Should I Replace Windows & Doors on my San Diego Rental Property?

Should I Replace Windows & Doors on my San Diego Rental Property?

August 14, 2020
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
san diego rental property

Whether your rental property is a single-family home or a multi-unit building, it will not be ignored by time and weather. Fixtures will wear out and break. Doors won’t open because of shrinking or expanding frames. The view can become foggy from too much moisture between the window panes due to improper sealing.

It’s not a question of whether you should replace doors and windows, but why and when. Improving your rental property is a smart decision. Changes can affect a property’s immediate appearance and long-term financial health.

Regular maintenance can seal leaks, repair fittings, and hide imperfections, but maintenance alone is a band-aid. Rip it off, and the original condition remains. Replacing many band-aids each year is a stopgap measure at best. Eventually, a major decision must be made to replace the windows and doors.

Deciding on moving ahead with upgrades is the first step. Another equally vital step is selecting the correct replacement products and the contractor to install them. This last step has the most long-lasting effect on an investor’s financial position.

quality windows

When reviewing products, there are three questions to keep in mind:

♦ How will this product help me reduce expenses?
♦ Can this product help attract more and better tenants?
♦ Is this product an energy saver?

Cost / Value Proposition

Successful landlords are proactive. They inspect their holdings regularly and fix small issues before they turn into expensive problems. This approach ensures their tenants’ concerns are addressed efficiently. Successful landlords also choose proven products and capable contractors.

Diligence results in:

♦ Consistent return on investment

♦ Reduced capital expenses

♦ Higher or maximized rental rates

♦ Increased tenant satisfaction

♦ Improved reputation management

Recent 2020 market statistics for the Pacific Coast region prove the effect of property upgrades on the results listed above.

♦ Improving the front entry has a 68.8% return on investment. A new door can set off landscaping and entryway elements. It’s one of the first things a potential tenant sees. The right door can establish positive impressions of security, welcome, and care for the property.

♦ Remodeling a kitchen has a 58.6% return on resale. A window can transform a dark kitchen into an airy, bright space any home chef would enjoy.

Replacement windows have a 68.9% return on resale. They’re particularly popular and appreciated in urban areas. In hot regions like Las Vegas, replacing windows can boost a home’s thermal properties, significantly reducing operating costs.

Replacement doors and windows can affect tenant retention. The Rental Protection Agency (RPA) collects information and ranks grievances. Two categories that can affect improvement plans are:

♦ Repairs unrelated to safety: broken windows, ripped carpets, poorly operating air conditioning and heat, leaking roofs, and bad fixtures affect the quality of life.

♦ Safety and health hazards: Wiring issues, non-working alarms, non-locking windows and exterior doors, and serious plumbing defects pose dangers to all residents. Unsafe conditions may violate a renter’s rights.

curb appeal

Federal and state laws cover all renters in the United States. These laws specify that landlords and property managers must provide habitable spaces to all renters. Things that may limit the livability of a house or apartment include the aforementioned safety hazards and needed repairs.

If hazards and repairs are not dealt with, tenants can use legal means to file a suit against a landlord. Local towns have building codes and regulations, so landlords may be fined for violations. Any kind of legal proceedings cost money. A wise landlord eliminates potential problems before they become financial liabilities.

Curb Appeal Allows for Higher Rents

Besides minimizing cash outlay by careful cost management, a landlord seeks to make a profit on every property. Before marketing an available unit, a property investor should be certain that the intangible benefits of a rental unit, building, and management are strong selling points. When listing properties online, it’s a good idea to mention positive reviews and awards, along with genuine and flattering pictures.

energy saver windows

First impressions count. Inspection of a property through the eyes of a tenant may yield useful information. Ask the following questions:

♦ Are entrances and exits clearly marked? Are they visible day or night? Do they give the impression of safety?

♦ Are stairs free of obstacles, debris, and defects?

♦ Are all public areas neat and in good condition?

