Everything you need to know about property maintenance

Once you’ve made a real estate investment, the work doesn’t end—especially if you intend to rent out your property. Managing and maintaining your property is a huge responsibility, and it’s essential to do it right. Proper property maintenance keeps tenants happy and protects your investment long-term, ensuring that the property is in good shape should you ever decide to sell.

You could handle the maintenance yourself, but depending on the size of the property and the scope of the maintenance, it may be worth it to outsource to a professional property manager.

Person with a tool belt shakes another person's hand.

Table of contents

What is property maintenance?Advantages of hiring a property maintenance professionalHiring a property management company

What is property maintenance?

Property maintenance keeps a property in optimal condition—in both function and comfort—through a number of proactive and reactive maintenance tasks. Tasks under the umbrella of property maintenance include:

  • Exterior maintenance. This refers to upkeep related to a property’s exterior—also known as grounds maintenance—including cleaning of a building’s exterior, roof gutters, and drains. It also includes landscaping and gardening, repairs, snow removal in common areas, and graffiti removal.

  • Pest control. Property maintenance includes pest or rodent control and removal, as well as preventative measures (like timely trash removal—see below).

  • Common area maintenance. For those that own multi-unit properties, this includes the upkeep (repairs and cleanliness) of common areas such as stairways, hallways, mail rooms.

  • Trash and recycling. The separation and removal of trash and recycling is an important part of preventive maintenance for pest control. Professional property managers are experts in local management and collection laws which can save you from paying costly city waste collection fees.

  • Interior maintenance. This includes keeping the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems in working order for all units and common areas, and making repairs quickly when they’re needed.

  • Safety checks. Safety checks include checking and maintenance of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. They also cover proactive inspections of electrical and mechanical systems and periodic safety inspections of the property and grounds.

Advantages of hiring a property maintenance professional

Property maintenance service is typically part of the package when you hire a property management company. Here are some advantages of hiring a property maintenance professional:

  • Saves you time. DIY property maintenance management is time consuming, and if you own more than one rental property, it can quickly turn into a full-time job. A pro will be familiar with what it takes to do the job. This lessens your learning curve time to get the operation up and running and frees you up from having to manage them closely.

  • Cost-effective. You will have to pay a property maintenance business a fee, likely an agreed-upon fixed monthly fee. The fees are typically cost-effective compared to the cost of finding and hiring a team of maintenance technicians and managing them across multiple properties or multifamily properties. In addition, that fee can be written off as a rental property tax deduction

  • Peace of mind. You can rest easy knowing the maintenance of your property is in the hands of professionals. They typically have responsive customer service teams that can address urgent repair needs and maintenance requests. They can take maintenance off your hands, or handle all aspects of managing a rental property leaving you to focus on your next investment property search.

  • Professional quality vs. DIY. The pros come with an extensive network of maintenance vendors and in-house teams that are each experts in their type of maintenance or repair. Unless you are an experienced DIYer with a wide range of skills (and tools!), you’re going to get higher quality results from professionals. And for commercial property—hiring a professional is an absolute necessity.

Different tools surround a blue cut out house figurine.

Hiring a property management company

Property managers can help you with much more than property maintenance. They function as the intermediary between the rental property owners and renters, handling the day-to-day operations and ongoing upkeep of real estate investment properties. Their basic responsibilities include: 

  • Pricing property to maximize revenue while minimizing vacancy 

  • Screening tenants (e.g., running background and credit checks)

  • Drafting, signing, and renewing lease agreements on behalf of property owners

  • Collecting rents and security deposits

  • Managing tenants (e.g., handling complaints, sublease requests, move-outs, and evictions)

  • Responding to maintenance requests (e.g., water leaks or exterminations)

  • Creating and adhering to budgets for property maintenance costs (e.g., landscaping and addressing wear and tear)

  • Marketing rental properties ahead of vacancies to prevent empty units

  • Understanding state and national landlord-tenant laws and regulations

Steps to hire a property manager

The benefits of hiring a property management company to handle maintenance are many. But do your research when looking for the right company for you. Here are the top five things to look out for during your search:

  1. Ask for referrals

  2. Don’t skimp on the interview

  3. Visit their properties

  4. Review their lease agreements

  5. Compare prices

For a full breakdown on how to hire, check out our guide to how to find a property manager. It’s also essential to do a thorough interview. During the interview process, make sure to cover our questions to ask a property manager. Ask what they will take care of during the course of routine property maintenance, and if they expect to work independently or check in with you often.

Bungalow offers tenant placement and property management services that keep your property fully occupied and well managed—helping you earn more rental income from your investment property. With Bungalow, homeowners earn up to 20% more rental income. Learn more about Bungalow.

Ready to find your next home?

Move-in ready homes and a built-in community so you can feel at home, together — wherever you are.

Suggested articles

loading spinner
Move in ready homes and a built-in community so you can feel at home, together — wherever you are.