Starting a property management company is a very demanding, but potentially lucrative career. Managing a rental property involves a wide range of responsibilities including:
- Working with rental property owners to establish an optimal rental rate
- Creating lease documents for tenants
- Marketing the property for rent through fliers, signs, print publications, social media or word of mouth
- Showing the rental property to potential tenants
- Tenant screening and selection
- Handling tenant move-in
- Collecting rent
- Dealing with evictions
- Making payments on behalf of the owner (HOA fees, insurance, mortgage, etc.)
- Keeping detailed records of expenses via receipts and invoices
- Maintaining historical records such as warranties, inspection reports, property maintenance agreements, and leases
Another crucial aspect of being a property manager, whether you’re in commercial or residential property management, is maintenance. Whether you are managing single family homes, condos or even large multi family homes, professional property maintenance is crucial for enhancing and preserving the value and income of rental properties. This is why it is important to learn more about different elements of general property maintenance in order to handle it more efficiently. Part of learning how to become a property manager is having an understanding of how to maintain property.
So, What Is Property Maintenance?
Commercial or rental property maintenance refers to the tasks involved in ensuring that your client’s investment properties are in good condition. This includes property maintenance services such as keeping the lighting, heating system, plumbing, and pool in working order. Whether you are a traditional or an Airbnb property manager, the tasks involved in property maintenance include the following:
- Creating a maintenance policy to identify and handle repair needs
- Mobilizing a network of fully insured, bonded, and licensed contractors that have a reputation for good work and good pricing
- Assigning jobs to different workers (professional contractors, handymen, and in-house employees)
- Creating effective channels of communication for tenants and contractors
Here are some of the benefits of property maintenance:
- Increased property value – An investment property that is well maintained will increase in value or hold value. This gives you the opportunity to be selective about tenants and even raise the rental prices.
- Happy tenants – Poor maintenance of appliances, buildings or fittings will frustrate your tenants and could result in early termination of the lease. Happy tenants mean lower vacancy rates and more consistent cash flow. All of this amounts to happy clients.
- Less work – An effective property management maintenance system will ensure that small issues don’t become large issues that require a lot of time and work to resolve.
- Minimize injuries – When a rental property is well maintained, managers don’t have to worry about dangers such as injuries from fires, falling building materials or neglected yards. No property owner or property manager wants to deal with high insurance premiums, claims of negligence in court or bad press.
- Lower costs – Good property management can significantly lower your costs by extending the life of equipment and appliances, minimizing risks, decreasing manual effort, and satisfying clients.
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4 Tips to Ensure You’re Providing the Best Property Maintenance Services
Great property maintenance services come with a wide range of benefits for you, the property owner, and the tenants. Here are some tips for effective property management:
Schedule Routine Maintenance
It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Successful property management requires having a list of routine maintenance that is performed on a yearly, seasonal or monthly basis. Here is a sample property management maintenance checklist:
- Testing smoke detectors
- Deep cleaning
- Replacing HVAC filters every 3-4 months
- Inspecting fire extinguishers
- Cleaning garbage disposal
- Unclogging drains
- Cleaning downspouts and gutters
- Pumping the septic tank
- Inspecting the chimney and roof for any leaks, cracks or damage
- Applying herbicides to your lawn to kill weeds
- Re-sealing the railings, fence, deck, and other outdoor woodwork
- Inspecting driveway and other pathways
Scheduled property maintenance services will prolong the life of your rental fittings and reduce the chances of urgent, costly repairs.
To keep things running efficiently in the real estate investment property, you need to manage work orders to ensure that all these scheduled tasks have been completed on time. The good news is that you can use maintenance tracking software to schedule and manage tasks. With such software, nothing will fall through the cracks and periodic property maintenance services will be completed on schedule.
Respond to Requests from Tenants
Becoming a property manager means you should expect tenants to call in with urgent or routine maintenance requests. This could be anything from clogged or leaky plumbing to requests to replace broken windows. You need to have a maintenance system that makes it easy for tenants to communicate. Renters want assurance that someone has received their message and is working on the issue. You could consider allowing tenants to communicate by email, phone or even social media messaging. Alternatively, use a property management tool that allows tenants to submit messages and even monitor their status online. Such self-serve solutions will make handling maintenance issues convenient for your renters and easier for you.
Track and Handle Expenses
Property managers have the responsibility of ensuring that expenses get tracked and contractors get paid. Without the proper software, the manager will be forced to handle all these responsibilities manually. Working this way wastes a lot of time and increases the chances of making mistakes. Good rental property manager software should come with inbuilt accounting programs.
To avoid getting overwhelmed by the responsibilities of property management, consider outsourcing some of the tasks to a professional property management company. Their qualified customer service agents can take online requests and calls, troubleshoot maintenance requests, assign approved contractors, and update the property maintenance services apps. This strategy of subcontracting allows you to offer maintenance services to your property management clients without incurring any startup costs. This will free up your time to concentrate on other important duties involved in running a rental property management business. Landlords, investors, and property owners will be satisfied knowing that the best property maintenance services are handling the maintenance of their properties.