15 Ways Property Managers Can Prepare for Summer Now
We're just as tired of the snow and Siberian Express as you are. But it's not too early to start thinking about summer, especially when it comes to real estate. We asked property managers around the country how they're preparing buildings for the eventual return of sunshine and sweltering temps.
Stream Realty's Rob Bridges
Stream Realty manages 120M SF of office, retail, industrial and multifamily properties; 36M SF of the portfolio in the Houston metro, where Rob, its managing director of property management, is based.
1) Check Irrigation Systems: Look for damage caused by freezing temperatures, landscape maintenance damage and general operations to make sure it’s ready for summer watering.
2) Perform Critical HVAC Maintenance: Start up your systems and take care of heavy-duty preventive maintenance early. “You can’t afford to have any down time in the hot summer months,” Rob says.
3) Check Your Load Shed Agreements: If your building is equipped with the appropriate energy management systems, you could realize substantial savings by shedding load back to the grid when summer demands are at their peak.
Above is BBVA Compass Plaza in Houston, one of the many buildings Stream manages.
4) Look at Your Trending Energy Use: Ensure that your Energy Star data is accurate and up to date in order to track your portfolio’s energy usage and compare to previous time periods to understand your demand and supply.
5) Prepare for Hurricanes Now: It's a good idea to conduct drills, know how you’ll protect your asset from wind and flood conditions, have supplemental utility generation plans ready to go and be prepared to immediately remediate damage that may occur. It’s also a good time to make sure tenants understand the property’s emergency plans.
Western National Property Management's Nick Alicastro
Western National Property Management (WNPM) manages 175 multifamily communities comprising 25,000 units in Southern California, Las Vegas, Colorado and Utah; Nick is its VP of business development.
6) Visit Every Unit: WNPM stops by every single unit it manages to make sure filters and forced-air units are cleaned and that smoke alarms are tested and get battery changes.
7) Do a Landscaping Walk: Check your properties for winter damage and to evaluate what plants you’ll need to order and replace.
8) Check Your Lease Expirations: There tends to be a lot of multifamily turnover in the summer, so now is a good time to plan resident events, retention programs, contests, and other methods of boosting renewals. While you’ll need to spend money, these cost less than what you’ll spend on turnover and vacancy costs.
9) Schedule and Finish All Major Capital Work: Since WNPM’s tenants are all residential, it’s important that it finish all major property work—such as roof repairs, painting and pool maintenance—by Memorial Day, as not to disturb residents spending more time at their homes and outdoors (like at Ironwood and Fairway Palms in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, above).
Lincoln Property Co's Shane Froman and Jeff Clayton
Lincoln Property Co manages 9M SF of office, industrial and retail properties throughout Georgia; Shane, VP of property management (above), and Jeff, director of engineering (below), are based in Atlanta.
10) Do Predictive Maintenance: In addition to preventive maintenance, look for ways to save energy through your HVAC system, such as cleaning cooling coils and tracking performance annually to make sure you’re getting the most out of your system (you can't manage what you don't measure, they say).
11) Check Your Building Envelope: Make sure everything is water-tight; since it rains more during this time of year, it’s a good time to observe. It'll ensure that moisture and unconditioned air is not entering the building, which directly impacts energy consumption and indoor air quality.
12) Evaluate Your Life Safety Equipment and Emergency Preparedness Plans: Many property managers do this in October, but now’s the best time to do so before hurricane and tornado season hits—and especially while staff and tenants aren’t so focused on budgets or summer vacations.
13) Make Sure All Your Bids Are in Process Now: You want to be able to pull the trigger on major capital work as soon as spring arrives.
14) Renegotiate Gas: Spring is the best time to see if you can get better rates on your gas contracts.
15) Track Your Water Usage: By comparing annual data, you can see where you might have a deficit during summer months and plan accordingly for your indoor water consumption and irrigation systems.
Bonus...Start Working On Your Tan: It’s almost time to dust off your golf clubs, Rob Bridges jokes, and who doesn't want to look good on the green?