Written by Guest | Last Updated December 2nd, 2019Our goal here at BestCompany.com is to provide you with the honest, reliable information you need to find companies you can trust.
Guest Post by Micky Deming
Property ownership is a worthy goal and a source of pride. If there is one drawback to owning property, it is the fear of things inevitably breaking down and requiring maintenance.
When you think of maintenance, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Usually it’s the question, “How much is this going to cost?” Property owners can become terrified of facing a string of maintenance issues that add up and put a major dent in your budget.
Regular preventative maintenance will not eliminate all issues, but is a major money-saver in the long run. The goal of preventative maintenance is to catch minor issues before they grow into major issues. You can minimize the risk of a larger problem and maximize your investment. For example, a pest or water issue that starts very small could result in a drywall or floor repair, which is a huge expense and project that could have been avoided.
Think about your property like a pristine Porsche in perfect condition in a parking lot. You would probably keep away from it, careful to not scratch or dent this prized possession that’s clearly been cared for. But the same Porsche with dings, scratches, and dirt will just blend in with any other car. You’re not as careful and some people will accidentally bump it with their shopping cart and not think anything of it.
Your property is the same way. When you have it in phenomenal condition — cracks are sealed, floors are smooth, windows are insulated — you and those who live in the property (except maybe your kids!) will take better care of the property. But if you let small issues linger, and the space has holes and scratches while appliances don’t work well, you are inviting more carelessness.
The best way to prevent future repairs is to fix the things that currently need fixing. It’s uncommon to call this preventative maintenance because you're actively doing repairs, but in reality, this is preventing future maintenance.
Your preventative maintenance checklist
The best case scenario is to systematically work inspect your property at least once per year and go through a checklist to give you peace of mind. The following checklist identifies items to consider:
1. Pest Control
At least every year, you should ensure there are no pest issues threatening your property. This is a maintenance call you really don’t want to deal with!
2. Water damage/leaks
As you do a walk-through of the entire property, remember the goal is to find any small issue that could become a big one. Water is a probably the most common problem that can start very small and end up doing serious damage.
Start by looking at all water sources, and make sure there are no leaks or places where water is not contained.
All of your faucets and toilets should be working properly with no water drips or leaks.
Then look at ceilings and walls for any signs of water damage. Rainwater can also find its way in and create significant problems.
3. Inspect and refresh shower caulk and grout
Take a look at the caulk and grout in your bathroom. Are they showing signs of wear and age?
It’s a pretty simple touch up to add caulk and make sure everything looks great and fresh. This can be a nice cosmetic touch, but also keeps water contained and helps make sure a leak or drip isn’t going to become a big issue.
Pro tip: Another issue is clogs. A simple fix could be to add hair catchers to showers and bath to prevent clogging.
4. Inspect roof and clean gutters
When you inspect your roof, make sure the shingles are in order and there is no serious damage. A damaged roof is a common leak source that ends up leading to major repairs. Keeping gutters clean keeps the water flowing away from the property so everything is dry and in good shape.
5. Patch cracks in ceiling or drywall
This is fairly self-explanatory, but again these small touch ups will make the property look great and keep any cracks or damage under control before they expand.
6. Replace filters in air conditioner and furnace
Your HVAC system maintenance can be costly if neglected. One very simple regular practice is to change the air filters in your air conditioner and furnace at least twice per year, preferably every three months. When filters are clogged and dirty, your systems have to work harder and are at risk for failure or major damage. Keeping fresh filters provides a nice break for the units and is a simple update.
7. Flush water heater
Your water heater is another big, expensive piece of equipment that is used daily. Water heaters tend to collect sediment and the water can get dirty over time. A good practice is to flush the water heater twice per year do keep the water clean and everything running smoothly.
8. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Check and make sure they are all working properly for your own peace of mind.
Develop a proactive mindset
As you perform regular preventative maintenance, you will start to develop the mindset of small expenses for small problems to prevent big expenses for big problems.
While this checklist should cover your bases on big picture items, the more you are in the mindset of being proactive and solving problems before they start, the more you can save money in the long run and keep everything in your home in top shape.
When to perform preventative maintenance
At least once per year, you should set aside time to work through this checklist. Rather than simply scheduling annual preventative maintenance, we recommend staggering the dates so you see the property in all seasons. One way to do it is to inspect your property every nine months. Then you are going in every year, but you will be able to see how the different seasons affect your home and its systems.
Micky Deming is the content manager at Avail. Avail is creating a community of responsible landlords and trustworthy renters by arming them with the resources required to make renting easy. More than 350,000 tenants and landlords across the United States use Avail to save time and money through simplifying and automating the entire rental process, including listings, tenant screening, leases, payments, and maintenance.