If you’re an investor and you own rental property in Sacramento or the surrounding area, you may be wondering how you can prepare for an emergency. If there’s a disaster, whether it’s local or global, you want to be prepared.
Today, we are talking to Sacramento investors and property owners about some of the things they should be thinking about.
Proactive Planning for Sacramento Investors
It’s very important to be proactive. You need to have a detailed and strong plan in place ahead of time so you’re not scrambling to figure things out in the middle of the emergency. The best offense is a great defense, and you can defend yourself and your property against all the uncertainty and fear that comes with emergencies by having a good crisis plan in place.
There are several things to address in your emergency plan. If you’re renting out a multi-family property, for example, you’ll want to be sure that all the exits are clearly marked. If all of your tenants need to vacate the property immediately or in the dark, they’ll need to know exactly how to get out. If you’re renting out a single-family home, make sure it’s up to code and not vulnerable to any potential natural disasters that could occur without warning. There are lots of laws and regulations around earthquake strapping on water heaters, for example. Those laws are in place for a reason.
Have all of this in place before you need it.
Educate your Sacramento Residents
Let your residents know how to protect themselves and your property during an emergency. They should know where the shut-off valves are for water and natural gas, and they should also know how to get to the closest local hospital. Taking care of your property is a priority, but the safety and security of your residents has to be part of your planning process.
There are many different ways to educate your residents. Some people prefer to use a handbook, which you can give to people before they move into your home. You can also provide PDF handouts and flyers that give your residents detailed instructions for what to do during an emergency. You might also include contact information for local emergency personnel.
There are different ways to put the necessary information in front of your residents.
Put Together an Emergency Checklist
It’s important to be aware of who your regional authorities are. You’ll also need to know which state, local, and federal agency will be best equipped to help you. Put together a checklist of people to contact. That might be the CDC if you have an illness outbreak or FEMA if there’s a flood or an earthquake.
The next thing on your checklist should be ensuring your insurance policies are up to date. Make sure you know where your policies are, and have a plan for how to get to them during an emergency. Paper copies are not always safe, so make sure they’re scanned and loaded into the cloud or an online server. You’ll want to be able to provide the relevant documents to your resident, property management company, or insurance agent.
With the ability to take videos and pictures of your property, do everything you can to document its condition and what you have inside of it. Before your resident moves in, take a video that shows how the home looks. If there’s damage from a disaster, you’ll have proof of what the property looked like prior to the emergency occurring. Documenting the starting line may help when you’re filing claims or asking for help.
Prepare your own protocols. Insurance companies have their policies, and you know what they entail. When an emergency actually occurs, you want to be able to go directly to your plan of action. When you have a standardized model of how you’ll respond, you’re going to feel more prepared and empowered. If you don’t have a protocol for something, you’ll have to put one together. This is vital: have all the documents and documentation you need, and make sure it’s safely stored online.
Your checklist is best put together when you have time to sit down and plan. You don’t want to be making a list of things to do when you’re in the heat of an emergency. Ask yourself about what you’ll hope to have when you’re in a panic or dealing with something terrible. What do you hope you’ll remember? Think about what your residents will need you to remember. What are they hoping you have the foresight to think about now?
If you’re renting out a multi-family property for example, someone within that building should know how to turn off the water and the gas. If there’s water coming through a ceiling, you don’t want to wait for someone else to respond. Give your residents instructions on how to stop the immediate flooding.
In the case of a larger emergency, remember that first responders and emergency personnel are going to be backed up. A lot of people will need help, so if you know how to stop the damage from actively occurring on your property, you’ll be in a much better position.
Understanding the Sacramento Region
In the Sacramento area, there are the local authorities such as fire departments and hospitals that will be your best resources if there’s an emergency. Your residents should know who they are and how to contact them.
Sacramento also has a 3-1-1 system for resources during an emergency. They list a ton of stuff and provide information on where to find shelters, resources, and help. Even federal resources are linked, so it’s a great starting point. Google is also amazing these days with phone numbers and resources.
Fortunately, Sacramento isn’t tornado prone. We are in a pretty stable area weather-wise, and we don’t have to deal with hurricanes or dramatic snows. But, some areas are designated flood zones, so make sure you’re insured. Know your coverage limits and exclusions. Not all insurance policies include earthquake coverage, for example. It’s typically something you have to add on, and you want to be prepared for that.
If you have any questions about how to prepare your rental property for an emergency, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Mynd Property Management. We’re here to assist you.
You can also visit our Facebook group of investors, which is called Master Mynd. It’s a real estate investors’ club, where you can exchange ideas with other owners. Check out our weekly podcast as well, called The Myndful Investor. We invite leaders in real estate and property management to talk about their success and, more importantly, their failures. There’s a lot to learn from this relatable content.