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Maintaining Your Rental Investment. Preventative Maintenance saves thousands.

investing real estate

We know it’s our responsibility as a landlord to make certain our rental property is a safe, habitable place to live and is up to code.   It’s equally important to take care of our investment.  For all of these reasons, regular maintenance is vital.

It’s much better to know about and repair the leak under the faucet, than wait until it grows and results in water damage.  Maintenance times are a great opportunity to check in with tenants, ask if they are aware of any issues that need attention, and develop your working relationship with them.  Tenants will appreciate your dedication to maintaining the place where they live.  Through these actions, they will see that you care.  In addition, this is an opportunity to check on their upkeep of the property and look for signs of potential tenant infraction of the lease/rental agreement, like illegal actively or more occupants than on the agreement, (e.g., more beds than people on the lease).

When checking and/or doing maintenance, I like to work clockwise or another orderly manner around the property.  This helps me to remember to check everything.  Needs are specific to the type of property, the following is my guide for a single family residential.

Below are two lists, my personal schedule dictates when I might integrate the annual list into my twice a year maintenance implementation.

Semi-annual maintenance is noted as “spring/fall”.  They are in categories to help me remember things that are temperature and seasonally sensitive.  My properties are in a location that has fairly severe winters and hot summers, but seasonal extremes don’t hit at the same time each year.  So far this year the leaves haven’t fallen, when they do, that will trigger me to check in with my lawn guy about cleaning up the leaves and I’ll do my fall maintenance.  This year, my “fall” list is on the calendar for November.  Depending on you and the property, there is an advantage to putting the semi-annual maintenance on the calendar for different months. An example of purposeful staggering might be:  Year #1 April and October maintenance, Year #2  May and November and etc.  The advantage of purposeful staggering is that you are on the property at different times of the year.  Have you see what’s going on in February?

It also recommended to drive by at random times.  This is a great way to see what’s going on with your property, no matter your management style or if you hire a property management company.

What would you add to the list?  Share in the comment section below.




Annual Checklist:

  • Check sinks and garbage disposal — drain flow, flush with hot water and check under all sinks for leaks and check drain connections.  Verify condition of wiring under kitchen sink.
  • Examine condition of kitchen appliances, exhaust fan, dishwasher.
  • Check GFI outlets in kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Look at grout, caulk and back splashes in bathrooms and kitchen sinks and shower.
  • Flush water heater.
  • Sewer or Septic professionally maintained.
  • HVAC System – heat/air conditioning system professionally tuned up.
  • Assess windows and siding around windows — inside and out.
  • Inspect roof, flashing, eaves and soffits.  Clean gutters and downspouts.
  • Check the general condition of the building.  Foundation, vents, ducts and etc.
  • Check attic.  Look for leaks and evidence of birds, squirrels and insects.  Check for proper ventilation and for any mold.
  • Test function of garage doors.
  • Examine weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors, inside and out.

Spring/Fall Checklist:

(Do twice per year.) 

  • Change furnace filters if using ordinary pleated.
  • Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.  In many states it’s the tenants’ responsibility to keep batteries up-to-date.  If dead, replacement goes on their list.
  • Verify toilet function; look for leaks and verify stability.
  • Take a look at the condition of exterior faucets. 

Fall Only: 

  • Winterize exterior faucets.  Drain hoses and sprinklers.
  • Trim landscaping and remove leaves and dead plants.  Spray for bugs and weeds.  Check for sign of rodents and pests.
  • Clean gutters.
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