Calendar icon April 10, 2023

Top 20 Property Management KPIs to Track

Property management KPIs (key performance indicators) are critical, quantifiable metrics that measure your PMC’s performance over time and help you evaluate the success of your objectives, projects, or team members. 

PM KPIs can be divided into three broad categories:

  • Financial performance KPIs: These measure the financial performance the the property management company

  • Operational performance KPIs: These measure the effectiveness of the property management company’s operations
  • Property performance KPIs: These measure the performance of the rental property that is being managed

A narrow focus on KPIs isn’t a magic pill for company growth or stability. By nature, KPIs are very transactional. They tend to focus on short-term goals like maximizing rent/fees/etc. at a specific point in time. While those point-in-time metrics are critical to success, they need to be contextualized with the view of maximizing customer lifetime value.

Build your KPIs with two overarching questions: 

  • “How do we create experiences so good residents never want to leave?” 

  • “How do we create investor experiences that are so good that they generate organic referrals?”

These questions helps you to keep a “Triple Win” mindset – that we can grow the pie for ourselves, for our residents, and for our investors.

Meet the Experts: Matthew Tringali, CEO of BetterWho, and Daniel Craig, CEO of ProfitCoach

Matthew and Daniel are both experts in their respective fields, helping PMCs drive greater productivity and profits. We asked Matthew and Daniel to share insights and help us review the most important things to know about property management KPIs. 

1. Net Income/Profitability

Net income and profitability (which is net income expressed as a percent of total income) is what you’re making after you subtract your operating expenses from your earnings. PMs also track “profit per unit,” so they can break down exactly how much each unit is making – or costing – them.  

PMC valuations are typically done as a multiple of revenue or a multiple of EBITDA, so tracking your revenue and net income can help you keep an eye on the value of your business as a sellable asset too.

When it comes to net income, one of the leading strategies to “grow the pie” is to build opportunities for ancillary income. Ancillary income is anything outside of the core service of rent collection. 

Enterprising PMs have found ways to generate more value for their investors and residents by offering supportive services like a Resident Benefits Package. With that extra value comes the opportunity to charge what it’s worth and create more net income. 

Adding value to the resident experience eliminates preventable vacancy costs for investors, keeping them – and your business – happy.

  • KPI Formula: Net Income(Profitability) = Earnings - Operating Expenses

2. Labor Efficiency Ratio

Labor Efficiency Ratio (LER) tracks how effectively you are deploying labor in your company. It certainly plays into improving company financial performance, but it’s also about helping your team members hit their individual goals and perform better – so they and you end up more satisfied. 

According to Daniel Craig:
“LER is the most important driver of profitability. There are only two ways to increase profitability in any business: charge more for what you do, or spend less to get the job done. LER takes both aspects into consideration. There are three key levers to improving LER – we call them the three P's of LER: Pricing (how effective you are with client pricing as defined by your Revenue Per Unit), Pay (how effective you are in compensating your team), and Productivity (how effective you are in enabling a high-performing team).”

Improving LER starts with making sure you have the right people in place. Find people who embrace your core values, who believe in the triple win, and in the importance of the resident experience. Look for people with initiative who understand that proactively seeking success for others is the way to achieve success for themselves.

Matthew Tringali’s secret sauce for a better LER? Global remote team members.

Tringali says: “I used to tell people that utilizing global Remote Team Members (RTMs) can be your unfair advantage against your competition. Now I tell people that if you aren't properly leveraging global RTM's, then you are going to get left behind. Top property management companies have 65% of their direct labor comprised of global RTMs. Companies who have six or more global RTMs on their team have a 7% higher profit margin, on average, compared to companies not yet using RTMs. LER is a master KPI that captures right people, right seats, revenue, efficiency and payroll.

These type of A-players add value, nail performance metrics, and keep residents and real estate investors around.

  • KPI Formula: LER = Gross Profit / Direct Labor Cost

3. Resident Acquisition Costs

Some may track this as “tenant acquisition costs" or customer acquisition costs. But, again, our focus should be on the resident experience to generate value for a triple win. That’s why we call this KPI “resident acquisition costs.” Language matters!

You can calculate resident acquisition costs by totaling your annual sales and marketing budget and dividing it by the total new units you acquired in the same date range. As you track this benchmark year over year, you will see how effective your Biz Dev strategies are.

The objective of both the PM and investor is to lower acquisition costs while not sacrificing the quality of the resident match. One of the best ways to reduce the cost of resident acquisition is to focus on building an attractive experience – particularly one that attracts the best residents in the applicant pool. A resident benefits package or another value-add can draw in residents without much effort on your part. 

  • KPI Formula: Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) = Total Costs of Acquiring Customers / Total Number of New Customers Acquired


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4. Average Maintenance Costs

Tracking average maintenance costs is tricky as an SFR property manager. The properties you manage can be far apart and vary greatly in their needs and resident requirements. Plus, repair and maintenance costs are a huge chunk of expenses for PMs and investors. 

One great way to build value for yourself and your investor is to take a proactive approach to maintenance. Offer services like an HVAC filter delivery subscription, comprehensive renter’s insurance, and other features of a resident benefits package. 

