As property managers, we often think of maintenance requests as more of a reactive task. An owner or tenant calls to report something is damaged or broken, and we send someone out to take care of it. But this is actually only half of the equation. Keeping clients happy and vacancies at a minimum requires certain proactive and preventative measures. What does a long-term maintenance strategy like this look like? Let’s explore in greater detail below.
Develop, implement and stick to a formal inspection plan.
In order to effectively manage your properties, you must be structured and organized. Creating a schedule for conducting routine inspections of each of your properties is a good place to start. From there, develop a thorough checklist of items that you’ll need to monitor at each scheduled inspection. A few things to include on that list are the roof, windows, stairways, appliances, pipes, etc.
You should also take pictures to document the condition of your property at each inspection. This will be helpful should there ever be a dispute between yourself and the owner and/or tenant. Our experts recommend doing at least two inspections a year, one in the spring and one in the fall.
Schedule regular service calls.
Some areas of your properties may need to be professionally maintained. For instance, having your heating and cooling system (HVAC) regularly cleaned and tuned up can keep it performing at its best (which will keep residents happy) and also prevent bigger and costlier issues from occurring in the future. Similarly, having the gutters cleaned once or twice a year can prevent potential flooding and water damage.
Make a list of routine, preventative maintenance tasks that require the expertise and/or special equipment of a professional. Then, create a schedule and book appointments for these things based on need and frequency. You can also leverage property management software to help organize, track and manage these appointments.
Don’t neglect the exterior.
When it comes to property maintenance, a lot of emphasis is placed on the internal parts of the home or building, but maintaining the external appearance is equally as important. Whether it’s a potential tenant or someone who’s already on the lease, the way your property looks can mean all the difference. Additionally, and perhaps more critically, there are certain safety concerns to keep in mind as well.
Give the outdoor area of your properties regular attention. Landscape regularly or hire a professional to handle this. Install a sprinkler system to keep grass and other plant life adequately watered. Keep the roof and external walls clean and free of dirt, moss and other debris. Paint should be routinely touched up.
From a safety perspective, make sure to include tree inspections as part of your routine checklist. Overgrowth should be cut back and any dead branches promptly removed. Likewise, cracks and buckles in walkways should be repaired as well as any growth or debris that could be hazardous be cleared.
In order to sustain profitability with your properties, long-term maintenance must be a priority. In addition to putting out figurative fires on a day to day basis, it’s important that you keep an eye on the future as well. By being proactive, you’ll avoid problems before they happen, keep your properties looking and functioning at their best and keep your clients and/or tenants satisfied.