Walking Your Property is Key to Your Success
by Joe Killinger
Have you ever heard it said that it is better to learn from other people’s mistakes as it doesn’t cost you anything?
I have seen too many times where a property manager believes that the residents will come and tell you if there is a problem in their unit i.e.: leaking faucets, small leaks in pipes or even holes in walls. Trusting that someone will come tell you there is a problem is not an option in the property management industry, there will be leaks, drips, or holes that they really don’t pay attention to as it’s not their priority to make sure these issues don’t arise, and many residents don’t care as much about a property as an owner would.
If you or your property manager are not walking the exterior of your property every week and inspecting the interiors at least a couple times a year you are setting yourself up for many potential problems. Mold spores can germinate after only 12 hours in some conditions and some grow in 24 to 48 hours, so you can have a problem or at least a tenant complaint in a very short time frame. The simple solution can be as simple as making sure the ceiling fan is functioning in the bathroom. I have found over my years in the business that the simple little drip from a leaky pipe can be one of the most damaging over time, the slow drip undetected over time will eventually ruin your wood, drywall and eventually you will be replacing most everything near the drip. Even a little faucet drip or toilet leak may cost you hundreds of dollars in extra water costs.
Health and safety issues are another situation that can become a real issue if they are not repaired/replaced right away, broken windows can lead to more broken windows in the matter of a few hours.
Make sure you have in-depth conversations with your property maintenance team so they know exactly what you want them to be looking for, have an inspection walkthrough sheet for them to sign off that details all areas on the exterior and interior of the entire property. Termite inspections are also another way to ward off potential long- term problems - have your maintenance crew inspect for termite droppings a couple of times per year and be sure to have treatments done as soon as possible to catch it before it spreads and becomes a major problem. Many pest control companies offer free treatments in a certain number of units monthly so you want to be sure to capitalize on that.
As with many jobs in property management, being proactive with your maintenance can keep you from spending a small fortune in repairs.