Thursday, December 13, 2018

5 Winter Maintenance Tips for Property Owners and Property Managers

As the cold winter approaches, property owners and property managers should start preparing for the detrimental impact winter may have on their properties. Luckily, by proactively protecting your properties and being fully prepared for winter storms, you can easily avoid any negative damages from harsh winter storms. Here are 5 simple steps for protecting your homes from the damaging winter weather this upcoming season:

1. Inspect the Exterior of Your Properties

Before the harsh snow storms appear, ensure that your properties are in excellent condition and are capable of withstanding winter weather. First, inspect your property for dying trees and broken branches which could potentially damage your property when high winds and aggressive storms arise. Also, inspect your property for seemingly harmless defects, such as small cracks in siding and windows. Freezing winter conditions can quickly intensify these problems, causing larger and more expensive repairs in the near future.

2. Reserve your Snow-Clearing Contractors in Advance

When the first cold winter storm hits, you want your properties to be cleared out first. Make the time to set up contracts with snow-removal companies, to avoid long wait times and aggravated tenants. Monitor the storm forecasts and weather reports and call in advance to secure their services.

3. Check for Build-Up and Snow-Pooling on Roofs

Perhaps one of the most overlooked ways to prepare your properties for winter is to ensure your properties have robust roofs that are able to withstand the heavy snow and ice. Begin by thoroughly checking rooftop AC units and vents for any leaves or debris that would prevent snow from properly melting and draining throughout the winter season. Also, inspect your gutters and clean out any lingering debris. During snow storms, monitoring snow build-up on your roof is just as important as well. Check the distribution of snow build-up to make sure the property isn't overloaded. Low-sloop roofs especially are at a greater risk for pooling, which can result in leaks and heavy property damage.

4. Stock up on Anti-Icing and De-Icing Products

During winter, always keep your properties and buildings safe and risk-free. Preventing icy sidewalks and maximizing safety is extremely important. Simply sprinkling rock salt outside of the building and nearby sidewalks will not fix the problem. As a responsible property manager, it is absolutely essential to invest in anti-icing and de-icing products. De-icing products will melt snow and ice after they fall, while anti-icing products will prevent the snow from sticking to begin with. Anti-icing products are an amazing way to minimize winter snow build-up, while also making snow and ice much easier to remove. Most likely, you will need a strong combination of both anti-icing and de-icing products to face the winter strongly and vigorously.

5. Leave the Heat on

Always remember to remind tenants to maintain a minimum temperature of 55 degree Fahrenheit when they go away on vacation. This will prevent pipes from freezing and bursting from cold winter temperatures.

Zillow is Expanding to Buying and Selling Homes

Zillow is expanding, and shaking up the real estate industry in the process. The online real estate company recently expanded into the mortgage business with their acquisition of of Mortgage Lenders of America. Now, Zillow is ready to start buying homes directly from sellers for cash, making whatever improvements are necessary, and listing them for sale.

Zillow's new direct buyer business is called Zillow Offers. Zillow quietly launched their direct buying business in Phoenix in April; now their services are available in Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Denver. The company will be soon expanding to California and North Carolina as well. As of this week, potential home sellers in the Charlotte, North Carolina area will be able to request a free, no-obligation cash offer for their home from Zillow. If the seller agrees to accept the offer, they then pick a closing date which works best for them. Zillow then takes possession of the home, does any necessary home improvements or cleaning, and sells the home for profit.

What makes Zillow's direct buying program different from others, is that Zillow is not cutting real estate agents out of the process. Zillow will be assigning a local real estate agent in the purchase and sale of each home, which will allow the real estate agents to earn commission. Zillow will be represented by the Redbud Group at Keller Williams South Park in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Zillow will be partnering with multiple brokerages across the United States, even giving them leads from motivated sellers, who decide not to accept Zillow's cash offer. Zillow has become part of the growing trend of real-estate companies buying homes directly from owners. Zillow's new service will be available in eight U.S countries by the end of 2019, interested homeowners will receive a preliminary offer within 2 days and close the sale in as little as 7 days from signing.