NAME: Stephen Waters
TITLE: Senior Vice President of Facilities
COMPANY: Morgan Properties
LOCATION: King of Prussia, Pa.
1. Team, Team, Team. If you don’t have excellent and qualified trained personnel on your team, you are going to lose the summer battles of maintaining and leasing apartment homes. They are the most important piece to successful operations.
2. HVAC. Preventive maintenance is the backbone of keeping your residents comfortable during warm months. It’s essential to have a backup plan if your cooling system fails, such as having window units and fans available for residents.
3. Curb Appeal. Apartment communities are always selling to potential residents. If curb appeal is lackluster, people will not exit their cars to tour apartments. This includes trash pickup, straight lines in the parking lot, well-maintained signage and landscaping. First impressions are everything when selling apartments, so communities must always be in their best shape.
4. Landscaping. As part of the “first impression factor,” healthy growth of shrubbery, flowers and trees is vital. Proper watering systems and irrigation is critical. When plants die or lose vibrancy, they should be immediately replaced.
5. Amenities. Pools, playgrounds, tennis courts, putting greens and other amenities are used five times more often during summer. Outdoor amenities must be inspected daily for safety and cleanliness.
6. Resident Safety. In summer, residents are dealing with high temperatures, cooking outside on the grills and enjoying the pool. Our job is to reinforce the rules so everyone remains safe. For example, if a “brownout” occurs during extreme temperatures, sometimes the elderly do not know the proper precautions to take, such as opening their windows. Send regular resident communications and post signs throughout the community with tips on how to stay cool and safe during summer.
7. Training. Equipping residents and team members with the proper education on what not to do and what to do during emergency situations is critical. Summer is the perfect time to conduct fire drills because it is warm outside and people are more likely to participate.
8. Mother Nature. Mother Nature tends to hit our industry hard during summer. For example, in the South, afternoon thunderstorm is caused by high temperatures are almost certain. When it happens, it is important to tell people to leave the pool and go indoors. Another concern is hurricane season, which begins in June and goes until December. Having an emergency plan in place will eliminate stress and help your community operate more efficiently.
9. Winter is Coming. Summer is the right time to prepare for winter. It is important to schedule all needed preventive maintenance to the boilers, furnaces and snow removal equipment in summer to ensure proper function during winter.
10. Have Fun. We are in the people business! A healthy and fun community is the key to making people happy. Hosting resident and maintenance team ice cream socials is a great way to show appreciation and foster positive relationships between residents and employees. As residents spend more time outside in the warm months, use it as an opportunity to get to know the people living in your community.