Property Management Keys to Keeping a House Safe in a Blizzard

Jonas, the blizzard of 2016, has officially hit.  Kids love the sledding.  Trees look like a winter wonderland.  Most businesses will be closed all weekend.  But as a real estate investor -- you probably can’t stop thinking if there’s anything you should do to prevent damage to your investment property.  Here are the top 10 things investors can do to survive a blizzard turning into expensive repairs…..


  1. Make sure all roofs are repaired, ideally prior to the major snowfall.  I know…. this might make your blood pressure increase if you had a roof leak that wasn’t fixed.  Keeping roofs fixed prior to a big snowfall is the single most important thing you can do to protect your investment.  There are 2 issues here: (a) Any small leak will turn into a major issue because all that snow will eventually turn to water and leak into your home.  (b)  The added weight of the snow can cause any compromised roof to collapse.  At Slatehouse Group Property Management -- we take roof repair very seriously to make sure a leaky roof doesn’t turn into a $20K water damage or structural issue inside your house.  If you did have a roof that wasn’t previously fixed, keep an eye on it and try to capture any dripping water in a bucket.

  2. If you have a furnace, make sure the air intake is free of snow.  If snow piles up or starts to create a big drift and blocks the pipe, the furnace will shut off.  Cold tenants are not happy tenants.  

  3. Disconnect any hoses from outside of the house faucets to prevent them from freezing.  Hopefully you did this back in October.

  4. Every municipality has different rules for when sidewalks need to be cleared once it stops snowing.  Know the local rules and make sure the sidewalk is clear in time to avoid any fines.  If your tenants are responsible for removing snow, remind the tenants to avoid them forgetting.

  5. Eventually the snow will turn into water and need to drain off the roof.  Make sure all gutters are cleared of fall leaves so the water can properly drain off the roof.

  6. If you utilize a snow removal contractor --- make sure they know that you will need their service once the snow has stopped.  Over communicate what they specifically need to clear.  

  7. Make sure any fire hydrants are clear of snow drifts in case of a major emergency.

  8. Keep an eye on suspect tree branches that seem to be drooping and either prune them or cut them down prior to major storms.  The added weight of the snow can lead to them breaking and causing major house issues.   Tree branches are especially an issue if the blizzard has a lot of freezing rain due to the extra weight.

  9. Pray for the temperature to increase.  Seriously --- the best thing to happen isn’t necessarily that the snow stop, but that the temperature increases so the snow doesn’t pile up on the top of roofs before the next storm.

  10. Hire a property management company to stay on top of all of these items.  Life is short!  Next time there is a blizzard, spend it sledding with your family or roasting marshmallows in the fire rather than worrying about your investment properties!

Hope this list is helpful…… Let us know if we can help you get through the rest of the winter by managing your property 24/7/365.  Oh….. and bundle up…… it’s windy out there!