Commercial Property Manager Maintenance Tips for Every Season
Commercial property management is a year-round task as weather changes can bring unexpected complexities throughout the seasons. This is the case for any property manager, from off-site property management companies to professional on-site property managers, and especially for inexperienced property owners. Every season poses a unique set of challenges. The commercial real estate investment property you oversee must be ready for any weather condition, regardless if you’re encountering winter snow or summer winds. Managing apartment buildings, or an office, retail, or warehouse space? Get out your calendar and start jotting down these property manager maintenance tips to follow during each of the four seasons.
Don’t Fall for Autumn’s Spell – Remain Vigilant Against Leaves, Leaks, and Cracks
Autumn brings a beautiful array of colors atop your property’s trees; however, this season can also result in quite a mess. We’re talking about leaves, of course. Those nettlesome leaves make their landing on sidewalks and paths, as well as on rooftops and in gutters. Every commercial property manager knows to get ahead of this as early as possible. Aside from the leaves, it’s also an ideal time to inspect windows, doors, and rooftops for potential leaks and cracks. Get started on these four autumn maintenance tasks early to keep your commercial properties running smoothly and prevent costly future repairs:
1.) Create a Leaf Clearing Schedule
Don’t wait until the last minute to create an autumn cleaning schedule for your apartment building. Not only do leaves block essential drainage areas, but also they become quite slick when wet. You are responsible for the safety of your tenants. As a commercial property manager, why risk a lawsuit should someone slip and fall on your property?
2.) Inspect and Clean Debris
Gutters, including downspouts, should be inspected and cleared on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. Walk the building’s perimeter to make sure that water isn’t pooling around the foundation, which could cause erosion and leaks. And, of course, have all the necessary equipment ready for clearing walkways. These items include blowers, rakes, and brooms. Consider adding screens to cover the spouts or gutter cap systems, which will keep gutters and downspouts flowing smoothly. These accessories will make life much easier for a commercial property manager.
3.) Conduct a Roof Check
While inspecting the gutters, also check the property’s roof. A basic roof check consists of examining the attic ceiling for leaks, stains, bubbling or sagging areas, and light seeping in. In addition to clogged gutters, damage to the roof also can lead to roof rot.
4.) Check All Windows and Doors
Drafts are the greatest source of heating and cooling energy loss, especially during autumn and winter. Identifying and sealing sources of drafts will keep your tenants (and your wallet) happy. Swap door screens with storm doors. When window and door replacements aren’t feasible, weather-stripping and caulking are effective alternatives. Visually inspect windows, doors (and door frames), and surrounding areas to determine if air is leaking in. Please note: Caulking, weather-stripping, or a replacement is likely needed if they rattle, light seeps in, or you feel a draft.
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Winter Will Test Your Property’s Fortitude
We know our winters – Columbus, Ohio has seen its fair share of snow over the years, and boy, can it get cold. Below are three ways to ensure a clean, safe, warm, and enjoyable winter for your tenants:
1.) Book Snow Removal Services… Now
Even before the first flake sticks to the ground, make sure you’re prepared; have snow removal professionals ready and on-hand. Be prepared to remove snow from driveways, walkways, parking lots, and even roofs and chimneys at the drop of a hat. If you have a plow and/or snow blower on hand, take them for a test run. Tenants in your apartment complex understand inclement weather, but they also want a way out in case of an emergency.
2.) Inspect and Wrap Pipes
Many properties, especially warehouse space, have exposed pipes that can cause a dangerous (and messy) situation when the temperature drops. Get some foam sleeves and wrap those pipes to prevent freezing and bursting.
3.) Check for Heat Escape
Take the time to walk through the property you are managing, whether it’s a retail rental space or an apartment building. Examine doors, windows, and the roof, for any cracks, gaps, loose caulking, or damaged weather stripping. It’s best to make these repairs as early as possible in the winter before the weather becomes unbearable.
Spring Into Action with a Fresh Look
Springtime is about rejuvenation, especially after our traditionally harsh winters here in Columbus, Ohio. It’s an opportune time to do some cleaning to restore that curb appeal. Our commercial property managers are experienced in every kind of spring maintenance, repairs, and remodeling. And they recommend starting with these three projects:
1.) Wash Away the Winter Blues… Or Grays
The winter weather creates dirt, salt, and other pollutants that may permanently ruin the façade of your building if left too long. Wipe off the muck and grime! Rid your building of the winter blues, grays, and everything in between with a good power washing.
2.) Perform Springtime Yard Maintenance
Clean up any dead plants, broken limbs, and any other debris that may have been damaged under the snow or as a result of a snowplow or shovel. Afterward, pruning and planting may be in order. Planting new shrubs and flowers in an outdoor space can bring freshness to the property’s appearance. Make an activity out of it! If you manage an apartment complex, invite your tenants for an event that will foster and brighten your community.
3.) Inspect Equipment for Safety
Spring is also a great time to check in on critical equipment, namely smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Make it a habit to replace all batteries, even if they are relatively new. Better to be safe than sorry! Call upon a professional when inspecting the HVAC system. It’s critical to test your system, clean/replace filters, and ensure that your tenants will be comfortable in the summer heat.
R, R, and R: Summer is for Rest, Relaxation, and… Repair
Summer is the best time to renegotiate contracts, plan for significant repairs, and take care of pesky pests. Start your summer off with a bit of preparation by following the three tips below; but don’t forget, leave time for some fun in the sun!
1.) Review Finances and Renegotiate Contracts
The summertime is an excellent time for a commercial property manager to review bills and renegotiate contracts. Because you’re halfway through the year, it’s easy to see how your property is trending on utilities and maintenance. Reviewing, renegotiating, and then rebalancing resources can go a long way for long-term management.
2.) Consider the Timing of Capital Projects
When it comes to major repair and capital work on your managed property, double-check: is summer the only or best time? Summertime is a busy season for most contractors. Your rental units may require roof repair, sidewalk repaving, painting, or structural updates; however, balancing improvement projects with the appropriate amount of time is crucial. Make sure you conduct the necessary research, budgeting, and coordination before undertaking too much. These projects usually take a “hands-on” approach, so plan to be onsite as much as possible to ensure that everything is going smoothly.
3.) Show Those Pests the “Unwelcome Mat”
Summer usually conjures up thoughts of fun in the sun, but it may also make you think about bugs. Make sure your property gets treated for all sorts of pests and insects that come out in the summer. For many, mosquitos are the biggest offender. Ensure you have the appropriate sprays and eliminate standing water, where they love to harvest.
Get the Commercial Property Manager Help You Need in Any Weather Condition
Your strip mall, apartment building, industrial space, or office building needs consistent attention, no matter the time of year. Whether it’s commercial properties in Columbus, Ohio, industrial properties in Bexley, Ohio, or mixed-use properties in Dublin, Ohio, we’ve been the go-to professionals for commercial property management services. Our solution is built on a state-of-the-art platform that oversees the maintenance of your facility, tracks income and expenses, and reports to all parties with a unique user interface.
At the core of our commercial property management services, The Robert Weiler Company has 80+ years of commercial real estate experience, and there isn’t much we haven’t seen (or can’t anticipate). We provide unmatched commercial real estate property management services year-round for perfectly maintained properties. Other CRE services include commercial appraisal and brokerage services, to legal assistance, help with tenant management, building management, and more. Call us today at 614-221-4286 to speak with one of our certified property managers or advisors. Discover how you can leverage our commercial property management services expertise to generate ROI for your Ohio investment properties.