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Project Plan for the Cooler Months

Without trying to get all Ned Stark on you, because we all know how well things turned out for him, believe it or not, winter is on its way. The year just seems to fly by and once Easter arrives and brings with it not only chocolate but also the daylight saving change, we start to see the long hard slog of the cooler months paved out before us.

Something happens in winter, people tend to want to hibernate and aren’t so keen on moving about.

If you find in your office that you do have some quieter time, it’s a great opportunity to plan some projects that will help you to be more organised and on top of your game when the busy times are there.

  • Keep on top of your preferred week. If you don’t already have a preferred week mapped out, maybe it’s time to start. The team at REAL+ have some great examples to help you with this.
  • Stay up to date with smoke detectors. Your software programs allow you to enter in details of the last date of testing so that you can audit to see where each property is at to ensure compliance with legislation. If you aren’t sure of your requirements under smoke alarm legislation, check the fire department website for your state, they have all the requirements and any recommendations for your tenants, especially as the those heaters start getting fired up ready to keep you roasty, toasty warm.
  • Try a key audit. Now, don’t completely freak out, but when was the last time that you actually audited your key cabinet? How many keys are sitting in your cabinets unused, for properties that you no longer manage? Some tips if you would like to try this process;
    • Print out or save a pdf copy of the key numbers as they currently sit before the audit.
    • Have some dot stickers to take out with you and the keys when you visit properties, check all of the keys at inspections, be it vacates, in-goings or routines and put a coloured sticker on those that work and one on those that don’t that can be thrown. Often you will find that over time, locks are changed, old keys that never work are kept and the handful of keys for one property becomes the size of Everest. If you would like to go the extra mile, write which door the key belongs to on the sticker which will really help you, your colleagues and even your Tenants.
    • Have a box to put those keys for properties that you no longer manage or that you have no idea which property they belong to. This is handy to keep around for a few months, for just in case purposes and for when you may feel comfortable with disposing of them.
    • To make key tracking easier, try some of the new software out there like Inspect Real Estate’s key tracker. It will really save you time and stress and if you choose paper, don’t forget to have a key system in place for tracking those key movements in and out of the office.
  •  Audit your routine schedule. Sometimes, believe it or not, routine inspections of properties can slip through the cracks. Print out a report from your software to find out when the last inspection was carried out and if it’s behind, get out there and get it done.
  • Get that maintenance up to date. Check your outstanding work orders and if there are any outstanding for 2 months or more, find out why. Chase up the tradies, check with the tenants if the work has been done and get those invoices in so that the Owners have a chance to claim them with end of financial year.

It’s important to remember to keep momentum during these months as the quieter times can also mean catching up on those maintenance tasks that may not take priority when it’s busy.

Heidi Walkinshaw

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