Today’s REI Classroom Lesson

As BreAnn Stephenson explains, there are a number of different ways a fire can start in a home, especially depending on the status of the home. A vacant property might be more likely to have arsen where as an occupied home could be from a cooking fire to unattended candle. It’s important to be aware and have safe practices in place by yourself, your contractors, and your tenants.

REI Classroom Summary

Provide your tenants with education on preventing fires. In addition, make sure there’s functional smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in the home. While fires aren’t completely avoidable, there’s strategies to help prevent them from happening and in turn, protecting your investment.

Listen to this REI Classroom Lesson

Real Estate Investing Classroom Show Transcripts:

Announcer: Welcome back to the Flipnerd.com REI Classroom, where experts from across the real estate investing industry teach you quick lessons to take your business to the next level. And now, let’s meet today’s expert host.

BreAnn: Hey there everybody. This is BreAnn Stephenson from Affinity Loss Prevention Services, and I am your host today for the REI Classroom show. Today we are going to talk about how you can prevent fires at your investment properties.

Announcer: This show is sponsored by passiverental.com.

BreAnn: So, whether you are rehabbing, you have a vacant property that maybe even you’re wholesaling, or you like to buy and hold, we’ll talk about the different types of fire that your property might be at risk of, and how you can prevent those from occurring. So, you know, I’m going to look at my notes today, I’m just going to . . . Full disclosure here. There’s a lot of information, when we talk about loss prevention, there’s just a lot of information to absorb and retain. And, so, you know, you guys, for your own purposes, you know, you’re going to want to read and reread the information, which you can certainly find a lot of that on our website, which I’ll tell you at the end of the show.
Loss prevention, that’s something that repetition is definitely key to be able to learn these principles, so that you can act at a moment’s notice and when you need to. But reviewing, there’s never anything wrong with reviewing. So, here we go.
So when we talk about preventing fire at your properties, there are different types of investments, like I mentioned. If you’re rehabbing, if you have a vacant property, or if you’re holding and renting properties, they have different types of fire risks. So, properties being renovated, that might have a fire from an accident occurring at the property, or, unfortunately, a neglectful contractor that might be the cause of that. One lovely little story that is a real incident that happened, a contractor was trying to, basically, destroy a wasps’ nest by using a blowtorch and another nice little spray. And so the combination of those ended up in a fire at the property.
So just make sure that you’ve got people that you can trust that are at your properties and are going to use some common sense. Maybe that’s even you out there, doing that sometimes, so just make sure you can avoid that scenario. But that’s where the risk lies. It could be in an accident that might occur on your property either while somebody’s there or if somebody’s on the property alone by themselves, working.
If you have a vacant property, those might be more vulnerable to arson or a fire that might occur during the winter. There’s somebody who’s trying to find shelter, so that would be a potential type of risk that you would have there for those vacant properties. And then for occupied properties, there’s kind of, unfortunately, no limit to what types of risk you can have there. But most often it would be accidents that would be having your tenants be involved there, maybe a pot that’s left cooking unattended on the stove, or somebody leaves a candle burning when they go out for the evening. So those are some common types of risks that you might see there in terms of fire with occupied properties.
Another thing to consider in terms of fire risk are really, some types of fires are seasonal in nature. So for example, the National Fire Protection Association, from their data, has determined that December, January and February more heating fires occur in those months than in any other months during the year. If you think about, it sounds pretty logical. Those are the months where those heating appliances are going to be used, more often than not. But just something to keep in mind is, key months there, December, January and February, in terms of heating fires.
Also, while cooking fires can occur on any day of the year, really, the number one day of the year, I bet you can just guess right off of the bat, is Thanksgiving Day! So that’s the time of the year to also be mindful and giving your tenants reminders about safe cooking practices.
Also, the United States Fire Administration reports that more fires are reported on July 4th than any other day of the year. Also unsurprising there, I think, but yet another and different type of fire risk that your property could encounter. So for example, during the winter, you may want to focus on delivering safe heating information to your tenants. Or in summer you may want to give them information about safe grilling practices and firework safety. So, just some different things to bear in mind in terms of seasons.
So, real quickly here, I just want to go through for you just a little bit more about, just, kind of, the main things to keep in mind for those different types of properties. For vacant properties, the main thing you want to make sure of is to keep intruders out. So really, avoiding fires at vacant properties is about having a secure property. Making sure that they’re boarded up properly, that you use reinforced strike plates and deadbolts and those types of things.
In terms of properties that are being renovated, make sure that any contractor that you hire is properly licensed and insured. And then, also just that they’re people that you feel comfortable leaving at your property. In terms of occupied properties, like we just talked about, of course, unattended cooking is kind of number one.
So in terms of occupied properties, you really want to be passing along good education to your tenants in making sure that they can be safe in their home, for themselves and for their loved ones. And then that, of course, can make sure that your property stays safe and secure for you. That your investment isn’t harmed. But typically speaking, if they’re looking out for themselves and their loved ones, then that also will mean that your properties will remain safe and secure. So, all about educating those tenants.
Two tools of the trade that you want to make sure that you always have, and of course, there are many city ordinances that you want to check, depending upon where your property is located, they may differ. So be aware of those. But the two things that I’m talking about would be fire extinguishers and then smoke detectors, also known as smoke alarms.
As far as fire extinguishers are concerned, you want to make sure that you might want to have a multi-purpose fire extinguisher, that way it can put out a multitude of different types of fires no matter what they’re caused by. There are five different classes, so there are certain ones that may exacerbate different types of fires if you don’t have that multi-purpose fire extinguisher. So most often that’s the best choice, so that your tenants can remain safe and secure there.
And then in terms of those smoke alarms, they need to be placed on each level of the home, and they should be near all the sleeping areas. Always make sure that those batteries are fresh. A good time to change those is during daylight savings. So twice a year, more, of course, if needed. And don’t rely on tenants, necessarily, to change those for you. Make sure that those are properly installed.
Lastly I would say, just one thing that people don’t know is that smoke alarms themselves do have their own shelf life, so to speak. About every ten years, you’re going to want to change the actual detector themselves because they do wear out from constantly filtering the air in the home.
So in summary, protecting your property from fire depends on the type of investment that you have, and it can also be different depending in part on the season of the year. So just make sure that you are aware of the risks for each, and that you have a plan in place well in advance. Doing that, of course, can save you time, can save you money, and it may just also save a life.
If you want more tips, please feel free to visit our website, at  HYPERLINK “http://www.affinitylps.com” www.affinitylps.com. And thanks so much you guys, have a great day.

Announcer: Passiverental.com is your source for turnkey, done-for-you rental properties. If you’d like to be an investor and not a landlord, please visit passiverental.com to learn how to purchase cash-flowing, professionally managed rental properties in the hottest rental markets across the country. We can also help connect you with financing for your next property. Invest the easy way today and get started by visiting passiverental.com.
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BreAnn Stephenson
BreAnn Stephenson is the Assistant Vice President of Affinity Loss Prevention Services (ALPS), a licensed Property/Casualty insurance agent, and has been working with remodelers and real estate investors for over 10 years. Contact her at breann@affinityLPS.com and follow ALPS on Twitter (@AffinityLPS).