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Winterizing Your Commercial Real Estate Investments 

November 13, 2017
Hugh Holtman | Senior Multifamily Advisor

The last fall leaf has fallen, the ski resorts are open for business, winter has arrived. The last couple of years, the Pacific Northwest region has experienced harsher winters than previously recorded.  2016 was the snowiest in Portland in 24 years. With snow already on the ground in Seattle, winter 2017 is predicted to be colder than average.


Cold and wet weather can wreak havoc on your real estate investments, so preparing it now is key to ensure you are able to resolve inclement weather issues quickly with little disruption . Here are some tips:


Tune Up Your HVAC System: The most difficult time to deal with a heating malfunction is when temperatures are frigid and everyone else is having issues too. By performing a regular inspection each fall, necessary repairs can be made in advance.


Optimize Energy Efficiency: As dust and dirt build up in your heating and ventilation throughout the year it can impact air quality and result in higher energy bills and shorter HVAC lifespan. Have your filters cleaned regularly and check them every fall.  Also, ensure all exhaust systems are free of debris.


Check on Your Pipes: Temperatures in parts of Oregon could hover right around the freezing mark all winter long, and sometimes drop below it at night. Inspect your below grade pipes in the fall to prevent costly business interruption and property damage. To reduce freezing risks, insulate outside pipes, lose bibs, and blow out irrigation pipes and hoses.

Monitor Vacant Units: Issues often arise in vacant units during the winter because they can be easily forgotten about. Make sure the electricity is on and the heat is running during the winter and check them periodically.


Check the Roof: Check the roof for any damage, holes, or similar problems that could cause leaks from rain or snow.  Roof winterization should include inspections of flashing or seals around roof penetrations for vents, pipes, and chimneys. Make sure the roof is capable of handling the weight of snow or ice and that there is little likelihood that ice buildup could fall off the roof and hit any pedestrians below.


Establish a Snow Removal Contract: If your property is located in an area where it routinely experience snow, you should establish a snow removal contract. If a slip and fall happens on your property prepare yourself for a headache dealing with insurance companies and possible lawsuits. Instead, make sure you have a snow removal contract in place so that sidewalks and parking lots remain free of snow and ice accumulation. 

For more information on the best ways to protect your commercial real estate investments, please contact Hugh Holtman at 503.799.0447 or

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