Remember when we were kids and snow days were something to celebrate? Better yet, remember this time last year, when being forced to stay home from the office for almost any reason would have been an answered prayer? Now that’s last thing anyone wants, especially since our bosses and teachers can beam into our space via video chat. In the Northeast, this week’s snowstorm brought yet another layer of disruption to daily life – especially in New York City, where the largest snowfall since 2016 led to a mass transit fiasco and a two-day suspension of COVID vaccinations.
For property management companies and others responsible for keeping our homes safe, storms always make a tough job exponentially harder. Even the smallest untended detail suddenly becomes a potential disaster that could cause tens of thousands in damages and likely the loss of a client as well.
The risk is even greater in rural areas, where road closures can prevent workers and delivery services from getting to the property. By the time things thaw out, you may be dealing with burst pipes, floods and major structural damage.
Here are just a few ways in which an all-in-one dynamic property management solution can mean the difference between inconvenience and catastrophe.
Preparation: No surprise here – getting ready for a possible storm is much easier than dealing with the aftermath of an actual one. And following forecasts is not always helpful, as they can change dramatically within the space of a few hours. All-in-one solutions allow you to keep track of tasks in one space, from regular winterizing protocols such as furnace inspections and the sealing of entry points to checks of vulnerable areas such as plumbing, unfinished renovations, and even garaged vehicles.
Form a Communications hub: You can easily manage and coordinate workflows from various service providers such as plumbers, electricians, and arborists, rather than sifting through your email and texts. You can also connect these people to each other so they can collaborate when their jobs overlap.
Update Owners and Tenants: Even in the best of times this is arguably the most important part of a property manager’s job, and especially so during a major storm. People are incredibly resilient and can often rise to the occasion, so long as they are kept informed. Let tenants know the status of repairs and power outages; remind them to stock up on emergency supplies and do what they can to prevent damage all within the dynamic property management solution. In some cases, you may even be able to enlist them to help, for example, by spreading salt to keep public walkways safe. It’s also a good idea to send regular updates to absentee owners so they know their second home or investment property is being cared for.
No matter how organized you are, there’s a good chance you will be dealing with at least one crisis during and after a significant weather event. If this week’s storm has put a major crimp in your week and your mood, a shift in perspective may be in order. This New York Times article provides a photographic history of the some city’s most brutal snowstorms in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. If nothing else, it will give you new appreciation for all our modern lifestyle management conveniences, from heated driveways and four-wheel drive to streaming services and food deliveries.