Advice on how a regular maintenance schedule for rental property can help busy landlords, from veteran property manager Corey Brewer.
The day-to-day life of a landlord or property manager can be difficult to predict, which is part of the fun of the job, but it also means you can be caught off guard.
It’s a little more reliable to predict monthly, seasonal, and annual management cycles.
Proper planning will put you in the best position possible to handle maintenance needs as they arise at your properties.
The most common “routine” maintenance items are typically landscaping and pest control.
The exact frequency and timing will, of course, depend on the property itself, but these items will often require attention each month or each quarter. Shop around to find a plan that works.
The time of year will dictate how often the grounds need attention, and what kind of work is to be done. During winter months, when the grass isn’t growing, perhaps the focus shifts to leaf cleanup or pressure washing, for example.
Regular maintenance schedule for seasonal items
Seasonal maintenance can take many forms, from window-washing to gutter-cleaning to the all-important “periodic” or “routine” inspections.
Best practice at our management firm is to visit our properties at least twice per year to test smoke and CO alarms, look at plumbing connections, and so on. Another common seasonal concern will be to winterize, and then de-winterize, sprinkler systems (or pools and hot tubs if applicable).
Annual maintenance will likely include a check on the major functions of the home, such as a furnace tune-up.
It’s always good to take a look before heading into the colder months so you can try to avoid emergency repairs or even replacement, and some vendors may offer lower pricing during off-peak times of year. Again, on a property-specific basis, you may have additional concerns such as snaking drains and checking for root growth, or pumping a septic system.
Over the long-term life of the property there are going to be other concerns such as paint, flooring, and appliances.
Generally speaking, the “useful” life spans of these elements in a rental property are as follows:
- Interior paint is about 4-5 years.
- Carpet is about 7-10 years.
- Common household appliances are about 10-12 years.
Budgeting for these types of expenses in advance will soften the blow when it comes time to update, repair, or replace.
Other considerations will be the care of the roof, deck, railing, fence, and any other elements that can wear over time.
Map out a plan, and look for reliable vendors that you can (if you’re happy with their work) bring back year after year, as they’ll become familiar with the unique quirks of your property.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
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