December 16, 2015 9:47AM

Is Your Real Estate Management Firm Prepared for Severe Weather?

Although the historic El Niño kicking in this winter may have some welcome benefits for drought-plighted Californians, it should also be raising red flags for California real estate property managers and investors. If the floods that ravaged parts of the Pacific Northwest last week are any indication, California property owners should start preparing for severe weather.

And this includes ensuring that your property management software is up to snuff.

Whether you’re battling floods or wildfires, a cutting-edge real estate software system can help you budget appropriately, communicate more effectively, recover costs quickly and fairly, and give you the tools to help rebuild efficiently.

Even before disaster strikes, a system like Yardi or MRI can help enhance a property manager’s disaster preparedness efforts. By configuring the budgeting tools to account for climatic predictions (or even regular seasonal expenses), your budgets and forecasts won’t get lashed by the rains, snows, or winds.

And when the inclement weather does strike, the device-agnostic communication platforms available in both Yardi and MRI will enable you to relay all the critical information to your tenants and staff in as timely and efficient manner as possible.

Beyond insulating your bottom line from severe weather damage, real estate software systems can help you prepare your properties, too. The Yardi inspection module or MRI’s Workspeed—fully accessible by any mobile device—can help track preventative maintenance, such as roof inspections and enhancements, which are likely to increase as we face California’s biggest rainy season in years. Construction or Job Cost modules, too, can be incredibly powerful tools for even more comprehensive projects, such as those necessary for earthquake preparedness. As any seasoned California property manager knows, seismic retrofitting and refurbishments can be an incredibly complex undertaking, requiring robust software to help you keep track of tenant relocations, as well as multiple construction workflows.

Clearly, preparing for severe climate events should include maximizing your real estate management software solutions. If you already have a cutting-edge real estate software solution like Yardi or MRI, you may want to consider undergoing a gap analysis to ensure that you know how to utilize all the features available to you to help you with these efforts. Managing the repercussions of El Niño using mere spreadsheets may just leave your property management firm unable to weather the storm.