Given the option, few of us would volunteer to spend a Sunday on a ladder pulling leaves out of a gutter. But when your home is your biggest investment, as it is for most Americans, maintaining it is a must. Home maintenance can feel like a daunting chore — particularly for a new homeowner who’s never seen a boiler up close, let alone drained one. But it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. A home operates with the seasons, coming to life in the spring and hunkering down for the winter. Follow this natural arc all year long, and keep on top of the small stuff, and your house will run like a well-oiled machine.
Owning rental property is not without challenges and complications. That is why many landlords choose to hire a property management company to handle such tasks as finding quality tenants, collecting rent, and scheduling routine maintenance. Though it may seem like property management and rental property maintenance are the same, they are two separate things. These entities, though different, work together to manage your property efficiently and effectively. So, join us as we examine the critical differences between property management and rental property maintenance for your rental home.
Most residents don’t distinguish between different types of property maintenance. In most cases, the only residential property maintenance services they will notice are the emergency maintenance measures they call for when something breaks.
However, property managers need to carefully consider the types of property maintenance they will perform—such as regular maintenance, corrective maintenance, and emergency maintenance—and whether the maintenance should be handled by in-house staff or outsourced experts.
We have a wide range of property maintenance Melbourne services at Hitch Property Constructions.
What is house maintenance?
My definition of home maintenance is any jobs that involve checking, DIY, and maintaining(!) where you live. It’s about maintaining the structure, fixtures and fittings – and ensuring your home stays safe, secure and looked after for you in day to day life, and in emergencies.
It’s NOT things like cleaning, gardening etc. – which I class as chores more than maintenance. (Yes – arguably doing chores maintains the home as well, but I like to split them up as they are easier to manage this way.)
Some tasks that I would consider home maintenance are: –
- Chimney sweep
- Checking smoke detector
- Inspecting roof for leaks
- Keeping on top of the Home Inventory
Also known as “planned maintenance,” this term refers to residential property maintenance services that are either frequent or minor—and are usually planned ahead of time to prevent issues. In many managed properties, regular maintenance such as cleaning and painting are performed by in-house staff.
Regular maintenance also includes pre-planned preventative maintenance for major systems in a property—such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) inspection and maintenance.
This type of property maintenance tends to be low-impact and low-cost compared to corrective and emergency maintenance. It may help to forestall the need for corrective and emergency maintenance.
Whether regular maintenance should be performed by in-house property management staff or by an outsourced specialist depends on what is being maintained. Basic cleaning and other duties can often be performed by in-house staff. Electrical or HVAC maintenance, on the other hand, typically requires a licensed specialist to be done correctly and to code.
Corrective maintenance is the term applied to basic repairs for non-emergency items in a property. In many cases, these repairs may be conflated or confused with emergency repairs. The major differentiating factor is that these repairs are generally low-priority—residents will not be excessively inconvenienced or put at risk of harm if the issue isn’t fixed as soon as possible.
However, just because there is little risk of harm or excessive inconvenience doesn’t mean the repairs should be put off. The speed of response to corrective maintenance issues can have a major impact on the renter’s experience as well as their decision to renew their lease.
For example, say a ceiling fan in the living room breaks down. It isn’t likely to lead to injury or loss, but it will be inconvenient since the living room won’t be as comfortable. Fixing this issue would probably be classified as “corrective maintenance” rather than “emergency maintenance.”
Here, using an outsourced expert to provide service sooner rather than later can help improve the tenant experience.
This is the term applied to maintenance issues that need to be handled as soon as possible. Emergency maintenance often involves issues which could pose a risk to a renter’s health or cost the renter a significant amount of money.
For example, if a floor were to collapse due to damage, there would be a serious risk of bodily injury. In such a case, the repairs would be considered emergency maintenance, and residents may have to move out while the repairs are completed. A less extreme (and more common) example would be if a building’s HVAC system were to break down in the middle of a heatwave. Residents would be very uncomfortable with the lack of air conditioning. They would likely need repairs to be completed as soon as possible to avoid heat strokes or other health issues.
Most of the time, emergency maintenance will require the services of a licensed expert rather than an in-house tech.
