A Smart Property Owner’s Guide to Maintenance

Photo by Cal David.

Like a health physical, home maintenance is important for your rental’s upkeep and well-being.

Property maintenance is just as crucial as property management, and it should be held to the same high standards to attract quality tenants. Your potential applicants research properties online or at least do a drive-by to see if they would enjoy living there.

Like it or not, with that first impression, viable prospects make a snap decision of whether to explore your property any further. Though they may not have even taken the opportunity to sneak a peek inside, if the exterior looks unkempt or online reviews are sub-par, they’ve probably already crossed your property off their list. 

Implement A Maintenance Routine

Schedule monthly, seasonal, or annual preventive maintenance checks for the building, equipment, and HVAC system. Besides the facade, walkways, and other prominent, highly visible areas, regularly check the plumbing, roof, and electrical system. By implementing a plan for preventative maintenance, you may be alerted to an issue that can be fixed early, like a water leak. As water will always find its way, it can be tricky to locate the source, but when you finally do, you may have a major repair to deal with.

Tenant Maintenance Calls

Tenants don’t like to wait for repairs, but as a property owner, you have to prioritize maintenance issues. A gas leak or no heat in February will, of course, take precedent over a leaky faucet. When you can’t get to a repair as promptly as you would like, notify the tenant that you are aware of the problem and that the repair has been scheduled. They’ll feel more at ease knowing that you are on top of the situation.

Don’t Wait For An Emergency

After hours on a weekend, during a polar vortex is not the time be Googling plumbers nor heating & cooling professionals. Keeping a list of approved contractors handy for yourself and any employees will prevent you from scurrying during an emergency. Make sure to have two or three back-ups for each so you aren’t relying on one phone call, as harsh weather can be brutal and cause widespread problems in an area. 

Use A Checklist To Track Maintenance History

Keep a list of scheduled repairs, their urgency, and log which repairs have been completed. Make sure any employees or contractors use the checklist for better control. With a checklist, for example, everyone will know when the filters on the heating system were last replaced. You can also use the list to hold contractors and tenants accountable – contractors for not doing a job right and tenants for damaging something that was already repaired.

Staying on top of maintenance can save you a significant amount of money in the long run, and not only in repair costs. Proper maintenance will not only increase the life of equipment and fixtures, but it can also make your business more profitable by reducing vacancy, allowing for higher rental rates, and draw better quality tenants.

Something as simple as a ripped screen or overgrown grass and shrubs are an instant turnoff to potential tenants who will make assumptions about the rest of the property and its management. When your tenants are happy, you’ll be happier, and your business will run smoother.

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