less on the utility companies, less on space heaters that'll burn the place down, and more on paying their rent. Which is a good thing for cash strapped landlords.
So, next time you have a vacancy, test the plumbing, check the hot water heater, roof, and gutters, and add some insulation to the attics and walls. Caulk around leaky windows, or better yet, replace them with energy efficient ones from a place like Window World. Weather-strip doors. Conserve energy. It's not tree-hugging, it's wallet hugging.

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