After the hottest July on record for the Salt Lake City area, during which my air conditioning unit worked overtime, I noticed a performance slump along with wet carpet in my basement. So, I turned off the AC and called a repairman. He showed up Monday afternoon and simply removed an internal panel, cleaned the drip tray that captures the condensation from the evaporator coil, and unclogged the ¾” drain pipe. I paid a $120 service fee and realized: Had I taken a few extra minutes, I could have saved myself $120, multiple phone calls, and two days of no air conditioning.
Of course, effectively managing repairs for numerous homes across different cities, counties, or even states is much more challenging than doing so for one’s own home. That’s why many lenders and investors hire a vendor partner to develop and execute a successful repair program for their REO or SFR assets. So, what should you look for in a repair management vendor to ensure your repair dollars are maximized?
Understand the Scope of the Repair
Had I really understood what it took to repair my AC unit, I could have done it myself. Similarly, many lenders and investors want to fully understand the scope of repairs, including all the deficiencies of the asset compared to the comparable properties that are available in the neighborhood. Having dedicated, trained vendor partners in the field that are in tune with the local market is essential. Without their input, including photos, descriptions, and their commitment to the best strategy for the asset, you won’t be nearly as effective as you could.
Communicate Regularly with Your Vendor Partners
Being a thousand miles from an active repair represents an issue in and of itself. Good, effective communication is the key to providing assurance that work is progressing as expected. Regular phone calls that ask the right questions and provide immediate direction are essential. In some cases, traveling to the asset, or scheduling a third-party to inspect the repair process on your behalf, may be necessary.
Perform a Final Inspection
Despite best efforts, issues can arise that prevent a vendor partner from completing a project on time, such as weather delays or back ordered materials. Having realistic expectations set at the beginning of the project and updates as the project progresses prevents needless hand-wringing as the deadline approaches. Final inspection and signoff prevents unsatisfactory work from being accepted.
Everyone wants to get their money’s worth for any service they purchase. At Green River Capital, we adhere to general best practices that can be customized with our clients’ budgets and preferred vendors. This includes providing an accurate scope of all needed repairs and where to most effectively spend the funds. After repairs are authorized, we then oversee repairs through to completion, while working to stay within budget and on a reasonable timeline.