With Second Nature’s filter delivery service, property managers saw a 38% reduction in HVAC-related ticket requests. This saves hundreds of dollars in maintenance costs a year.

For more advice on using your KPIs and data to drive value, check out this video from BetterWho featuring Ray Hespen of Property Meld.

  • KPI Formula: Average Maintenance Costs = Total Maintenance Costs / Total Number of Units

5. Average Arrears

Every property manager’s approach to arrears is some form of: “MINIMIZE!” Arrears – otherwise known as the unpaid debt owed by residents – can have a massive effect on your company’s cash flow. 

Tracking average arrears helps you see who is paying rent on time vs. who isn’t. These metrics can also include delinquency rates (paying late and how late) and eviction rates (never pays and must be removed).  

Here are a few examples:

  • Offering credit building as part of an RBP – reporting on-time payments to credit bureaus can have a huge impact on residents’ credit scores.
  • Offering rental rewards programs through an RBP – turning rent day into rewards day.
  • Identity protection – this guards the resident’s financial security and ability to pay rent.

The triple-win approach here is working to prevent delinquency and eviction before they happen. The best way to do that is to incentivize on-time payments and continue to add value to the resident.

  • KPI Formula: Average Arrears = Total Amount of Overdue Payments / Total Number of Tenants

6. Occupancy and Vacancy Rates

We all know vacant properties come at a high cost. They require upkeep and payments, but they aren’t generating any revenue. That’s why occupancy rates are one of the most important metrics that a property manager can track. Your turnover rate or average days vacant can tell you a lot about your company.

A higher occupancy rate than the market average can be a huge selling point for your property management company, signaling to potential investors that you provide a better experience for residents and, therefore, have better retention. (Or it could signal you aren’t charging enough!)

One of the best ways to drive that coveted retention is to offer experiences that residents will pay for and stay for. That means identifying services that offer long-term value, not just a fancy one-time “shiny toy.”

An example of this in the multi-family housing space is the apartment complex that invests in a $15k pool table. Sure, it’s great for tours. But 99% of the time, it isn’t used, and a pool table is never the reason someone chooses to stay in their home. Professional PMs know better and take time to think about what’s attractive in the sales process vs. what’s going to make people stay. For example, a better benefit than the pool table might be co-working phone booths so people can more easily work from home and save money. 

Finding ways to add value like that in the SFR space will go a long way to boosting this metric. 

  • KPI Formula: Occupancy Rate (%) = (Number of Occupied Units / Total Number of Units) x 100
  • KPI Formula: Vacancy Rate (%) = (Number of Vacant Units / Total Number of Units) x 100

7. Maintenance Request Response Time

It’s important for PMs to know how long it takes for maintenance requests to be solved. When we’re talking about resident expectations, a reasonable response time for maintenance is one of the most basic things residents need and want. When requests take too long, residents can quickly become unhappy with their experience and decide to leave.

Tracking this metric helps you understand how well your team is doing and if you need more resources to ensure timely responses. 

An online maintenance request portal can help streamline this process, and an RBP with services like air filter delivery can help reduce maintenance problems in the first place. 

  • KPI Formula: Maintenance Request Response Time = Total Time Taken to Response of Requests / Total Number of Requests (this gives you an average overall)

8. Property Inventory

Property inventory is the metric tracking the number of properties you’ve acquired successfully and the number of properties lost. 

It’s also important to consider whether you’re acquiring properties that really support your business. Is your team burning out? Do your investors fit with your property management niche? 

One of the best ways to get more doors and keep them is to build resident experiences that are the best on the market. By offering more value than your competitors, you can attract more of the kind of business you want

  • KPI Formula: Track the total # of properties at the start and end of a period. Subtract Properties Lost from Properties Acquired.

9. Average Time to Lease

Tracking the average amount of time to lease helps show the cost to your investor when a property hits the market. Property managers and investors both want to reduce the average time to lease. 

The best way to do that? Build experiences that stand out. When someone sees your listing – beyond the property and rent price, do they see a different experience and set of benefits by renting from you as a professional PM? Are you offering benefits that residents will pay for and stay for?

Other things that help with this metric:

  • Measure traffic and conversion from listings to showings
  • Provide attractive photos, 3D or virtual images, and clear pricing, etc. 
  • Provide and track the availability of showing times, self vs. guided showing experience, etc.
  • Track incomplete applications, qualified %, time to approve/reply, etc. 

All of these impact two critical business metrics: "days on market" and "days vacant,” which are key to this KPI.

  • KPI Formula: Average Time to Lease = Total Days on Market for All Properties / Total Number of Leased Properties (during the same period) 

10. Revenue Per Unit

Tracking your profit goes beyond simply adding up revenue and expense. Not all revenue is created equal. Tracking revenue per unit is a key KPI to increase profitability. 

Revenue per unit does just measure whether you have enough doors. It also assesses whether those doors are worth your time. What if the doors are unprofitable? According to the 2022 NARPM Financial Performance Guide, “it’s worth noting that a 10% increase in RPU can easily lead to a 100% increase in profitability.”

