8 Maintenance Tips for Property Managers

If you’re in the property management business, you know the importance of preventative maintenance. Although it can be a lot to keep up with, preserving the long-term value of your properties through regular maintenance is imperative. Being proactive and addressing issues early helps keep maintenance costs down, extends the life of your equipment, and helps maintain your property value. 

But checking for leaks and water damage, inspecting detectors, and scheduling inspections can be challenging. And remembering to change filters, flush water heaters, and schedule, track, and manage it all can be overwhelming, particularly with multiple properties. But it doesn’t have to be. We’ve developed a list of maintenance tips for property managers to help you save time and money while ensuring the comfort of your guests and tenants, a win for everyone involved.

Create a Checklist

A well-executed property management plan includes a detailed maintenance process to ensure everything is completed promptly and meets quality standards. A detailed checklist will help itemize specific maintenance needs and their associated timelines. Begin by categorizing maintenance types, prioritizing tasks, and assigning duties. List expensive and safety-related items first, then add in seasonal tasks. Don’t forget to include necessary supplies and replacement parts, most of which can be purchased in quantities to help trim costs. Maintain a meticulous record of your inventory, maintenance tasks, schedules, and work orders each year, and revisit them as you prepare for the future. With careful planning, you’ll be able to analyze and mitigate risks, plan for seasonal changes, develop contingency plans, and anticipate future maintenance expenditures.

Develop Vendor Relationships

Minor maintenance issues crop up, and typically property managers use in-house staff to manage small problems as needed. Even with the proper training and SOPs to offer guidance, some tasks consume too much time and energy and will require outsourcing. It’s crucial to develop a network of contractors and vendors you can rely on for preventative maintenance, emergencies, and inspections. Shop around to verify skills, licenses, and references for each trade you plan to outsource. Be selective, ensure they meet your standards and expectations, and confirm their ability to provide products and services promptly. Solid relationships with key vendors are vitally important to the success of your business, so utilize and benefit from their experience and expertise.

Schedule Routine Inspections

It’s imperative to catch maintenance issues early and address problems promptly to avoid costly repairs. A scheduled extended walk-through can help identify potential breakdowns or performance issues requiring action. Whether done quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, a thorough inspection and evaluation can assess the safety and security of your properties and catch maintenance issues that may worsen over time. “Costs can not only be for repairs, but also discounts to guests as well as potential downtime while the unit is blocked for repair,” says Ron Whitfield, President/Partner of Scenic Stays.

Check ceiling fans, light bulbs, and all water sources. Note malfunctioning appliances, dripping or leaking faucets, and cracks in walls and floors. Change refrigerator water filters as needed and remote control batteries frequently. Survey the exterior for debris in gutters and malfunctioning sprinklers and irrigation systems, and consider a seasonal inspection for pool maintenance. Document any significant issues, prioritize repairs and track progress to completion.

Check for Leaks and Water Damage

Periodically check for leaks and water damage to prevent further deterioration, particularly after heavy rains. Check bathtubs, shower caulk, and grout, and don’t overlook faucets, toilets, and other fixtures. Note any clogged drains and flush the water heater annually. Remember that maintaining things and keeping them in proper working order can save thousands of dollars. It’s also much less disruptive for your guests and tenants if you address minor issues before they turn into big problems resulting in significant damage and potential loss of revenue.

Test Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Detectors

Be vigilant and check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors often. Critical for the safety of your property and guests, these life-saving tools often get overlooked. Check the manufacturer’s life span and expiration date for the age of your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Replace them as needed, typically every 5-10 years. Check batteries regularly, change them at least twice a year, and confirm the sensor is unobstructed, correctly installed, and in working order. A map with a fire escape route to guide guests and tenants away from threats and hazards will prove beneficial should unexpected problems arise.

Monitor HVAC Systems 

Clogged air filters, blocked or leaking ducts, and faulty thermostats affect airflow, which can increase your energy expenditures significantly. Debris and dirt will accumulate in HVAC systems, so consider replacing air conditioning units every 10-15 years. Change filters monthly, clean vents, and test units to ensure they work properly. Work to keep your properties free from excessive moisture that can lead to disease-causing mold. Using programmable smart thermostats is a good way to keep temperatures within the preferred range and will also help keep costs down and increase efficiency. This proactive approach will go a long way toward keeping guests and tenants comfortable and your equipment in good working order. “Scheduling a recurring work order ensures everyone knows what needs to be done and when ahead of time.This is really important if you need to replace A/C filters of various sizes in a couple of hundred properties over a few days and need to know the status of the effort,” says Whitfield.

Coordinate Pest Control Inspections

Keeping properties clean will help maintain a pest-free environment, and regular inspections can identify issues that your staff, guests, or tenants might not readily notice. They can also help determine the pest type, severity of the damage, and course of action to promptly address any necessary remediation. Neglecting pests can have severe and costly consequences, including roach and ant infestations that may be difficult to eradicate. Whether you opt for quarterly, bi-annual, or annual pest control service, periodic inspections are vital, and consistency is critical. Anticipate seasonal changes and remember that some pests might require more infrequent or intensive treatment. A little preventative maintenance can help avoid costly expenses and help you retain quality tenants.

Incorporate Technology

Clearly, a successful maintenance plan is a lot to keep up with, and not just for those with large portfolios. You’ll need a powerful tool to help refine operations. Incorporating the right technology can automate maintenance tasks, schedule triggers for maintenance requests, and communicate with all parties involved. It can also help avoid slow maintenance response times and organize, manage, and track activities quickly and efficiently. From managing billing and work orders with simple digital workflows to enabling tracking and documenting features to anticipate future expenditures, the right software can manage all of your preventative maintenance needs. “In a world where so many properties are managed from an offsite perspective in a more virtual setting, having a system like BeHome247 is key. The platform’s communication raises service levels to owners and guests and keeps everyone on the same page,” says Whitfield.

Keeping owners, tenants, and guests happy doesn’t have to be difficult, but creating a checklist and building strong vendor relationships are just the beginning. Utilizing technology to help manage tedious maintenance tasks will increase operational efficiency and help avoid costly expenditures and property downtimes that negatively impact your guests, tenants, and owners.

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