We are often asked, “How hard is it to maintain a rental cabin, and what are the keys to doing it right? Well, that can vary greatly depending on what you purchased.
Let’s address new construction first. New cabins, of course, do not require as much maintenance, but they still need attention. This is especially true for the first year when it is under a builder’s warranty. During this time, you will want to catch any items that might need to be addressed. Tennessee State Law requires that all new construction have a one-year builder’s warranty. Many items may have extended warranties, but everything will have that one-year warranty. So be sure to mark your calendar for the 11th month, so you can visit your cabin and make a list of any items you may need to discuss with your contractor. However, remember that the warranty will not cover cosmetic issues caused by wear and tear from renters.
One of the best recommendations I can make is to visit your cabin regularly. These visits can be tax write-offs as well because, believe me, you are going to work. There is nothing like staying in your cabin to bring your attention to potential issues. Remember to have the attitude that this is an investment and you want to protect your investment. Many things, when addressed early on, will save you money down the road.
Here are the top 10 tips to maintaining your investment cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains:
1). Where is the water flowing?
We are a rainforest environment, so it is very important to check the downspouts. Are they still attached? Is the black piping that routes the water away from your house still connected, unclogged, and positioned correctly? This is probably the number one maintenance item that is easiest and cheapest to fix but can cause massive erosion of your footers and deck posts if left unchecked. I have seen entire footers damaged by this easily avoidable issue. Really, thousands of dollars in repairs just due to negligence. Additionally, see if any new construction is routing water your way and make sure all other road water is flowing away from your property. If you notice these problems, you will want to address them quickly.
2). Fill dirt settling against your cabin or front steps.
This is a common problem that, unfortunately, cannot be avoided. As time passes and rains and gravity do their thing, your cabin is going to settle. But don’t let it cause water to start to flow towards your foundation. You need to make sure that your ground is pitching away from the house so water flows away, not towards. This simple problem can cause mold in the lower floors or water to run under your front deck.
3). Check your rocking potties.
Do the wax seals on your toilets need replacing? They only get worse once they begin.
4). Check all inside and outside doors.
Do they close correctly? You may need to make some adjustments to make sure the doors shut and latch correctly.
5). Are there any safety hazards?
This includes carpet that needs to be secured with double-stick tape and taking care of any loose railings or steps.
6). Is there furniture that needs reinforcing or removing?
This also includes throw rugs, pillows, and blankets, which should be replaced regularly. Be sure to check the bedspreads and comforters. Are they holding up, or do they need replacing?
7). Quickly go through the kitchen.
Check cabinets and replace cracked dishware, missing glasses, and flatware. Are the appliances still in good shape?
8). Landscaping, bring your pruning shears!
A few snips here and there each season can keep overgrown bushes at bay. Do you need a new fresh bag or two of mulch or rock?
9). Check the paint on the outer doors.
You may need to touch up metal doors if they have been painted and have a different color underneath. Each season I give my metal doors a once over since it is inevitable that they will get scratched. I keep a can of the brown paint handy, just in case!
10). Check games and TVs.
Do they all still work? Are any remotes missing?
***Bonus*** If your cabin needs a deep clean, get one!
All the items above will keep your cabin renting beautifully with splendid reviews!
Don’t forget to reward yourself after all this work! Take a picnic to the Chimney Tops, or let your favorite restaurant treat you! You deserve it!
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