How Homee On Demand Helps with Different Types of Property Maintenance
The Homee On Demand app can help with residential property maintenance services in a number of ways:
- Skilled and reputable pros (called “Homees”) that specialise in specific types of property maintenance are available at a property manager’s fingertips. This means a Homee will arrive in about 30 minutes to begin your emergency maintenance services after you place your order.
- Property managers can review requests from residents and set cost ceilings to help prevent overruns.
- Property managers can track which types of work orders are being handled the most frequently—allowing them to modify their planned maintenance in anticipation of common issues.
- Improved tracking of how in-house and outsourced techs are performing based on their post-work ratings. This also means being able to see who is handling the most work when doing performance reviews for in-house maintenance techs.
- Tracking of work orders lets property managers see which properties are consistently having problems.
- The app helps improve the accuracy of assessing your return on investment for each rental property by tracking their property maintenance histories and costs.
- It increases the resident’s happiness by improving communication between the renter, the property manager, and the maintenance technicians performing repairs.
Also, because both property managers and residents can submit requests for residential property maintenance services from their phones, Homee On-Demand helps ensure that emergency repairs are never overlooked and are handled immediately.
Property Management and Rental Property Maintenance, Aren’t They the Same?
The problem is, not all property management groups provide their customers with a rental property maintenance staff. This means that as a landlord, all administrative tasks related to your property will be handled, but the maintenance issues rest on your shoulders. So, doesn’t this defeat the purpose of hiring a property management company? Well, this is why it is so important to research your property management company beforehand. Therefore, compile a list of questions to ask each company you are considering.
What is Full-Service Property Management?
Property management companies manage every aspect of your rental property. Traditionally, they operate, control, and oversee your investment in a variety of ways. These tasks, when done correctly, add efficiency to your rental property and facilitate positive cash flow each year. So, let’s take a look at the primary responsibilities of a property management company:
Finding great tenants is crucial to being a successful landlord. Therefore, hiring a property management company to screen potential tenants for your rental home is so important. Background checks should be performed for all potential tenants. Additionally, they will screen for prior evictions, liens, bankruptcies, criminal history, and creditworthiness while following federal, state, and local laws.
Lease Agreement Drafting
A legally compliant lease agreement outlines all of the essential things a prospective tenant should be aware of. That said, this is where a property management company is incredibly helpful. Understanding all landlord-tenant laws and the importance of a comprehensive lease agreement, your property management company will take care of everything effortlessly.
Looking for comprehensive services on property maintenance? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
Collecting and distributing rent payments on time each month is vital to your success. A property management company will efficiently collect rent from your tenants and get the payments back to you quickly. Collecting late rent payments is the responsibility of your property management company as well.
Help with Legal Services
A quality property management company will also be responsible for starting the eviction process, handling lawsuits, and defending you as a landlord.
What is Rental Property Maintenance?
When you own a rental property, you will eventually have to deal with maintenance issues. While property management companies are responsible for facilitating maintenance requests, that is typically where their responsibility ends. Most property management companies have a separate maintenance group. These licensed contractors handle routine rental home upkeep, emergency repairs, and significant damage resulting from accidents or an irresponsible tenant.
Tasks handled by rental property maintenance staff include:
- Lawn and yard maintenance
- Heating and Air Conditioning
- Electrical work
- Locksmith issues
- Common area upkeep
- Flooding emergencies
A responsible property management company will have a maintenance crew on hand 24/7 should your tenants encounter any issues— big or small.
In addition to maintenance staff, a property management company contacts when a maintenance issue pops up, your property manager should have relationships with licensed professional vendors. These vendors can handle the difficult problems beyond the scope of expertise of most general maintenance workers.
Additionally, it is the responsibility of the property management company to contact and schedule the repairs. From there, the maintenance staff is responsible for resolving the issue, invoicing the landlord or tenant—according to the lease agreement—and taking care of any concerns that may arise during work.
Property Maintenance Companies – Do You Really Need Them?
Property Maintenance Companies Do It Right
While it’s true that these companies won’t care as much about the property as you do, they do care about their reputation. They know they need to do things right- otherwise, you’ll never use them again and possibly leave a bad review online.
Because these guys and gals are the experts, you can rest assured they’re more likely to do a good job than you are. Watching a few YouTube videos doesn’t make you an expert at replacing drywall or repairing a pipe- no matter what the YouTuber says.
