When you own real estate in Reno and the surrounding areas of Nevada, you need to be prepared for any potential emergency or catastrophe. Most real estate investors don’t like to think about all the things that can possibly go wrong, but if you have an emergency plan in place, you’ll be far more prepared to handle all the unexpected crises that may arise. Today, we’re looking at some of the things that a Reno real estate investor should think about when they’re dealing with an issue at their rental property or within the larger community.
Identify Your Reno Rental Property’s Potential Liabilities
An emergency is always something that is going to be devastating to an investment. Your first step is to identify any potential liabilities. Know where your property is located and what kind of risk it’s exposed to. We don’t have to worry about tornados and hurricanes in Reno, but investors in Tampa and Clearwater or other Florida markets have that concern all the time. It’s an ongoing risk. Know your ongoing risks here in Reno as well. It will help you prepare for potential emergencies locally.
Know what your risks are at your specific property as well. We have found that emergency preparedness is one of the last things people think about, but it’s one of the first things they should consider when they’re investing in Reno.
Update Contact Information and Local Resources
One of the first things you can do to prepare is to identify your local and state authorities. Make sure you have an up to date contact information list for your resident as well. Everyone will need to stay in touch with each other, so landlords and residents have to know how to contact one another.
You also need the contact information for your city, state, and federal emergency responders. You’ll want to access any information that comes out of the city right away. If the mayor issues an order or the governor declares a state of emergency, you’ll want to know what’s happening so you can register the information yourself and share it with your residents.
Quick access will make a big difference in how you respond during the actual event.
Educate Yourself on Your Investment Property
Specifically for Reno, property owners know that they may have to worry about emergencies like earthquakes, fires, floods, major snow events, and even foundation issues that cause their homes to become unstable. We’re in the mountains, so ice and high winds can be dangerous. Even gaining access to the property can be dangerous in the worst winter conditions.
You’ll want to know where your utility access points are. It’s important that you can immediately turn off gas and water and electricity if you need to. Knowing where your electrical panel and water shut off valves are is critical.
Remember that many crisis situations are extremely local. In southern Nevada, the location of your water shut off valve is different than in northern Nevada. Our shut off valves are often buried in the front or side of the house. You might see a big red handle in the garage or near the front door. If you happen to own rental properties in Reno and Las Vegas, you need to do your homework.
As you’re getting to know your own rental property, make sure you use that knowledge to share it with your resident as well. Prepare a manual for your residents to access before they move in. If you can provide an emergency plan before the emergency occurs, you will be in a much better place and so will your residents. Your investment property will also be safer.
Think about everything your resident might need to prepare, from the location of the shut off valves to the phone numbers for the Health Department or the CDC or Poison Control. Many times, it’s hard to think clearly in the heat of an emergency. It could be hard or time-consuming to find the right information, and that’s why it’s so important to be prepared and armed with information ahead of time.
Communication is Critical in Emergencies
Part of preparing for a crisis is setting yourself up for great communication during that emergency. Communication will be one of the most important things when people are scared and uncertain. We always recommend that over-communicating is better than not communicating enough.
Roll out the emergency plan before the emergency happens. You might have a contact card for all your local and state authorities. Your residents can easily know how to reach the Health Department, the nearest hospital, the fire department. They can access information coming from the mayor or the governor’s office. The state or the city may put restrictions in place that affect your investment property, and both you and your residents will need to know about it.
Put together a checklist for your residents, and then you will know that not only are you prepared – your residents are as well. This will put you in a much stronger position than most other Reno real estate investors, and you’ll find it’s a lot easier to bounce back and recover from an emergency when you had those crisis plans in place ahead of time.
An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of gold when you need it. That’s a common phrase for a good reason.
We know that as real estate investors, we’re busy thinking about our ROI and our potential investment opportunities when we’re measuring up which properties we want to buy and rent out. It’s hard to stop and think about the potential of things going wrong. But, that preparation and those plans will go a long way in saving yourself some money and some stress when an emergency does occur. It also makes you a better landlord.
If you have any questions about preparing for a disaster in Reno and how to protect your Reno investment properties, please contact us at Mynd Property Management.