Anyone that has had a property impacted by weather knows that this winter has created plenty of headaches. Between the ice, the cold and the snow, it seems that every other day there is another issue to deal with. Gone are the days when six inches of snow meant a day of sled riding and hot chocolate. If you are a property owner, winter weather means you had better be prepared to work before and after the storm hits. If you think the snow and ice will just go away on its own, you will have more problems to deal with than just a long commute. Real estate investors need to be ready for winter weather conditions.
The first and most obvious hassle with the snow is its removal from driveways and walks. By now you should have someone lined up to do this when snowfall warrants. However, this does not mean they are doing exactly what you are paying them for. The next storm, take a drive up to the property and see if they are doing the walk right or pushing the snow where you asked them to. If they know you are not living in the property, they may push the snow on your front yard and cause bigger problems come spring time. You are probably paying anywhere from $35-100 every time it snows. You deserve to get what you are paying for.
Once your tenants are happy, you can worry about bigger problems related to your property. A byproduct of heavy snow and cold are freezing pipes and possible roof leaks. If there is too much snow on the roof or the gutter has created a dam, there is nowhere for the water to run off. Eventually, this will wear on the roof and over time could create a leak by the windows. Once the gutter is frozen, this can be difficult to deal with but the best way to avoid this is to get the roof shoveled after heavy snow. You can either buy a roof rake or get someone go on the roof and remove the snow. This may seem excessive, but the potential costs of repairing the roof and the ceiling can far exceed the $60 rake.
Frozen pipes, particularly in the garage area, are another issue worth keeping an eye on. If your property has a garage, you need to stress the importance of keeping the garage door closed and keeping out any extreme cold. If the pipes freeze, you are looking at replacing any walls and finding and replacing the busted pipe area. Also, your tenant may be out of water for a day or two and if the storm is bad enough much longer.
There is nothing you can do to avoid mother nature. The best way to handle it is to be prepared for it and to take action before storms hit. Little things like calling your snow removal company to confirm they are coming and telling your tenants to keep oil in the tank and close the garage can save you money before the storm hits. After the snow comes, monitor your property and your roof and see if a simple fix can be made. Dealing with snow and cold is not just an inconvenience, it can cost you money if you are not careful.