Of course, you can do even more research by buying books or practising, but there’s something else you need to keep in mind.
Hiring Property Maintenance Companies Values Your Time
If you value your time and know-how to use it wisely, it doesn’t make sense to spend your valuable time messing with maintenance issues. If you’re an investor, the whole point of having the property is to make money for you, right? And if you’re a property manager, your time is likely better spent doing other tasks like networking and looking for new clients.
This can be difficult to swallow, and some argue that DIY makes sense because it gives your life some variety. And while that’s true, you can probably find other ways to build variety into your life than painting walls, laying down hardwood or installing windows yourself.
Does this mean you should pay someone $50 an hour to paint? No, it needs to make economic sense if you make $25 an hour at your job and can paint just as well as that guy charging $50, put on your painting clothes.
But in general, you have to consider what your time is worth. If you make $25 an hour at your job and the painter charges $25 to $30, you should invest in his service so you can focus on more important things.
The Property Maintenance Companies Will BE Responsible
Have you ever tried to fix something around your home and messed it up? Maybe you tried to build a paver patio, and it turned out uneven. Or you tried to fix a leaky faucet and somehow made the problem worse.
When that happens, guess who is responsible? Yup- you. This leads to more frustration, which isn’t what we’re looking for in a rental property. Your energy could be much better directed towards learning new property management software, finding tenants, etc.
If you hire a maintenance company or handyman to do the work, they’re responsible. Sure, you still own the home, but they should fix any problems they create.
It’s Not A One-Man Show
The problem with doing everything yourself or hiring a one person (like a handyman) to do investment property maintenance is it’s too reliant on a single person.
What happens when that person gets sick? Or their kids get sick? Or they run into an issue they have no idea how to fix?
These types of things don’t happen as often when you hire a team. Property maintenance companies usually work in teams, meaning they can put in the work even if they lose one or two folks temporarily. This may not be a big deal sometimes, but if you’re on a deadline and trying to get your property fixed up so tenants can move in, every day is the money going right out that broken window.
Reasons Why You Should Do House Maintenance
Running a home, however big or small, can be daunting, to say the least. You probably made it a priority to buy a place that had a good structural survey, and that would be a good investment. It was a good investment because it had been maintained properly over the years…
It’s all too easy to let maintenance slip to the bottom of the priority list when there are so many other things to do: –
But here are the reasons why you should definitely make it a top priority – right now…
It Can Be More Expensive to Fix Something That Goes Wrong Rather Than Prevents It From Failing
Maybe it’s a burst pipe, or a leak in the roof, or a crack in a wall – whatever the thing is – a problem with the house can knock you for six.
It is usually more expensive to fix once it’s gone wrong – so maintaining your home while everything is right means less cost over the long haul.
It Can Take More Time Once Things Go Wrong
If you regularly schedule in checks and maintenance work on your home, you can work these things around your life and your schedule.
Once something goes wrong, though, you have to work around IT instead. You may have to take time off work, miss appointments etc. – and that’s just frustrating, to say the least.
It’s The Most Expensive Asset You Have
Your car is probably the second most expensive asset you have, and this is a very small percentage of the cost of a home – yet I will wager that you regularly get your car serviced and MOT’d.
It should be the same for your home…
It Adds Value To Your Home
If you maintain it well, then prospective buyers will see that, and be more likely to buy it at the right price. A less well-maintained home may fetch less than expected because buyers automatically take money off their offer for the perceived work they may have to do to rectify things.
It Minimises The Chance Of Things Going Wrong
If you keep an eye on your home at regular intervals – then things are less likely to go wrong, and there are less chances of costs mounting up as a result.
Check out Hitch Property Constructions for a huge range of Melbourne property maintenance services.
It Gives You More Faith In Your Home
I LOVE the fact that we did so much work on our home when we moved in. I now know every wall, every socket, every part of the house – and as a result, I feel much more secure in the fact that things have been tackled right. There are fewer things to worry about, and I am aware of what needs regular checking.
If you regularly maintain your home, you will get to know it so much better, and you will naturally feel more secure and safe living in it.
Great property maintenance companies are an essential part of your team. It may take you some time to find one you love, but know the investment is more than worth it. Especially as your portfolio grows and you need to allocate more time to other tasks.