The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” still holds true, especially when it comes to real estate investment. Smart investors know that being proactive can really pay off to avoid problems in the future. Planning ahead can make your building safer and more comfortable and give you the advantage when it comes to controlling future costs.
Investors who recognize the importance of keeping up with routine maintenance, updating equipment and systems, instituting procedures for emergencies and enlisting the help of professionals can go a long way in preventing costly issues in the future. Successful investors stay attuned to the market so they can avoid situations before they have an adverse effect while taking advantage of opportunities.
Image Source: Loopnet.com
Here are some basic tips for proactive owners who want the best return on their investment.
- Keep Up with Routine Maintenance
Keeping up with maintenance on your building is key to preventing small issues from mushrooming into complicated problems with substantial unexpected costs. Regular inspections and maintenance for both the exterior and the interior of the structure is essential. Routine maintenance can reveal when systems need to be updated before they fail completely. A qualified property manager can provide the expert maintenance services you need and offer professional advice to answer any questions you may have.
- Inspect the Roof: Check the roof for cracked shingles, popped nails or other damage, and make repairs as needed.
- Doors and Windows: Check caulking and the weather seal around windows and doors, and make repairs as needed.
- Exterior Walls: Make sure gutters and down spouts are clear and properly placed to direct water away from exterior walls. Check the mortar between bricks.
- Foundation: Look for cracks, and hire a professional to use epoxy for repairs.
- Landscaping and Sprinklers: Trim trees, replace dead shrubbery and keep the lawn neatly mowed. Dead spots on the lawn can indicate that a sprinkler repair is needed.
- Plumbing: Check for leaks and clean out the building trap if drainage is slow.
- Electrical: Make sure switches and meters are well-lit and easily accessible and that you have the proper amperage to meet code. Cables and conduits should be firmly attached to beams or walls, and lighting and appliances should be operating properly. Inspect wiring to eliminate fire hazards.
- Air-Conditioning: Inspect air filters monthly and clean or change them as needed to prevent damage. Clean the coils to decrease energy costs and increase efficiency. Clean the blower components for proper airflow and check the drain pans.
- Heating: Change filters monthly and have the thermostat recalibrated yearly.
- Fire and Security: Test smoke detectors annually, and know the location of all shut-offs for water, gas and electricity. Check fire extinguishers on a regular basis.
- Plan for an Emergency
Being proactive by developing policies and procedures ahead of time is the best way to handle emergency situations. Emergencies come about suddenly, requiring a quick and effective response. Whether you are dealing with a natural disaster like a fire, flood, or weather event or a man-made emergency such as civil disturbances, chemical spills or explosions, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends an Emergency Action Plan that is specific to your building.
Recommendations for an Emergency Action Plan:
- A method for reporting the emergency
- An evacuation plan including escape procedures, floorplans and route assignments and refuge areas
- An updated list of contacts responsible for the implementation of the plan for further information about required actions
- A detailed procedure for the employees who must remain onsite to perform essential services, such as shutting down operations or operating fire extinguishers
- Designated workers for rescue and medical duties
- An assembly location to account for all employees after evacuation
- A secure location for storage of records and documents
- Do Your Homework
Savvy real estate investors are proactive in establishing long-term goals that focus on the big picture and take market trends into consideration. Many investors concentrate on a particular market niche in order to gain the depth of knowledge necessary for successful investing. Staying abreast of current real estate trends can allow you to adjust your business to decrease risks. Keeping up to date with current real estate law and local regulations such as building codes is essential to avoid costly legal issues that can ensue if you are ignorant of the law. Successful investors benefit by knowing current consumer buying habits trends, the projected direction of unemployment and mortgage rates, student loan statistics and other economic indicators that affect real estate values and point toward an increased risk or a developing opportunity.
- Get Professional Help
Real estate investment is a business, and like any business you need the support of professionals who can help you get the best return on your investment. The professionals at Gain Property Management can put you in touch with experts who can give you the best advice to make your business venture a success.
Gain Property Management provides professional property management services to commercial and residential investors. We are a licensed and insured company offering full service and advanced technology self-management capabilities to provide flexibility to our clients.