It’s November, which means that next month is December, the official beginning of winter. However, winter weather may be settling in much sooner than you expect; it can happen overnight, where temperatures drop astronomically and frost begins to coat your lawn. In this case, you want to be prepared ahead of time for the deep freeze, especially as a property manager with a building and land to maintain. Make sure that you and your residents aren’t left out in the cold by a surprisingly quick change of seasons.
Whether it’s snowed or gotten icy already or even if it’s still mild, you can take steps to prep your property and to keep it safe and secure for the rest of the winter months. How you adjust things on your land can impact residents’ lives and your own finances (i.e. insurance costs), so keep in mind how important the process is. Damages can be avoided with some simple steps, so there really isn’t a reason that you should put off “winter-proofing” everything you can before the chill settles inside.
First, consider insurance, your current policy, whether things need to be reassessed or reevaluated, and if you should increase the amount of coverage that you currently have. Even in winter, floods can happen as a result of melting snow or of burst pipes, so you should consider floor insurance to prepare. “Standard homeowners policies cover winter-related disasters such as burst pipes, ice dams, and wind damage caused by weight of ice or snow.” Things like melting snow, winter storms, wind, rain, and hail can all cause massive issues both inside and out; solid precipitation may first weigh down and break tree branches and then later melt and seep into the walls, thereby inciting a number of different problems. To be really prepared means considering all of the possibilities and taking steps to prevent each.
A good place to start the winter preparation is up in the gutters. Gutters can only work (and prevent future problems) if they are clear. Use your utilities resources, hire someone, or check them out yourself; if the gutters are filled with fall debris, such as leaves, twigs, and other muck, then they have to be cleaned out. If not, the weight they bear will only increase as snow and ice accumulate, potentially threatening to break apart from the roof entirely. At the least, the failing gutters will force water to sneak in through cracks in the home (called “ice damming”) and likely cause damage via the leaks. To avoid these outcomes, consider purchasing and installing gutter guards which “prevent debris from entering the gutter and interfering with the flow of water away from the house and into the ground.”
Consider the property’s surroundings and how they might be impacted by the weather. As mentioned before, trees can have limbs broken by the weight of snow and ice which can then fall and cause damage to other parts of the property. Also, if there are power lines nearby and the weather is on the more “extreme” side, this same build-up can result in loss of electricity, so keep an eye on both if there is precipitation. Down on the ground, safety and upkeep should still be your priority. Make sure that all walkways are clear and salted appropriately and that cracks in the ground (and on steps particularly) are seen to. Any railings are there to provide security, so it’s your job to assure that they are sturdy and not coated in ice when your residents reach a hand out to use them. Finally, check over windows, doors, and other areas of exposure that lead into the building to make sure there are no drafts or potentials for leaks. A little bit of caulking can go a long way.
Within the building, you can take even more measures to ensure that everyone is comfortable and that the property itself is ready for the season. For one thing, make sure to keep the heat on and to remember that one of the most important things that you’re warming is the pipes, which are inside the walls and exposed to cooler temperatures as a result. To keep them from freezing, set temperatures at slightly warmer than you might otherwise at least every so often. Insulation can also help with this issue, so make sure that all areas are properly insulated, including attics, basements, and crawl spaces where it might be especially chilly. Making an effort to see that utilities of all kinds are updated and functioning as best they can is a big part of saving money, energy, and heat when you need it most. An an example, keeping your furnace or heaters new and inspected annually can keep potential fires and incidents that you might not have been expecting, but which can threaten both your properties and your residents.
Real estate property managers, leasing professionals, property owners, developers and investment managers all share something in common – you want to do your job as efficiently and accurately as possible to help your company and your clients succeed. We can help. With tips like these, you can successfully prepare your property for the winter, but with Anton Systems’ business solutions, you can more smoothly operate in all seasons of the year. Our property management software delivers an experience tailored to you so that you can more easily keep track of all the work that’s on your plate; not only will everyone work faster and smarter, but also errors will be drastically reduced. You can trust Anton Systems and the innovative SKYLINE property management and accounting software to produce results that you can depend on. The process is streamlined and organized within this powerful database, creating a unique experience for you that puts you in charge.