♦ Is the public-facing facade attractive?

♦ Are safety items (extinguishers, alarms) visible and operable?

Exterior doors reveal a great deal about the management of a building. Weather-stripped and painted doors are visually pleasing. A door designed for secure entry that exceeds California’s forced entry building codes is a valuable investment. Quality interior doors in community areas, balconies, and patios will add to the perception of security and space. Tenants will respond favorably to such considerate features.

Promising tenants can unconsciously make judgments based on the outward veneer of a rental property. A lawn with tall grass and untrimmed shrubs does not inspire confidence. Broken windows, dirty doors, and cracked frames indicate an uncaring landlord.

Fortunately, problems with windows and doors are the easiest to tackle. They can be fixed or replaced. Replacing windows can present the best option for the least expenditure. Investors should consult with window professionals to select the best window products. Windows need to be evaluated for:

♦ Framing materials

The material of a window can affect energy ratings, durability, appeal, and security. The most common types are vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, and wood.

♦ Styles and frames

The physical aspect of a window defines how well the window blends in with the home’s architecture, the amount of maintenance required, and the extent of the aesthetic contribution.

Options range from sliding, picture, double-hung, garden, casement, bay, and other types of windows.

Warranties and What They Cover

A warranty is a promise between parties that an action will be completed. Warranties on replacement windows and doors vary among manufacturers, distributors, and installers. There are three kinds of warranties:

♦ Manufacturer warranty
♦ Contractor, installer or workmanship warranty
♦ Combined manufacturer and contractor warranty

Manufacturer warranties cover doors or windows from manufacturing defects for a certain period. Coverage duration can last for one year or longer. The manufacturer will replace unused products found to be damaged or defective prior to installation. This warranty type has no part in complications arising from unfavorable installation of the product.

replacement windows

A contractor’s warranty is an arrangement between the installation company and the customer. This warranty implies that a contractor’s work will be executed professionally, and the work will be completed to an acceptable level of quality. This warranty does not cover any issue associated with the product and doesn’t apply to materials used in the project. The length of contractor warranties depends on state regulations, ranging from one to ten years.

Combined warranties are rare. They cover product defects and issues from installation. Manufacturers work with approved contractors to successfully install products and provide ongoing customer support. This warranty service exists for a specific period. Parts and labor may or may not be included.

energy efficient windows

Questions to ask about warranties include:

♦ Does the warranty cover installed doors and windows only?

♦ Does the warranty cover issues with workmanship?

♦ How long does the warranty last?

♦ Can the warranty period be extended?

♦ Will the warranty cover future damage from a bad installation?

♦ Is labor covered?

♦ Are replacement parts covered?

♦ How can a service visit be scheduled?

♦ Who will do the service work?

Warranties generally do not cover acts of nature, fire, accidental damage and vandalism.

Coverage for such events may be included in property insurance policies. Warranties may or may not be transferable to new owners.

A close study of warranty terms and conditions can prevent unexpected costs in the future. Minimizing risk and maximizing investment growth are two sides of the same coin.

Reducing excess moisture in damaged windows

♦ Increasing energy ratings in drafty older dwellings

♦ Decreasing noise pollution to an acceptable level

♦ Providing mechanisms for adequate ventilation and light

Replacement exterior doors and frames not only add to structural integrity, but they can also raise the level of noise protection and energy conservation. Core materials such as fiberglass, steel, and polyurethane increase a door’s overall energy rating. The correct door should be selected based on position, climate, access requirements, aesthetics, and desired security level.

Save on Energy Costs

Indoor air quality and environmental health are valid concerns for renters. Unable to change potentially substandard conditions themselves, renters must rely on landlords to make reasonable improvements. This may include:

Reducing excess moisture in damaged windows

♦ Increasing energy ratings in drafty older dwellings

♦ Decreasing noise pollution to an acceptable level

♦ Providing mechanisms for adequate ventilation and light

Replacement exterior doors and frames not only add to structural integrity, but they can also raise the level of noise protection and energy conservation.

