Multifamily Property Management –
With Every Storm There Are Silver Linings
How to Effectively Manage Your Destiny
When you manage apartment properties through a storm of biblical proportions such as a 1000-year flood like Hurricane Harvey, you learn a thing or two along the way. As we approach almost to the day three years post-Harvey, and we watch two simultaneous storms track through the Gulf of Mexico, we know that whatever comes our way, the sun will shine again. Tropical Storm Marco has made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi and eyes are now on Hurricane Laura which could become a Category 3 hurricane heading for the upper Texas and Louisiana coasts.
Here are some tips that we learned along the way that can be helpful in the coming days.
In Every Disaster There Are Silver Linings
While storms do often create destruction and we are well-versed in storm rehab, we also know where opportunities can be found. When single family homes flood, more people need apartments. Getting the word out quickly fills apartments. Upstairs units become more desirable during floods. With electrical outages, gas appliances can be king. Power outages along the Texas Gulf Coast are not new. While power service interruption is a temporary inconvenience, digital down time forces people away from screens and creates closer families and communities.
Insurance as Capital Infusion
Managed properly, insurance can provide a positive capital infusion with new roofing being one of the top items replaced.
Texas Apartment Leases Are Owner Friendly
In Texas, we like keep things simple. Texas apartment leases are owner friendly. We do as we say and our word is our bond, sealed with a friendly elbow bump until which time we can safely shake hands again.
Well Connected Achieves Best Opportunities
Having a trusted book of reliable vendors and contractors who have proven honest and trustworthy is like liquid gold post disaster. Shopping for new vendors after a storm can often find you at the back of a very long and sometimes shady line.
Contractors are anxious to work larger apartment properties after a disaster. Apartments covered by insurance get the utmost attention. Those properties who return to service the quickest tend to create the best ROI.
Dry Out – A Potentially Costly Phase?
There are many national disaster restoration companies selling services with expensive dehumidification equipment that dry out buildings artificially. Sometimes, this is necessary such as in a high-rise property where windows don’t open and ventilation is difficult to achieve.
In most suburban garden-style apartment complexes, we find this is not the case. When you know what you are doing and have done it time and again, promptly removing water damaged materials, opening up the walls, letting nature take its course and using proper, professional mold inhibitors goes a long way and can save a lot of money.
Water-filled dams, auto/vehicle protection envelopes, storm barriers and other high-ticket equipment tends to make others jealous more than anything. These are often more trouble than help and rarely available when needed. Setup too soon and they can limit access. Setup too late and they fail. ROI on these expenditures is a maybe at best and all depends on your circumstances.
Is Your Apartment Property in a Flood Zone Today?
FACT: More than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside high-risk flood zones, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
This information changes as watersheds become affected by more concrete and more development. It’s important to keep an active eye on changing data.
Everyone Works Together in Texas
Texans have huge hearts and help each other. After a disaster, municipalities and management districts pitch in and often pay for debris removal. Many laws and regulations get suspended and modified after a crisis – especially for apartment operators who have proven to be responsible.
Knowing where to focus first after a disaster to manage the insurance process, get remediation underway quickly and apartment properties back in business can save, time, money, stress and increase occupancy rates in record time.
While we cannot control how many storms come or where disaster may strike next, we do know how to prepare, how to mobilize and how to get things done. With wi-fi and cloud-based applications, our team is nimble in the face of disaster.
We’re happy to visit with you on disaster preparedness and your Texas apartment property management portfolio. We also advise on apartment deals in the pipeline and if you’re in the middle of a purchase during a disaster, good PSA’s can help to ensure proceeds go to the buyer. After these one-two punch storms in the Gulf of Mexico pass, give us a call, come visit or let’s meet up on Zoom. We love to talk apartments and would love to share insight with you.