It saddens me when rental properties sit with neglected lawns and overgrown weeds. If property owners want to increase occupancy rates (and rental prices), the lawn is a great place to start. And it doesn’t have to cost too much or take much time.
Wilmington and the surrounding areas are wonderful places for landscaping and beautiful grass. The humidity and late afternoon summer storms can yield success for nearly anyone. The key is to making good choices and using a regular maintenance schedule.
As I’ve talked about before, curb appeal matters to renters and should be part of what property owners invest in. Renters are searching for and deserve properties with well-kept outdoors areas.
Here are some tips to ensuring that lawn care on your Wilmington rental is easy for everyone:
- Water and mow. These are the basics of any good lawn care program. By keeping grass at a low level and cutting with a sharp blade, you can reduce the risk of pests and keep the grass healthy. With regular watering, your grass will continue to flourish no matter how the high the thermometer goes. Even if you do not have an irrigation system, supplying a hose with a timer at the spigot can suffice. Water is crucial for grass to grow. Make sure it is in your lease if tenants are required to keep the lawn watered, raked and cared for.
- Set guidelines. When it comes to mowing, there are many different arrangements tenants and property owners can come to. It all depends on the relationship you have with your tenants and your comfort level as an owner. The options include: requiring tenants to maintain the lawn on their own, hiring full-service lawn care, or finding an a la carte arrangement. Regardless of the option you choose, be sure to be forthright with the terms for lawn care. Put it in writing. Most tenants are capable of taking care of the lawn unless it is a larger parcel (over a half acre) or if it is a property intended for students.
- Pick the right product at the right time. Sod can be a great investment for rental properties as installation is easy with immediate results. It can cover open patches of dirt that detract from the look of the yard. But if it is not in your budget, be sure to lay seed at the right time. Southern Greenside has tips on a good schedule for Wilmington area lawns. Summer months are not the right time to plant new seed, but with a little planning you can see great results in your property’s grass. Again, once it is installed, watering is important. Also, make sure to state in your lease that items such as above-ground pools, trampolines, fire pits or anything else that covers large areas of grass and kills it are not allowed. This will also help get rid of that liability as well.
- Keep it low maintenance. Since this is a rental property, you want to make sure it looks professional and appealing while not requiring too much time. Of course, most grass lawns are happy with regular mowing and watering. Grasses like zoysia are not practical for a rental due to the care required. When planting additional landscaping items, consider using plants and vegetation that are native to the Cape Fear region. Consider low maintenance and low water plants as well unless there is irrigation available. Any local garden store can advise you on plantings.
- Be prepared for any unanticipated lawn care and landscaping issues. If a tree needs to be removed or the yard is flooded, plan to spring into action to take care of your property. Having good communication with your property manager is crucial for managing any emergency or unexpected issues. However, know that anything outside the lease agreement will have to be tended to by you as the property owner.
Ultimately, having a well-maintained lawn adds to your property value as well as your occupancy rate and return on investment. It should be something that all property owners consider, plan and budget for. Contact me at Sweyer Property Management to determine your best strategy to implement effective lawn care at your property.
Sweyer Property Management has been providing real estate property management services and long-term rentals to the Wilmington area since 1987. The company continues to be the industry leader with more than 1400+ units and more than 20 employees. Sweyer Property Management has exhibited continuous growth throughout the Wilmington, Leland and Hampstead areas while maintaining a 4.8 Google+ rating for customer service. To inquire about the company’s full-service management services, or to take a tour of houses for rent in the area, email [email protected], visit us online at WilmingtonForRent.com or download our mobile app, Sweyer Rentals. You can also Like and follow the Sweyer Property Management Facebook page to get property management tips or see properties for rent.