I am the last person to admit that the seasons are changing, and as much as I want to deny it, fall will approach quickly. My friends are already dusting off their winter boots while I’m clinging to my flip-flops. However, when it comes to property management and the maintenance of investment properties, you have to acknowledge the inevitable. The demand for maintenance is as volatile as market predictability altogether. You never know what’s coming or what to expect. The best way to prepare and ensure the least amount of problems slip through the cracks is by creating a Winter Checklist. Utilize this tool by acknowledging issues that arise in the winter, addressing the issues in your checklist, and adapting after the winter is over to be even more prepared for the next time around.
Acknowledge which problems typically occur in the winter by breaking down the building into specific categories on your checklist. First off, the building will need a full smoke detector inspection. Going from the outside-in, address relevant features of the siding and roof. Ensure that all outside spigots have insulating covers or have been shut off inside the building and drained. Clear the roof of all debris, check for missing/loose shingles and clear roof drains. If chimneys are relevant ensure they are sealed and secure as needed. Clear basins and drains of debris since the falling leaves and winter winds will create a significant pile-up. Inspect spout and gutter connections and implement routine cleaning procedures. Reset the timers on the common area and exterior lighting to coordinate with daylight savings. Confirm that all door closers are functioning properly, inspect caulking, weather-stripping and door sweeps. Drain the sprinkler system and have it shut down by a professional vendor. Equip your property with a bag of de-icer and a snow shovel.
Address the checklist by enforcing it to be completed as part of your resident manager or landlord’s job responsibility. The fall and winter seasons in the Seattle area might not have as harsh of an impact as other cities, but the heavy rains and colder weather have a significant wear-and-tear on an unprepared building.
Become a professional at adapting between the seasons. Review what went well and what fell apart so that you can be even more prepared for next year.
By acknowledging items on your winter checklist, addressing the importance of complying with the checklist and adapting your maintenance procedures year after year, you will ultimately find the best ways to cope with the fall and winter season. You will see the inner-workings of your building fall into place rather than the latter. What better way to welcome spring than with a strong, functioning building and satisfied residents?