You know that one of a property manager’s most important responsibilities is maintaining the property. While maintenance is essential to keeping your residents happy and safe, keeping an eye on every inch of your building is straining. So, what can you do to simplify the property maintenance process?
In this post, we’ll explain what property maintenance is by definition and why you need to stay on top of it. Then, we offer some solutions to make maintenance easier, like choosing a team and simplifying the process with technology.
This post covers:
- What is property maintenance?
- Why does property maintenance matter?
- Choosing a property maintenance team
- How to deliver great property maintenance services
- How can I make property maintenance easier?
What is property maintenance?
Property maintenance is the collection of tasks associated with the repairs and upkeep that go into keeping your property safe, clean, and habitable. Compared to a property that doesn’t receive proper maintenance, a well-maintained property is safer and more enjoyable to live and work in. Tenants prioritize maintenance, so keeping your property maintained could be the difference between tenants renewing their leases and moving out.
Property maintenance tasks can range from small chores that a maintenance worker must repeat often to larger, more technical tasks involving building infrastructure. So what is included in building maintenance services?
Examples of property maintenance include:
- Taking out the garbage and recycling
- Inspecting utilities like wiring or HVAC systems
- Performing safety checkups
- Testing smoke detectors
- Inspecting gutters
- Fixing floors in-unit and in communal spaces
Some apartment maintenance tasks, like garbage disposal, must be performed year-round. But a building’s other maintenance needs change with the seasons.
For example, cold winter weather can wreak havoc on a building’s pipes or plumbing system. And in summer, your residents will especially appreciate well-maintained air conditioning and ventilation systems that keep them cool.
Here are some other seasonal maintenance tasks to add to your checklist:
- Winter: Inspect and service communal laundry facilities, inspect vacant units to prevent weather-related issues, insulate water pipes to prevent freezing.
- Spring: Inspect and clean heating system, inspect the roof, check for snow and other weather-related damage, service air conditioners to prepare for summer.
- Summer: Test smoke and C02 alarms, ensure fire extinguishers are functional, inspect building-wide plumbing.
- Fall: Service AC units or system, change HVAC filters, inspect windows to ensure proper insulation, steam clean flooring and furniture in communal areas.
Why does property maintenance matter?
Property maintenance doesn’t just keep your building in great condition. It also signifies to your residents that you care about them. It shows you’re willing to spend time and effort on their well-being. Whether you manage a short-term rental or a traditional long-term rental property, you’ll need to invest in maintenance to succeed.
Building maintenance will help you with these three crucial factors:
1. Resident satisfaction
As a property manager, keeping residents satisfied is your top priority — it’s crucial for your bottom line. Replacing tenants is costly while retaining tenants is cost-effective.
Turnover involves expenses like:
- Marketing your property
- Keeping units maintained while they’re vacant
- Navigating the leasing process
- Moving in new tenants
Luckily, you can easily avoid those costs as long as you put in the work to keep your existing tenants satisfied. And that starts with maintaining the property.
Watch how ButterflyMX improves the resident experience:
2. Building safety
Beyond just keeping residents happy, you also have to keep the building safe. A safe, functional property is the building block upon which you can start delighting residents without worrying about physical or health concerns.
By keeping your building safe with regular and thorough inspections, you also protect yourself from a legal perspective, reducing the amount of risk you’re taking on.
3. Increase property value
An increased property value has many benefits. Because properties tend to increase in value over time, you don’t even have to install additional equipment or amenities to raise your property value. All you have to do is maintain existing infrastructure to watch the value of your property rise.
By increasing the value of your property, you’ll also increase your property’s NOI or net operating income. And you’ll increase your NOI further by charging higher rent to live on a more valuable property.
Choosing a property maintenance team
You know the importance of property maintenance, but now you need a way to prioritize maintenance while also balancing other day-to-day responsibilities.
First, you’ll need a team of trusted professionals. Your team will focus all their energy on maintenance so that you can continue to focus on residents.
In-house property maintenance vs. contracted maintenance
There are two main ways to deliver maintenance services: You can either hire an in-house maintenance team that focuses on your portfolio specifically, or you can contract with an established property maintenance company.
The right solution for your building or portfolio will depend on your unique needs, goals, and budget. In general, a contracted property maintenance team is better for properties that would prefer to spend money elsewhere, while an in-house maintenance team is better for managers who prefer to work with a highly personalized team that knows a property inside and out.
Contracted property maintenance team
A contracted property maintenance team can hit the ground running. The company you work with will have its own tools, supplies, and processes in place. This saves you time and energy trying to establish processes on your own.
However, downsides to outsourced maintenance services include:
- Potentially slow response times and lack of guaranteed emergency service
- Higher staff turnover
- Lack of control over the team
In-house maintenance team
In contrast, offering in-house residential maintenance services means you have to start from the ground up. Building an in-house team requires more initial investment (in tools, training, recruiting, etc.). You’ll have more control over your team, but you’ll have to dedicate time and resources to establishing effective maintenance processes.
