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If you’re a landlord or property manager, it's vital to maintain your properties.

Whether newer properties or older buildings, it's all the same: A well-maintained property keeps tenants happy (and therefore keeps them in their units longer).

It also increases curb appeal and makes prospective renters more likely to choose your building over others.

In extreme scenarios, not keeping up with building maintenance can lead to resident complaints and litigation.

Many property managers may simply remedy building issues as they arise.

However, this generally isn’t the best way to handle things.

By the time a building issue has appeared, residents are already suffering and the clock is ticking before you get complaints or even legal threats, depending on the issue.

In any case, waiting until something is tangibly wrong with the building to fix it results in a bad resident experience and unnecessary stress.

The best course of action is to develop a long-term, predictive maintenance plan.

This type of plan focuses on continual and preventive maintenance of a property, so fewer issues pop up. 

Let's talk more about why long-term maintenance is important and how to put together this type of plan.

What is a long-term maintenance plan?

What is long-term property maintenance? 

Long-term property maintenance focuses on scheduled, habitual, and preventative maintenance plans on a property to mitigate the risk of unexpected emergencies.

Anyone who has worked as a landlord or property manager knows there is nothing worse than a 1 AM phone call alerting you that the building has flooded, is without power, heat, or another emergency.

Preventative maintenance aims to– surprise– prevent maintenance emergencies like the above from ever happening (or, at least, reduce their occurrence).

Property managers can organize their maintenance team in a way where tasks are laid out over a period of months with the aim to keep up with preventative maintenance.

This plan typically includes an inspection plan and criteria, scheduled and routine maintenance, aesthetic and exterior upkeep, and more.

Why is long-term property maintenance important?

With such a busy job as a property manager, it can be hard to find any time to look toward the future in your day-to-day management.

You may often feel that you and your on-site team are constantly in reactive maintenance mode, putting out fires as opposed to finding ways to prevent fires in the first place.

Long-term property maintenance is a critical way to break this cycle, especially in the most critical areas such as HVAC.

By putting a long-term property management plan in place, property managers can take measured control of their buildings' success and avoid expensive repairs.

Preventative maintenance can identify small problems before they become big ones, minimizing maintenance emergencies.

A long-term plan does more than just that, though. By creating a preventive maintenance policy, property managers can also more effectively budget.

It can be hard to set money aside for routine procedures like gutter cleaning if you are only performing it when a blockage is discovered.

However, if you know your maintenance plan entails a bi-annual gutter cleaning, you can easily budget this ahead of time and make the arrangements months in advance.

A long-term property maintenance program is also more conducive for the on-site maintenance staff.

On-site maintenance staff will have higher job satisfaction if they feel their workplace is organized and efficient. Plus, it better maximizes their time to get more done on the property.

All in all, a preventative maintenance program is a vital part of running a profitable and efficient property.

How to set up a long-term maintenance plan

How to keep up with a continual property maintenance plan

Now that you’ve heard all of the benefits of developing a preventative maintenance plan for your property– how do you start? 

If you have no preventive maintenance plans in place, this can feel like a daunting task.

However, it’s easy to map out a long-term solution for your property. You just need to take it step-by-step:

1. Develop an inspection plan

First, start by identifying the core aspects of your property that need routine check-ins and care.

Typically this includes inspections of wiring and lighting, heating, plumbing, structural fixtures, roofing, siding, and more. Even seemingly small features of the property, like trees and shrubs outside, need to be inspected routinely. 

When developing your inspection plan, do not overlook things or miss the fine details.

The inspection really gives you an opportunity to finely comb through every aspect of your property to ensure it’s in optimal working order. 

Then, you will set a plan for when each inspection will be performed. Typically, property-wide inspections are performed bi-annually or every 6 months.

2. Establish and schedule routine maintenance 

Routine maintenance is critical to running a successful property.

Even in small buildings, developing a long-term preventative maintenance plan can be overwhelming because there are many facets that need to be attended to.

However, by utilizing delegation, time management, and certain software tools, taking care of your regular maintenance tasks is easy as pie. 

Organizing and scheduling routine maintenance is a must. There are certain services that every apartment unit will need regularly, such as HVAC vent cleaning, dryer vent cleaning, and fire alarm inspections.

Take stock of all of the routine work needed, then begin building a schedule of when each service will be completed. 

3. Consider maintenance management tools

Written schedules and excel sheets can only help so much when it comes to orchestrating a complicated process like routine building-wide maintenance.

Software with maintenance management tools like DoorLoop is immensely useful for keeping track of routine maintenance.

Property owners and managers can input when they would like routine checks to be performed on the software.

Then, using their own log-in, maintenance staff or even vendors can easily see what tasks are scheduled and when.

Property managers can also automate task sequences, so the software will automatically schedule a gutter cleaning reminder for every October, for example.

Though it is possible to develop an effective maintenance plan without work order maintenance tracking software, it’s much more time-consuming and stressful.

Work order software allows property managers to “set it and forget it” so important routine maintenance tasks are always on the schedule. 

Check out DoorLoop's suite of maintenance management tools here: Property Management Work Order & Maintenance Tracking Tools.

4. Develop a preventive maintenance program for the exterior 

The exterior of your property is just as important as the interior.

When kept in great condition, a property’s exterior is free marketing. It will catch people’s attention and make them want to live there.

A poorly kept exterior can do the opposite– it will make prospective renters less likely to consider your building in an apartment search. 

Therefore, it’s important to build a routine maintenance plan for the building’s exterior. This plan may include items like: 

  • Routine cutting of grass and landscaping.
  • Annual or bi-annual exterior power washing.
  • Annual or bi-annual window washing.
  • Routine inspections of gates, codes, and FOB systems.
  • Routine balcony inspection and cleanings.
  • And more

Some of these tasks are able to be performed by an on-site maintenance technician.

Others, such as power washing, may require hiring an outside vendor.

Make your preventive maintenance plan and decide when you want each service to be done. 

Get your long-term maintenance plan into full swing

Preventative maintenance is a vital aspect of ensuring your property thrives now and for years to come.

By keeping up with routine maintenance and staying ahead with preventative inspections, you mitigate the chance that maintenance emergencies occur.

Managing vendor completion times and invoices can be time-consuming and tiring, though.

To mitigate the stress of manually managing vendor communication and invoicing, invest in a work order tracking software that comes complete with vendor management tools. 

Streamline your work order and maintenance management with DoorLoop

DoorLoop is a full-service property management software that offers serves as your personal maintenance manager, with complete work order creation, tracking, and vendor management.

If you're looking for a cost-effective solution that allows you to build both a streamlined and effective maintenance plan, it has everything you'll need.

Including:

  • Receive maintenance requests from tenants
  • Create vendor work orders yourself
  • Set up maintenance workflows
  • Check progress, and
  • Pay vendor invoices with just the touch of a button.

If managing vendors’ work orders and invoices is a pain point, check out DoorLoop.

See how DoorLoop can help you seamlessly manage work orders, task completion timelines, and invoices.

David Bitton

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!