Managing a multifamily property is all about planning. With the right fall maintenance plans in place, emergencies are either dealt with swiftly or are prevented before they can happen. You make plans through your vendor leases and agreements, your maintenance schedule, and with the seasons themselves.
The fall is an important time to pay attention to your multifamily property. As the cold weather blows in, there are a few things you’ll want to take care of both in terms of fall maintenance and business management.
Join us through this quick checklist on fall maintenance for multifamily property managers and owners.
Leasing & marketing
The holidays are a tough time to find new residents. So if that’s going to happen, you want to know ahead of time. In the fall, you’ll want to check on all resident lease dates and send renewal notices to those whose leases end during the holidays. This way, you’ll get a clearer idea of who is staying and if you’ll need to tackle holiday tenant turnover.
If you do have residents leaving in the fall, now is when you want to start marketing for a new tenant. Prospects are thinner in the winter so getting started early is the best possible plan. Be ready to do your between-tenant work lightning fast or, if a unit does stand empty for a while, consider any pending renovations.
Pro Tip: In the future, try to avoid signing leases that end between November and January. Consider offering lease incentives and flexibility for tenants to end their leases before or after that time. They don’t really want to be moving during the holidays, either, so this is not a hard pitch to make.
Drills and safety
With the cool autumn winds, the fall is a great time to do your annual fire drills and safety checks. Why? Because your tenants won’t be baking or freezing while they march calmly to the parking lot and back to show they know how. Fire drills cause everyone to roll their eyes and remember being 14 again, but they are also a necessary part of responsible property management.
Designate a safe distant area where tenants will be safe in the event of a fire. Assign tenant-buddies for any residents who are too elderly or handicapped to get themselves out.
The fall is also a good time to check in with your management performance. Assess how efficiently you’re spending your operating budget and whether you’re hitting your target metrics. Fall gives you enough time to correct your course and get your financial books in order before the end of the year. Plus, you’ll have some great ideas for your property new year’s resolutions. Assess your performance with our multifamily property operations checklist.
Pro Tip: Fall is also the time to get serious about any holiday party plans for the resident community.
Next, ask yourself about how the business is doing. Fall is when we start thinking about endings, so let that guide you to smart business decisions. Set aside time each fall to review your asset management plans. Start with a review of your:
- Exit strategies. Just in case you need them in the future.
- Tax strategies. Speak with your CPA to take full advantage of the tax benefits for real estate investors.
- Local rent prices. Is it time to raise your rate?
- Property value and the interest rates. Is it time to refinance, sell or 1031 exchange? Are you ready for new assets?
- Competition and tenant trends. Is it time for renovations or capital improvements?
- Partnerships Do you need better communication, a new plan, or a new partner?
Fall is a great time to think strategically about your income-producing assets. Consider taking your portfolio through a SWOT analysis. This is a powerful tool used to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within your multifamily property portfolio.
Fall maintenance & inspections
Last but certainly not least, remember that fall is a great time to take care of all inspections and maintenance concerns before the chill sets in. You want everything in ship-shape so that the first freeze has no chance to do damage and your building’s furnace & water heaters last all winter long.
Roof: The roof should be at the top of your fall maintenance list every fall. Check roof, scuppers and downspouts for:
- Wear and tear
Drainage: Keep an eye on your drainage after a heavy autumn rain. Watch anywhere for pooling water or lingering dampness. Check the drives and parking area for cracks or low places that puddle. Check the casings for water seepage and basements for signs of potential leaks and flooding.
Debris: Why do we call autumn “fall?” Because everything trees can possibly drop, they drop onto your lawn. Now is also the time to clean up before the first snow. Keep your property clear of dead leaves, weeds, and branches. If you have leaf removal or snow removal equipment, have it inspected and repaired. Touch base with your landscaping and snow removal companies about your fall and winter maintenance schedules and costs.
Landscaping: Plant fall bulbs, cold weather resistant plants like pansies, marigolds. Follow a leaf clearing schedule. Blow-out and turn off sprinkler systems. Store water hoses. Insulate spigots.
Windows & doors: Anywhere the building has an aperture, check it. The fall rains and the winter snows will try to get in. Followed by cold winds and condensation. Caulk and weather stripping are your best friends and can help you reseal any apertures that are loose or have a loose fit in their frames. Crooked frames can indicate foundation issues.
Lighting: While the weather’s still nice, gather up your bulbs and make a round of the outdoor lighting. Inspect each light for integrity and take care of any minor repairs. This will all make sure you’re not trudging through the snow to replace a dead light bulb in December. Remember to change the timers in outdoor and other security lighting.
HVAC: Finally, never to be underestimated during your fall maintenance inspections, get your building HVAC checked. Heat is the single most important utility during the winter so you’ll want to have that locked and assured before the first freeze. Change the filters, adjust temperature settings, and take care of any necessary tune-ups. Now is also a good time to “put away” your AC in top condition.
The fall is an important time for multifamily property owners and managers. Whether you are taking care of fall maintenance preparations or reviewing your business goals, now is the perfect time to get all your property ducks in a row. For more insights on managing your current property or moving forward with your investment plans, contact us today.***
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