1. Hire the Right Experts
– Certified, licensed and insured contractors are a must when maintaining your portfolio of properties. Managing local maintenance contractors and validating their credentials can be a hassle. National maintenance providers have the experience with multiple property types and the proper supplier network in order to reduce your risk, eliminate hassle and save valuable time.
2. Do the Right Thing
– Do not sweep violations under the rug. Locate a maintenance contractor who has the experience engaging with local authorities to tackle property issues before they become critical or a deal killer. Following local code and maintaining communications with the building department fosters a relationship of mutual trust.
3. Inspect, Inspect, Inspect
The property has to be watched. It is vacant, for goodness sake and it needs eyeballs. Since your time is money, utilize a professional maintenance contractor to inspect properties at least once a month. The contractor should be looking for evidence of damage, deterioration, deferred maintenance or signs of possible infiltration by humans or animals. Detailed inspection/maintenance records, including before/after pictures will not only create a valuable historical record of your property, but very well may impact insurance coverage and show your intent to be a good steward of the property.
4. Security and Theft Are Real Problems
Depending upon the location, consider the use of security fences, guards, lighting and controlled access to prevent crime and vandalism. Vacant buildings draw attention by unwanted visitors. Copper theft, property damage and unauthorized use costs property owners dearly if not addressed. Include security and life-safety audits with every maintenance visit and coordinate procedures with local law enforcement.
5. Documentation Rules
Maintain accurate access records and contact information on key holders and who goes in and out of the property as well as dates and time. If your property is partially occupied, keep a list of mobile and home numbers for use at all times. Consider lock box access for safety forces and keep that documentation with you at all times. Emergencies happen at the worst possible moment, so minimize being caught off guard. If you do not have documentation with you at all times, then provide those that need access with a key, you may risk severe damage to doors if people need to enter your property during an emergency.
Marc Insul, president of Commercial Asset Preservation (CAP) and an active Marketplace Partner of the BrokerList (@BLDG_Maint) is available to take calls and emails from members. Do you have a question about vacant, abandoned or partially occupied properties in your portfolio? Contact Marc at [email protected] or call (800) 445-0640. Marc looks forward to getting to know members and assisting them with their local or national property needs. From inspection and maintenance to day porter and winterization services, you can count on the only national provider of vacant property maintenance and proud Marketplace Partner of theBrokerList.