You know the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” well this is especially true for the maintenance of an investment property. It is almost always better to perform regular, simple maintenance on your own schedule. Proactive maintenance lets you plan and budget for it, rather than be forced to address emergency repairs that you were not prepared for.
The best part is, it’s not hard to go from a reactive to a proactive maintenance strategy. We even have an easy-to-follow rental property renovation checklist that can help you plan ahead for future repairs. However, being proactive will still require organization, patience, diligence and hard work. But the benefits to your investment and to your tenants are more than worth it.
Why Proactive Multi-Family Maintenance Is Both Predictable and Profitable
To get started, rather than wait for something to go wrong, look for ways to try to and fix it any issues while they are still minor. Sometimes you need to spend money to make money and renovations are certainly more affordable if done in manageable stages.
Understandably, maintaining your property will go a long ways towards decreasing your tenant turnover and reducing your vacancy rate. It is also less likely that your suites will need to be vacant for a period of time if the renovations can be performed quickly and with limited negative impacts on your residents (i.e. noise, dust, etc.).
Typical Areas of Improvement
- Keep Lists of Standards – Keep a laminated list of standards and tasks with every work crew for easy, familiar reference.
- Avoid ‘Out of Order’ Signs – Get broken equipment off the floor within one to 24 hours. Better to have an empty spot than a sign that announces poor maintenance.
- Pay Attention to Detail – Switch out burnt-out light bulbs immediately and check them daily. To customers’ interpretations, a lack of concern for details translates into a lack concern for what matters.
- Hire from Hotels – Hire maintenance staff from the hotel industry. They tend to be service-oriented. And find diligent Staff that are in the habit of picking up trash as they go from place to place.
- Use Existing Models – Before choosing a vendor; ask if there is a vendor-predictive maintenance model to learn when services for specific equipment are typically needed.
- Work at Night – Do major cleaning at night to avoid customer disruption, but do it quietly.
Routine inspections give you a pulse on your building’s maintenance situation. Ideally, surveys and inspections need to be scheduled as a regular part of the maintenance schedule. One good indicator of success is being consistent. The inspections will not only tell you what is happening in your building but also indicate other areas of needed attention or repair.
Involving the staff is always advisable to gain their perspective on the issues they spend most of their time addressing: this is why employing a competent property manager is so valuable.
Preparing Your Investment Property For Repairs
Recognizing the work that needs to be done and being honest about the current state of repairs of your property is a good place to begin. Knowing what needs to be done will give you the tasks to schedule over the coming year (or more). You may want to undertake resident satisfaction surveys and general information from inspections. Just always remember that proactive building maintenance is both predictable and profitable when compared with the cost of inaction.