If you’re a Portland, Oregon real estate investor who is in the middle of a disaster, you may have a hard time thinking clearly. Whether you’re worried about what the current coronavirus pandemic means for your residents and your cash flow or you’re responding to a flood, fire, or other disaster at your property – it’s a stressful time. Today we’re talking about what you should be doing to manage your property in the middle of an emergency or a disaster that you didn’t see coming.
Portland Investors Must Stay Calm and Professional
Most of the time, we are busy living our lives and doing our work, and things stay pretty routine.
That’s a good time to talk about disasters; when things are calm. When you’re actually in the middle of an emergency or a catastrophe, it’s hard to maintain that sense of calm. Your first reaction might be to get over-excited or to panic. That’s completely normal and very human. But, if you can remind yourself to rise above it and stay professional and businesslike, you’re going to help yourself, your resident, and your Portland investment property.
Make sure you’re focusing on solutions and not just on the problem that’s currently surrounding you. The least productive thing you can do in an emergency is to allow your imagination to run away and convince you that things are just going to get worse and worse and worse.
Try to keep your head and be cool.
Assess the Situation and Solve the Problem
People can easily get worked up and go to the worst case scenario in their minds. Right now, with the coronavirus potentially preventing you from collecting rent, you might fear that you won’t have any rental income for the next six months. That’s probably not going to be the case. If your house is flooding, you might immediately assume it’s going to be a total loss. But, it probably won’t be.
Normally, the worst never happens. In our minds, it’s easy to make things a lot worse than they are.
The smart advice here, when you’re in the middle of the disaster, is to take a breath. Relax. Assess the situation as it actually is, and then begin to make determinations about how you can solve the problem.
In hockey, players say to skate to where the puck is going to be, not where the puck is currently. That’s sensible, and there’s something to learn for landlords and rental property owners who are standing over the puck.
Focus on Resources that Solve the Problem
Focus on the actual resources that will solve the problem. They’re there – you have to know how to find them and put them to good use.
Don’t worry so much about the potential end results. It’s probably not in your control anyway. What you can control is the resources that you need. Think about who you need to call and where you can find help. If there’s a fire, you can call the fire department because you’re not going to put it out yourself. If there’s flooding, turn the water off. Then, focus on preventing additional damage and remediation. Call your utility companies.
The middle of the disaster is not the best time to be putting together a list of resources and phone numbers. This isn’t the opportune moment to begin thinking about an emergency toolkit. Hopefully, you have those things in place already. If you do, then managing a catastrophe is going to be a lot less stressful. If you don’t have that in place now, think about what you’ll learn from this experience and how to prepare for the next one.
There’s a lot you can’t do in the middle of a crisis. But, you can remain calm. You can have a cheat sheet that tells you and your residents what to do first. You can work hard at getting the right people to the right solution.
Once you have things under control, it’s a good time to create a disaster manual or a handbook. When you’re in the middle of the latest terrible event, you’re not going to be able to remember everything that you want to remember. You’re going to think and act quickly.
For example, in Portland, trees fall down. We have big trees and high winds. So, if you’re in the middle of dealing with a crisis wherein a large tree has fallen through your roof, you may not know off the top of your head which tree company you normally call. But, it will be in your disaster plan, which you’ll be able to reach for and put to good use. You can call that tree company and get them out there as soon as possible.
Put all your disaster plans, contacts, and resources in writing. Keep it accessible.
Educate and Protect your Portland, Oregon Residents
Residents need phone numbers and resources, too. Make sure they know how to reach the police department, fire department, and other emergency response professionals. They should know where the shut off valves are.
Your residents will likely be on the front lines of the emergency. They need to know they should call the fire department first, not the landlords. They need to have the Northwest Natural Gas phone number, and they need to know they should vacate the property immediately if they smell rotten eggs or gas.
Resident safety must be your first and foremost concern. Give them the tools they need to prevent a larger problem. They’ll feel more capable if they’re armed with a bit of knowledge before disaster strikes.
No one buys a rental property thinking they’ll have a calamity. But, we know that things happen. It’s a matter of how you see the disaster, adjust to it, and then re-adjust. After you come through it, you can use the experience to think logically and put a better crisis management plan in place.
Most importantly, remember to work from data and facts. Don’t think and act from a place of fear and emotion. You’re running a business, but there’s a resident inside that business who is perhaps feeling emotional and worried. Their lives are in that property and they may not be thinking clearly. So, make sure you are.
If you want more information about handling emergencies, or you have any questions about professional property management in Portland, Oregon, please contact us at Mynd Property Management.