However, having in-house maintenance staff members may also result in better service, and therefore happier residents. In-house staff members build relationships with management and residents, making them more inclined to deliver great service. Additionally, in-house staff knows your building(s) better.
How to deliver great property maintenance services
Maintaining your property at a bare minimum isn’t enough. To stay competitive with other properties and retain residents longer, you have to go above and beyond.
Deliver great property maintenance services by:
- Performing preventative maintenance
- Addressing requests quickly
- Following up with residents after every repair/upgrade
Perform preventative maintenance
Preventative maintenance is the act of regularly checking and maintaining equipment and assets to keep them in working order and to prevent equipment failure or breakdowns.
Although preventative maintenance requires ongoing effort, it’ll actually save you money in the long run. By performing preventative maintenance, you’ll extend the lifespan of your existing equipment and avoid frequently replacing things. And, because your building’s utilities will always be working, you won’t have to address as many resident complaints!
Address requests quickly
Your residents like to feel heard and appreciated. You can show your residents you care by quickly responding to their requests.
Preventative maintenance will prevent many breakdowns, but it might not prevent them all. A utility breaking down is always an unfortunate occurrence, but your response can change how your resident feels about the situation. Most residents will overlook the occasional maintenance issue if their requests are addressed and resolved efficiently.
Follow up with residents after every repair or upgrade
Another way to show how much you value your residents is to emphasize communication. Being proactive and asking your residents about their maintenance experiences will go a long way in building relationships with them. Additionally, it gives you a great way to acquire and incorporate feedback, which further improves the resident experience and shows you care.
How can I make property maintenance easier?
Keeping your building well-maintained is hard work. Even with a fantastic property maintenance team and a thorough checklist, you still have to take the lead to maintain your building by fielding requests from residents and submitting work orders for your maintenance team to complete.
All of that administrative work adds up. So how can you make maintenance easier? The answer is simple: Use property maintenance software to keep track of data, requests, and other maintenance needs.
What is property maintenance software?
Property maintenance software is a tool that helps automate processes and manage maintenance requests. Residents can use the platform to submit maintenance requests, which then triggers automatic processes.
For example, the software can assign the ticket to a staff member, who can then mark it as complete and notify the resident. This helps speed up maintenance processes, save time for management, and keep the building up-to-date.
Property maintenance software features include:
- Work order tracking and management
- Reminders and notifications
- Property accounting
- Maintenance checklists
- Resident and maintenance team contact information
Instead of manually tracking every work order and resident communication, use computerized maintenance management software to keep yourself organized and on schedule.
The 3 best property maintenance software providers are:
While Yardi is a general-purpose property management software provider, their products also allow a property owner to manage maintenance tasks. Founded in 1984, Yardi brings decades of experience to the property management software industry.
Yardi offers two main platforms: Yardi Voyager and Yardi Breeze. Breeze was developed for small- to mid-sized properties, while Voyager is more complex and is intended for larger property management companies. In Voyager, users have access to Yardi Maintenance, which simplifies property maintenance management with features like work order scheduling, real-time reporting, and a cloud-based dashboard that you can access from any device.
Official prices are not listed on Yardi’s website. Contact Yardi to get a custom quote for your property or portfolio.
MaintainX is a new software provider founded in San Francisco in 2018. Although MaintainX serves industries outside of multifamily, the company offers an effective solution for apartment managers and owners.
With MaintainX software, you can assign and track work orders from anywhere on any device. MaintainX makes it easy to keep up with preventative maintenance and stay on top of recurring tasks. Plus, the software offers robust reporting tools so you can streamline maintenance to benefit your bottom line.
MaintainX pricing depends on the size of your building, team, and portfolio. You can choose between Basic, Essential, Premium, and Enterprise-level pricing plans, which range in price.
- Basic plan designed for small teams is free
- Essential plan starts at $8.33 per month per user
- Premium plan starts at $32.50 per month per user
- Enterprise plan pricing isn’t available online
Contact the MaintainX team to request a customized quote or start a free trial of any plan.
ServusConnect is a computerized maintenance management system founded in August 2014 as AGM and Associates, LLC. Its platform today offers a bird’s-eye view of your building’s maintenance needs and staff performance, with a focus on delivering an exceptional resident experience.
ServusConnect’s user-friendly dashboard helps eliminate service status ambiguity by providing all the most important information a manager needs in one place. Property managers use ServusConnect to streamline maintenance processes and increase staff efficiency.
ServusConnect charges per unit, but doesn’t list unit exact pricing on its website. However, you can request a free trial to see if their platform is right for you before committing.
Property maintenance is one of your foremost responsibilities as an owner or manager. Maintaining your property isn’t just important because of the health and safety implications. For your residents, effective property maintenance could be the deciding factor between renewing a lease or moving to another property.
You can make property management, repairs, and maintenance easier by hiring a property maintenance company. You can also use property management software to streamline and optimize communications between yourself, your team, and your residents. With the help of technology, property maintenance has never been easier.