Core materials such as fiberglass, steel, and polyurethane increase a door’s overall energy rating. The correct door should be selected based on position, climate, access requirements, aesthetics, and desired security level.

Modern windows use a scoring system called U-Factor rating. This score reflects the heat loss of a specific window product. The degree of insulation provided is vital in colder climates. A traditional single-pane window has a rating of 1.0. Adding a storm window reduces the rating to 0.6. By comparison, a double pane window is rated at 0.4. A triple-pane window has a rating of 0.25. A lower number translates to better energy savings and bigger reductions in utility bills.

picture windows

In warmer locations like the San Diego area, cold is less of a factor. The effect of solar heat is the most relevant. In fact, the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) is the opposite of the U-Factor. This coefficient measures the amount of solar radiation that enters through a window. A high coefficient means that more passive heat is coming in. This will increase the demand on a home’s cooling system. A low SHGC is beneficial in warm or humid climates.

The Energy Star qualification system combines the U-Factor rating with SHGC values to confer a climate zone code to qualified windows, doors, and skylights. The San Diego area belongs to the South-Central zone. Checking the Energy Star rating is an easy tool to use when selecting windows and doors.

The window glass type affects the amount of transmitted light, the thermal rating, and heat gain. Multiple-paned windows filled with air insulate better than single-pane versions. Windows filled with argon or krypton gas have higher insulation abilities than those filled with air. Tints and coatings can also reduce the amount of glare and heat transfer. Multiple panes can reduce noise and sound pollution.

Manufacturers test their products. They must indicate both the U-Factor and SHGC ratings. Premium, high-value windows and doors exceed the average values for U-Factor and SHGC ratings. Additionally, high-end products offer more styles to complement any home’s architecture. Advanced features, high-performance ratings, and a vast product line guarantee lower maintenance costs, improved tenant confidence, and a positive return on investment.

Professionals Get Results

Need door and window replacements but unsure about the cost, fit, and selection? Reach out to US Window & Door today for advice and a competitive quote. Our team of experts has helped many homeowners and investors in San Diego and Orange counties.

With over three decades of experience, we are well-positioned to offer guidance to Southern California landlords. Knowing the climate and conditions that outside doors and windows will be subjected to, we’re confident in matching rental assets with the best windows in San Diego.

How to Install a Replacement Window: Everything You Need to Know

We take the time to understand each customer’s unique replacement project. Because windows and doors can affect an entire home, our approach is comprehensive. We recommend custom measurements with careful consideration of product styles for vintage homes or homes with unique features. Replacement windows and doors should enhance the charm of older homes while adding modern energy-efficiency features and protection. Our skilled technicians can assess and measure doors and windows for any style of housing.

US Window & Door takes pride in supplying high-quality products and dependable, complete installations. We are Milgard-certified installers of the following series:

Quiet Line – noise-reducing vinyl windows with superior energy ratings.

Style Line – low maintenance vinyl windows with above-average Energy Star scores.

Montecito – durable, insulating windows, customizable to blend with any architectural style. These windows exceed Energy Star ratings fit for all climates.

Milgard and US Window & Door have joined forces to give all customers a lifetime limited replacement warranty. For as long as a customer owns their home, Milgard will replace and repair installed Milgard products per their warranty. Similarly, US Window & Door will be responsible for any issues in actual installation of the product. Even if the issues do not become apparent for years from original installation, you are covered! As long as the issue is due to improper installation, US Window & Door has a warranty to cover it providing you full product and installation warranty.

There are many benefits to replacing worn and damaged windows and doors. For a landlord and investor, the deciding factors are increasing resale value and reducing operating expenses. However, without professional installation and a comprehensive lifetime limited warranty, this sound investment will fall short of expectations.

Contact us today, and let’s work together to get your revenue-generating project started.