Property Maintenance – There’s Never a Good Time for a Cash Crunch
It’s frightening, isn’t it? And the worst part is that it will probably come when your budget is already strained. But fortunately, you can avoid this.
You can protect yourself an unexpected expense. And all you have to do is think ahead.
Here’s some recommendations about how to do it…
Property Maintenance – Recognizing That Prevention is a Lot Less Expensive Than Intervention
Most people have heard of Murphy’s Law. Murphy’s Law states, “If anything can go wrong — it will.”
This is particularly true of real estate property. Especially property that is used for commercial or residential purposes.
People use property and tend to be hard on property. They drive on it, walk on it, cook in it, play in it, work in it, shelter beneath it, sometimes damage it (when they’re angry or careless).
Let’s face it, if it were not for people, a property would last a lot longer. But property does not have value unless it is used, so people (and ultimately maintenance) is unavoidable.
What is most interesting is that property use is predictable. People are very predictable creatures (most of the time) and patterns of use are predictable.
Peak hours for a commercial or recreational facility can be tracked. This means supplies, materials, and manpower can be scheduled to meet the demands based on use. That is, of course, if a savvy property manager is paying attention and keeping track.
The point is that most property maintenance issues can be avoided with some strategic thinking AND a respect for Murphy’s law.
Property Maintenance – Summer is the Best Time To Think About Winter
In addition to the wear and tear from people, a property can take a beating from the weather as well. Weather is even more predictable (most of the time) than people.
If a property manager maintains properties in the Northeast, at some time during the winter, the property will need ice and snow removal.
Properties in the Pacific Northwest experience more wet weather than other parts of the country. Southwest properties deal with high temperatures.
Most of the time, weather patterns are predictable and strategic planning for property maintenance can be more comprehensive because this information is readily available on the internet.
Here’s a link to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 3-month climate predictions for the US. You now have access to climate predictions three months in advance!
These predictions can’t tell you whether a large hurricane or damaging Nor’easter is going to occur, but these predictions are far more useful for property maintenance planning than looking up at the sky and guessing.
Property Maintenance – What to Think about
- What parts of the property require extra attention before cold weather arrives?
- What parts of the property create potential safety hazards due to cold weather?
- Are the property’s mechanicals and safety equipment in good order now? How do you know?
- What needs to be inspected to ensure the safety of tenants, clients, and property users?
- What contingency plans are in place if there are material shortages or outages because of equipment failure?
- Who do you need to contract with so that needed services are available (snow removal, ice removal, roof damage, electrical or HVAC failure) in case of emergency?
- When was the last time a through property maintenance inspection was conducted?
- How often should property maintenance inspections be conducted?
- What property elements are near “end of life?
- Which property elements need regular servicing? Have they been serviced?
- What can you do and what needs to be (or should be) done by others?
- What materials, equipment, and manpower do you now have on hand to provide optimal property maintenance?
- What materials, equipment, and manpower will you need to provide optimal property maintenance?
- What contingencies can you develop for materials, equipment, or manpower shortage?
- What can you stop ordering or start ordering to provide optimal property maintenance while saving costs?
At the end of the day, you want to move from reactive to predictive. This is why you should be thinking about the winter in the summer.
As a property manager, you want to predict when something is close to breaking down, or when the efficiency of a piece of equipment becomes questionable to the point that it makes financial sense to replace it before a costly breakdown.
You can do this with strategic planning and a partnership with an experienced property management company. I know it’s still summer, but it’s relly the best time to think about the winter.
Did you find this article thought provoking? If so, give us a call, C & L Services at 732-886-1940. We’ll help you with strategic planning, safety recommendations and efficient thinking in property maintenance.