It doesn’t matter who you are – broker, owner, property manager, or Indian Chief – sometime in your life you are going to have something happen to that you are just not expecting and definitely do not want. There are a variety of events that can occur – a computer crash, debilitating auto accident, long-term illness, a natural disaster, or even death. The question is – are you ready?
The time to prepare is now! I can already hear your excuses – you don’t have time, you’re too busy, you would rather play golf or go boating, you may even prefer to get a root canal. The truth is, none of us want to think about an unhappy event much less spend time planning for it. BUT if you take the time to put together a plan for the unexpected, you can lessen the stress, discomfort, or grief for yourself, your family, your friends, and your personnel in the future.
How should you prepare for life’s unexpected blips? First, stop and envision that an alien comes down from space (humor me here) and this strange being wipes out your computers, destroys your physical office, and kidnaps you for an undetermined amount of time. How would everyone in your world cope until you return? Would your family know where your important papers, documents, and (good grief) passwords are? Would payroll continue for your staff? Who would take charge of the business and the money? Who would know how to handle the owners, tenants, and vendors? Who knows the details of the eviction in progress? Where would your team operate and the tenants know where you are? Would everyone be able to access important records?
What if life on the other planet is less stressful, devoid of difficult tenants, lead-based paint, and mold? You decide not to return. What would happen to everyone’s financial welfare or the continuation of the company? Do you realize how hard it is for anyone to function when there is grief? When people have a road map to follow, it makes coping manageable.
Performing this imaginary exercise should give you clues about what you need to do. If you are an individual who does not organize your records or keeps everything to themselves, you and those around you are going to suffer. It’s just a recipe for disaster and it just doesn’t have to happen!
You need to gather and organize all your important records and data. You have to put information and systems in place. Then you must let everyone know what to do before, during, and after the unexpected occurs.
If you feel you do NOT need to plan for the unexpected, I challenge you take the free Personal Emergency/Disaster Quiz and the free Business Emergency/Disaster Quiz. If you answer no to any of these questions, it’s time to take action or revise your current emergency / disaster plan. Doing this will also improve your productivity and organization, both personally and professionally.
Recently, my main computer unexpectedly died and boy, it has been a pain. Thankfully I had tools set up to keep operating while installing my new computer – laptops, backups, Dropbox, passwords, etc. It still took time and the process motivated me to review my records and systems so that if it happens again, solving the problem will be even easier.
I am also sharing these thoughts because I have had to handle the loss of a loved one and business partner. Fortunately, I had documents and organization in place, which is why I was able to function through the black hole of grief. Recently, I realized I needed to make additional changes to my emergency / disaster plan for the executor of my estate to reduce her stress. I am in the process of reviewing and changing instructions and necessary documents.
Because of my personal experiences, I created a product to make it easier for other property managers/company owners to put an emergency / disaster system in place, Can You Recover, an Emergency / Disaster System. Like all LandlordSource products, the emergency / disaster system will keep you from having to reinvent the wheel. It has four manuals and 29 forms to help you complete this task. To give you extra incentive, it is currently on sale.
If you have an emergency / disaster plan in place for your real estate / property management office, remember to review it periodically to ensure your plans are current. Like life, things change – regularly.
No one wants to think about death or disastrous situations, but taking action will give you peace of mind. Put your emergency / disaster plan in place, THEN go get that root canal or go golfing or boating or…
Jean Storms, MPM® is the founder/author of LandlordSource and has been a NARPM® member since January 1993.
Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.