This time of year, talk about making resolutions is everywhere—in conversations, on blogs and splashed across every form of news outlet. Now, what do New Year’s resolutions have to do with the reason you read this magazine? I’m going to point out the obvious: If you weren’t interested in how to get better at your real estate business, we wouldn’t be talking! So, that being the case, let’s look at a short list of items that are crucial for your 2017 World Domination Plan. Here are 10 resolutions worthy of adopting this year, what you can gain and a few ways that you can keep each resolution.

Resolution #1: This year I resolve to place better tenants.

What you can gain: Reach those ROI goals!

How to keep it:

Improve or put in place a structured screening process.

Plan for consistent, meaningful interaction with tenants at least once a month.

Reward good tenants with new amenities at lease renewal or through a rewards program such as ALPS Perks.

Resolution #2:
This year I resolve to not have a tree fall during a storm at my property.

What you can gain: Avoid severe injuries to tenants or others. Keep from overspending on repairs!

How to keep it:

Add a local ISA-certified arborist to your “advisory council” for new purchases and ongoing maintenance of long-term holds.

Have trees checked annually for disease and decay.

Have trees pruned or cut down when appropriate.

Resolution #3: This year I resolve to prevent unnecessary fires.

What you can gain: No relocating tenants or rebuilding a profitable property!

How to keep it:

Be sure vacant properties are securely boarded so that uninvited guests can’t come to stay.

Make sure any electrical work is done by a licensed and insured contractor.

Take advantage of products like StoveTop FireStop that act as a second layer of protection against kitchen fires.

Keep all fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in working condition at all times.

Resolution #4: This year I resolve to eliminate water damage.

What you can gain: Avoid the hassle of a messy cleanup!

How to keep it:

Stress to tenants the importance of notifying you immediately in the event they discover a water leak.

Fully winterize your vacant properties, including shutting the water off at the street and draining the system.

Address mold promptly with a professional like Green Home Solutions.

Resolution #5: This year I resolve to reduce the likelihood of theft and vandalism.

What you can gain: No repurchasing of the same new appliances you just bought!

How to keep it:

Keep all yards neatly trimmed with windows and doorways clear of tall bushes.

Keep mailboxes clear of overflowing mail at vacant properties.

Install additional security measures such as Armor Concepts’ Door Armor or Tattletale’s Portable Alarm System.

Resolution #6: This year I resolve to give myself peace of mind that contractors will be safe while working on my property.

What you can gain: No injuries. No lawsuits!

How to keep it:

Make sure that any contractor you hire is licensed and insured.

Have your contractor list you as an additional insured on its liability policy so that you are notified if the coverage lapses.

Insist that any work is done to local code standards and any necessary permits are obtained prior to beginning work.

Resolution #7: This year I resolve to keep my property management company accountable for the services for which it charges.

What you can gain: More consistent rents. No “surprise” repairs!

How to keep it:

Require that any property manager you hire is properly licensed and insured.

Be sure that there is a verifiable method by which you can ensure the property manager is regularly checking on your properties.

Make sure that you have planned meetings or a scheduled way to review the status of your properties. (“How are we doing on rents coming in? Are there any repairs needed? Any upcoming maintenance items in the next three months?”)

Resolution #8: This year I resolve to keep myself free of any legal disputes.

What you can gain: Less stress. Preserve your valuable time!

How to keep it:

Create a monthly maintenance schedule to check for any liability hazards.

Promptly repair any problem areas such as stairs, sidewalks or driveways.

Have your tenant communicate in writing with you about any repair issues.

Resolution #9: This year I resolve to better understand my insurance coverage.

What you can gain: Keep your insurance rate stable. Enjoy a smoother claims process!

How to keep it:

Review your coverage with your insurance agent at minimum once a year at renewal.

Be sure you clarify any terms within your policy you do not understand.

Know what is and isn’t covered so that you can take appropriate preventive measures to protect your asset.

Insure your properties with a company that is familiar with and caters to the real estate investing industry such as REIGuard.

Resolution #10: This year I resolve to keep up with regular maintenance on my properties.

What you can gain: Less surprise spending. Vacation, here you come!

How to keep it:

Plan to visit your properties at least on a monthly basis and vacant properties even more often.

Rotate your inspection of various systems in the house; for example, electrical, plumbing, wall and floor coverings, doors and trim, etc.

Utilize a checklist like those on the ALPS website to help you stay on track and keep a written record of any maintenance items you accomplish. Be sure to date the items!

I know there are never enough hours in the day, and your maintenance list may seem very overwhelming at times, but I promise that you will not regret following through on any of the suggested resolutions. At the end of the day, we all want more time with our friends and families, more time to indulge in our hobbies and more time for vacation. When it comes to getting what you want and being satisfied with your accomplishments, organization and planning are your friends here, not your enemies. Spending time to plan your year will mean that you spend less time dealing with break-ins, problem tenants and repairing your property after a disaster occurs. And that sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Want More Help Protecting Your Properties from Avoidable Losses?

Visit ALPS on the web! Our site,, was created just for investors, property managers and renters—YOU! Any of the products or resources listed above are available on our site. Check out the latest articles, checklists, product reviews and discounts, and participate by joining our newsletter and property manager list or sharing your loss prevention stories with us. Here’s to a prosperous 2017!

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  • BreAnn Stephenson

    BreAnn Stephenson is assistant vice president of Affinity Loss Prevention Services. Contact her at

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