When you’re renting out a property in Idaho, your goal is to ensure that property is safe and well-maintained. You don’t want to be sending vendors over to the property all the time to fix minor issue after minor issue. Instead, you want to streamline your maintenance services as well as your maintenance reporting. How can you do that efficiently and cost-effectively?
It’s not always easy. You need solid processes in place, a list of preferred and reliable vendors, and a budget that can cover everything from minor expenses and major replacements.
The truth is: streamlined maintenance saves you money and maximizes ROI. That’s the best reason to do it.
Leverage technology. This is the first and best way to make the maintenance process easier. There are systems and tools that can cut down on a lot of the wasted time and resources that go into maintaining your investment. Make sure your property management partner invests in good maintenance tech.
Here are some of the ways in which we make sure all of the properties we manage remain low-maintenance and easy to manage.
Building Management Systems
The first thing to do if you want to streamline maintenance is to invest in a Building Management System. You’ll earn more money by saving more money. You’ll also save a lot of time and resources.
One of the newer property maintenance technology trends that is gaining traction is building management systems (BMS) technology. This is new and improved technology that can easily provide the information that a property owner needs to make better decisions based on usage and tenant behavior.
Invest in a software system that allows you to follow and work with the physical environment of any building. We use BMS, and we can tell you that this has been a huge help to property managers and building managers. With an excellent system, we can follow specific analytics, such as temperature, moisture, lighting levels, heating and cooling, and security systems. We can track when doors are opened, how long they’re opened, and whether a building is unusually humid or hot or drafty.
This makes a difference in your ROI and it also makes a big difference when it comes to keeping your building more secure and better maintained. We can access the necessary data in real time, which means we can respond right away to potential problems and eliminate any concerns our owners may have over deferred or unreported maintenance.
Put Together a Streamlined Maintenance Reporting Process
Communication and information sharing will make any process more streamlined, and you need something that helps you and your residents stay on the same page. A good reporting process will make sure that there’s nothing over-complicated or convoluted when it comes to asking for repairs or replacements.
Here’s how we’ve streamlined our systems for reporting maintenance needs:
- Emergency Repairs are Phoned In. Emergencies typically involve a flood, a fire, or a threat to their safety. A sewer line backing up is an emergency. A toilet that won’t flush in a home that has two toilets can wait until the morning. Ask your tenants to call you on the phone as soon as it is safe to do so when there’s an emergency. You need to get started on repairs right away.
- Routine Repairs are in Writing. For routine repairs, we believe you can really streamline the entire maintenance process when you ask for these requests in writing. You’ll have an opportunity to carefully and accurately document the work that’s needed at your rental property. As property managers, we’re able to set up online portals for tenants to pay rent online and make maintenance requests online. You may not be in a position to invest in property management software or offer a portal, but you can still collect regular maintenance requests in writing. Ask tenants to email you when there’s a problem. They can be as descriptive as possible about the issue and even include photos. That will provide you with what you need to move forward on the repair.
Responsiveness is required whether the problem is an emergency or a routine repair need. Acknowledge that you’ve heard from the tenants and immediately dispatch your best vendors to take care of the problem.
Follow up with your tenants after the repair has been made. Ask if the problem has been solved. Find out if the vendors were courteous. Ask if there’s anything else they need. This step will go a long way towards establishing trust with your tenants. It will improve your relationship and reduce turnover rates and frustration over maintenance.
Vendors Help Streamline the Maintenance of Your Investment
Working with the best local vendors and contractors is an essential part of any maintenance process. Your process for accepting and responding to tenant maintenance requests cannot be effective if you’re not sure who to call when work is needed. You want to establish relationships, otherwise they might ignore your calls. Vendors and contractors are busier than ever now, thanks to labor shortages and an increase in new construction work and other jobs. They can be selective when choosing who to respond to first. Make sure they feel some sort of loyalty to you. Frequent work and a good relationship will help.
You want to find great vendors quickly, but you don’t want to hire just anyone. Make sure you’re working with licensed and insured vendors. It’s tempting to save some money and get work done faster by hiring any guy off the street with a truck and a toolbox. This is a bad idea, however, and it won’t help you streamline your process. If anything, working with unlicensed vendors will only throw you off. Your maintenance protocol should include verifying licensure and insurance coverage.
What if you hire an uninsured worker to paint and he falls off a ladder? You could be sued. What if a contractor you met in the parking lot of Home Depot doesn’t know anything about drywall and ends up damaging your property? You may not have any recourse.
Prioritize Preventative Maintenance
Emergency repairs are disruptive to a pleasant rental experience. They’re the opposite of streamlined repair work.
Save your money and save yourself a lot of time by preventing emergency repairs. How do you prevent emergency repairs? With a great preventative maintenance plan.
Preventative maintenance keeps costs down by avoiding emergency repairs and unexpected disasters. It protects the condition of your property and its value. It also keeps your tenants happy, which means you’re more likely to retain them.
When we recommend a strong preventative maintenance plan, we’re talking about:
- Annual service and inspection of HVAC systems, including the furnace, air conditioning unit, and duct work. Make sure tenants are changing filters regularly. This will extend the lifespan of your most expensive system and ensure there are fewer maintenance requests around heat and air.
- Plumbing inspections. Water can damage a home incredibly quickly. You don’t want to ignore or miss any of those potential leaks and drips. Have your plumber check under sinks and behind toilets and tubs.
- Have the roof inspected.
- Keep up with landscaping and pest control services.
Ongoing inspections and service contracts with reliable vendors will keep your property in good condition without a lot of effort on your part. You’ll have fewer maintenance requests from tenants and an investment that easily maintains its value. This is what a streamlined maintenance process looks like – fewer repair requests because everything is being checked and cared for ahead of time.
Be Willing to Invest in Upgrades and Improvements
Part of keeping your maintenance process streamlined and efficient is knowing when to make good decisions about updates.
There’s a lot of value in keeping your property modern and renovated. It’s good for attracting tenants. It’s also good for earning higher rental values.
Perhaps more importantly, it’s good for avoiding huge maintenance issues.
There’s a good chance you’ll keep your investment property low maintenance when you’re improving it and investing in its condition. Usually, the turnover periods are the best times to make upgrades and updates. You don’t have a tenant present, so you can schedule the work and make the renovations.
What contributes to streamlining your maintenance process and making your property more attractive?
- Fresh paint
- New, energy-efficient appliances
- Updated lighting
- Smart home tech such as video doorbells and smart thermostats
All of these things contribute to a highly functional home. The wear and tear that your property suffers from tenancy to tenants tends to build up and require extra maintenance unless you’re making constant improvements.
When you go through the process of making these updates to your rental property, you’re putting yourself in a position to see where things might be wrong. Just like with preventative maintenance – you give yourself a chance to avoid those surprise expensive repairs in the future. Avoiding emergency maintenance is essential when you’re trying to keep your property easy to maintain.
We can help you streamline a maintenance process so that you’re spending less time and money and maximizing what you earn. Contact us at Jacob Grant Property Management.