How to plan and budget for property maintenance
Whether you are a property manager or serve on the association’s board, you understand the importance of planning for property maintenance and capital improvements. One of the key elements in this equation is developing a property maintenance budget.
In the fall, many homeowners associations plan their budget for the next fiscal year, but how do you properly plan for property maintenance, such as exterior painting, if you are unsure what needs to be done and how much it will cost?
We get that question a lot; here are a few steps to help you along the way.
Identifying what work needs to be done
You probably have a good idea of the projects that need to be completed around the property, so start by making a list. Segment the list into items that make sense, such as interior, exterior, mechanical, etc.
Inspection of property
Once you have the list, contact the appropriate contractors to request inspections of your property, as many of them, like us, will do it for free. A contractor has a different eye than you, and they may see areas that need additional work.
Details for an RFP
Once the inspection is complete, the contractor should be able to provide you with a detailed proposal of the work that needs to be done. For example, an exterior painting project will include:
- Information about the building(s), such as the type of exterior and surfaces to be painted or excluded from the scope of work.
- Priming, caulking and sanding.
- Repairs to wood and metal railings. This is usually identified after power washing is done and is based on “time and materials.”
- Number of coats of paint.
- What products will be used? This can include brand of product, such as Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore.
- Crew size and time needed to finish the job.
This information will play a critical role in your bidding process, as you’ll want all contractors to base their proposal on the same set of specs. It makes it much easier for you and the board to determine the best value for the work. Check out our Property Manager’s Guide to Getting Exterior Painting Done.
Prioritizing and phasing projects to meet the budget
Often times, projects will exceed the fiscal budget. To meet your budget, your contractor can work with you to phase out the project over several years (like this phased project in Four Lakes Village spotlighted below). Phasing projects is smart; it gives you peace-of-mind that the buildings that need immediate attention get repaired first.
Pricing out projects now for completion in 2018
Fall is here, and soon the greater Chicago area will be blanketed with winter weather. While we may not be able to complete exterior projects before the blustery conditions are upon us, there is still time to get a plan in place for doing the work in 2018.
There are a few key advantages of moving ahead now rather than waiting.
First, you’ll beat the rush. As soon as the first signs of spring weather come, many property managers contact us wanting work done immediately, and by then our project schedule is several months out. By getting the inspection and RFP process done now, your project will already be slotted into our schedule.
Second, and perhaps a bigger advantage, is cost savings. Paint manufacturers, such as Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore, lock in their 2017 pricing to contractors, and we can pass those savings on to our customers.