Rental Property Tip Weedkiller

What is the greatest return on investment you can make as a rental property owners?  Weedkilling!

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After doing some weed killing on my properties today, something struck me. I think, hands down, the best way we can put equity in our properties and ensure the greatest return on our dollar—and actually increase our rentals—is by taking care of the weeds. It seems simple, but let me explain.

I personally buy my weed killer in bulk on Amazon, and it doesn't cost more than two to three dollars and about twenty minutes of my time each time I go out to spray. I treat the entire neighborhood in one go. I go up and down the street and treat the yards and allies of our properties, and for that minuscule cost, the improvements to our properties is immense.

This is a difficult thing to measure in terms of hard data, but the growth of nuisance trees is just one example of something that can turn into a huge problem later down the line if it’s not nipped in the bud. I use weed killer on every one of our properties that has a nuisance tree starting to crop up. These trees grow to be several feet tall within a short amount of time; in some cases, they take less than two years to become a full-grown tree trapped in the backyard of your Philadelphia rental property! And once it's there, cutting the tree down becomes an incredible problem—and an incredible expense. Instead of having to pay a crew to come cut down the problem tree, hopefully without damaging the surrounding homes, you could simply take care of these trees at the outset with a couple squirts of weed killer. It seeps down through the weeds and takes care of those nuisance trees in a matter of weeks. It’s really that simple.

Regularly using weed killer on your properties will also ensure the trees can’t damage the foundation, fall on the property, clog the gutters, and so on. In addition, I make sure the alleys alongside our properties are clean and free of weeds, as this greatly cuts down on any rodents or wildlife that might become a problem.

Now, the reason I also treat the weeds up and down the block comes from a conversation I once had with a contractor. We were looking out at the neighborhood and he said, “Joe, what do you see?” A bit confused, I said, “I don't know; I see a street. What do you see?” His answer was, “Look at all these weeds!” As soon as he said that, I realized just how horrible the neighborhood surrounding our property looked. Many properties just looked shaggy or uncared for. There were weeds sprouting up all over the sidewalks, all over the roads—anywhere a weed could grow, there were giant bushes coming up. Overall, it just showed a state of neglect.

After that conversation, I went out and immediately bought some weed killer. As soon as I started spraying up and down the block, it instantly improved the look of the whole neighborhood. If the neighbors see me doing it, they may come out and speak to me, and that’s a great way to get to know them. They appreciate the effort, and if there's ever a problem with our rental properties—say there’s loud tenants or some other kind of concern—this lets them know that we actually kind of take care of things on our end. It’s a win-win all around.

So, my number one tip for every rental property owner is to either hire somebody to do the weed killing or to take care of it themselves. It’s incredibly cheap to buy the spray yourself, but it’s also a great investment to pay someone else for an hour or less of their time. In both cases, I strongly believe it makes an incredible improvement to your property and to your neighborhood. It increases your equity, and it prevents significant expenses that I have seen cripple some property owners. Who would have thought that killing weeds could have such a profound effect on your property value?


Joe White

Joe White is a Philadelphia Property Manager and Real Estate Broker. He is the owner of Grow Property Management and has been involved in the management, sales and purchases of Philadelphia area rental investment properties since 2008. He is an author and works as a real estate investment consultant and construction manager.

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