There was, perhaps, a time when we didn’t think of Charleston as having extreme weather. Things seem to be shifting, however, and in recent years, we have found ourselves dealing with winters that are colder (and sometimes even snowier) than expected, and summers that come with intense heat and even the threat of tropical weather and storms.
Are you prepared for this? Is your rental property in Charleston prepared for it?
The best way to protect your investment from the damage that extreme weather can do is to put together a preventative maintenance schedule. The amount of preventative maintenance you need will depend on the age and condition of your property. However, we can make some general recommendations, and these are the best preventative maintenance tips we have for you.
Prepare for Potential Emergencies Ahead of Time
Cleaning the furnace, inspecting the roof and the gutters, looking for leaks, preparing for heat and storms, and winterizing your property should all be part of your seasonal and preventative maintenance plans.
These things will reduce the likelihood of emergencies.
Those unexpected maintenance calls will always be a disruption, no matter how well you maintain your investment property. They’ll always be expensive, too, and when there’s extreme weather on the horizon, you don’t want to be playing catch-up with your maintenance plans.
You can expect flooding, high winds, and homes that take on hours and days of intense sun. The extreme weather that shows up from time to time in Charleston will be difficult enough to deal with; when you have a property that’s already behind the curve when it comes to maintenance, you’re only increasing your problems and your expenses.
Be prepared. Ensure qualified technicians are regularly inspecting and servicing your rental property and its functions, and you won’t have a large number of those emergencies.
Prepare Charleston Rental Homes for Summer Heat
The weather in Charleston can be intense, especially in the summer with high humidity levels. We also get some high winds, periods of intense rain, and cold winters. Your rental property’s heating and cooling system will certainly work hard all year long. This is one of the most expensive systems in your home, so you want to make sure it’s running as efficiently and effectively as it can.
Focus on air conditioning in the summer. As extreme temperatures approach, you want to make sure you’re not fielding tons of calls from tenants who cannot seem to get their air conditioning working.
Preventative maintenance is the key to keeping repair calls and costs to a minimum. Have a technician come out to your property twice a year, between each season, to inspect and clean the HVAC. This will ensure that any problems are detected early. You’ll know your tenants are unlikely to complain about their air conditioning not working in the middle of July.
Educate your tenants about the need for filter changes. They have a role to play in the way your property is maintained and protected during periods of extreme weather. Keep the lines of communication open, and be willing to work with them when they have questions or need help.
Preparing Charleston Investment Homes for Tropical Storms and Hurricanes
Hurricane Season officially runs from June 1 until November 30, and Charleston is particularly susceptible to a hurricane making landfall. Even if it’s not a hurricane, tropical rain and winds can have a dramatic impact on the region and your property.
- Preventative Maintenance before the Storm
Preventative and proactive measures need to be taken before the storm arrives. First, stay informed. Make sure you know when the winds and the rain are expected, and keep an eye on any changes in course. Tropical storms are easily forecasted, but their exact trajectory are a bit more unpredictable. You have to keep up with the new information coming from state and local governments.
You’ll need to have an emergency plan in place. The best time to create this plan is before you need it. Make sure you and your tenants have the contact information for emergency shelters and services. Decide when it’s necessary to evacuate. Create digital files for things like emergency contact numbers and insurance policies in case there is water damage that destroys your paper files.
Put together a supply stash of things like bottled water, nonperishable foods, and batteries. You’ll want candles and flashlights. Talk to your tenants about the importance of planning ahead and putting together a similar stash of things they’ll potentially need during the storm.
Consider making upgrades to your property that will enable the home to withstand strong winds and storms. Hurricane clips for windows are not expensive, for example, and can be helpful. Make sure your roof is secure and free of any debris before the storm. Instruct tenants to bring in any patio furniture or outdoor items.
- Evaluating Damage after the Storm
Your first priority is the safety of your tenants. Make sure they can reach you and check in with them from time to time during the storm.
Once the worst of the weather has passed and it is safe to do so, get to your property and survey any damage that may have been done. Inspect the exterior and the interior and make a list of anything that will need to be repaired or replaced. Get your insurance claims started if there’s going to be coverage for any of the damage. Schedule your maintenance team and talk to your tenants about next steps.
Vendors and Contractors Contribute to Preventative Maintenance
Whether we’re talking about flushing your irrigation system or installing stronger windows, you need a team of vendors you can trust.
The right network of licensed and insured vendors will allow you to maintain your home in a way that protects it during the worst of the weather and in general so there’s less deterioration and fewer emergency repairs.
We can help you put together a preventative maintenance plan. Contact us to learn more. Meridian Residential Group in North Charleston provides both single-family and multi-family property management in the Charleston, SC area, including in North Charleston, Summerville, Goose Creek, and Moncks Corner, among other cities.