We’ve said this before, and we’re saying it again – the most innovative way that professional property managers are generating greater revenue for themselves is through building better experiences. 

According to Eric Wetherington at PURE Property Management, “Revenue is all about providing a service.” 

You can increase your RPU by adding more value that investors and residents are willing to pay for. With the right tools, you can add that value without increasing your cost too significantly. That’s where services like an RBP and other value adds translate directly into revenue growth.

  • KPI Formula: Revenue Per Unit = Total Revenue / Total Number of Units

11. Unit Churn

Churn is one of the leading KPIs for any business. After all, what’s the point of all your sales effort if you’re losing as much (or more) business each month as you gain? 

According to NARPM’s Financial Performance Guide, “Cutting your churn rate in half will double your average lifetime revenue per unit.”

Some churn is out of your control and subject to market changes. But for the most part, churn is a direct result of customer satisfaction. PMs should find out why customers are leaving, where they would like to see improvement, etc.

And, of course, that’s where resident and investor experience comes into play. Figuring out how to make the experience so good that your best clients never feel the need to look for another manager.

  • KPI Formula: Unit Churn Rate = (Number of Units Vacated / Total Number of Units) x 100

12. Ratio of Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) to Lifetime Value (LTV) of a Client 

The Ratio of Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) to Lifetime Value (LTV) of a Client is a crucial metric in property management and business, as it evaluates the cost-effectiveness of acquiring new clients relative to the value they bring over time. 

Nothing feels better than letting a bad client go. This metric can help you put numbers behind that decision and helps property management companies understand the long-term financial impact of their marketing and sales strategies.

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is a key metric for any business dealing with clients and customers. This is the total cost of acquiring a new client, including marketing and sales expenses. It’s calculated over a specific period, and you can use the following formula: CAC = Total Cost of Sales and Marketing / Number of New Clients Acquired.
  • Customer Lifetime Value is another common metric in business, and it’s calculated by adding up the total revenue you expect to earn from a client throughout their relationship with your business. You can calculate it as LTV = Average Revenue Per Client x Average Client Lifespan.

A lower ratio between these two indicates a more cost-effective client acquisition strategy relative to the value the clients bring. Typically, a healthy CAC to LTV ratio would be below 1, indicating that the lifetime value of the client is higher than the cost to acquire them. 

  • KPI Formula: CAC to LTV Ratio = Customer Acquisition Cost / Lifetime Value of a Client

13. Executed Renewals

This is a measure of how many lease renewals have been successfully completed within a specific time frame. This will help you understand your tenant retention rates and the stability of your income. 

A high number of renewals is the goal since reducing turnover can help cut costs and improve income and revenue. A low number of renewals could be a signal that resident satisfaction is on the decline or issues with property conditions, market competitiveness, etc.  

  • KPI Formula: Executed Renewals = Total Number of Renewed Leases within a Given Period

14. First Call Resolution & Number of Unanswered Calls

The "First Call Resolution" KPI is essential in property management as it measures the efficiency and effectiveness of your customer service team in resolving tenants' or clients' issues during the first interaction. This metric indicates the quality of service and the ability to address concerns promptly. 

Essentially, you’re tracking how effective your team is at resolving an issue right away – or escalating it to the right person or process. 

You can also track the number of unanswered calls that come to your team to know if too many are getting missed. If you track days and times of unanswered calls, you can better understand where your team may have gaps or how to communicate to residents and clients the best way to contact your team. 

  • KPI Formula: First Call Resolution Rate = (Number of Issues Resolved on First Call / Total Number of Calls) x 100

15. Average Hold Time

Average Hold time is a common KPI in any customer service or customer management role – but is just as important in property management. The metric helps assess the efficiency of your team’s call handling and refers to the average length of time callers are put on hold before speaking to someone. 

Longer hold times, as we all have experienced ourselves, generally lead to frustration and dissatisfaction, while shorter hold times can indicate your team is more efficient with service and your residents are happier. Reducing AHT is key to boosting resident experience and operational efficiency.

  • KPI Formula: Average Hold Time (AHT) = Total Time Callers are on Hold / Total Number of Calls

16. Number of Overdue Tasks

This KPI is critical for tracking the effectiveness and productivity of your team members. It tracks how any scheduled tasks or maintenance jobs are past their due date. 

Prioritizing this metric helps ensure that your team is tracking tasks in a way that drives efficiency and resident satisfaction. Obviously, a high number of overdue tasks can indicate workflow bottlenecks, staffing issues, or inefficiencies in task management. 

If this number is increasing, it’s a red flag (or maybe a beige flag?) that you should open up the hood and evaluate your operational effectiveness. 

  • KPI Formula: Total Tasks Scheduled - Total Tasks Complete on Time (it’s key to track deadlines for tasks)

17. Average # of Units Per Client

While most SFR property managers work with clients who have one or two properties at most, you may want to consider this if you have any multifamily units or clients with a uniquely high number of units.

The average # of units per client can help guide your business strategies and service offerings. It can also help you identify if your business is niche-ing down in the right direction. What kind of client do you want to work with? 

  • KPI Formula: Average Numbers of Units per Client = Total Number of Units Managed / Total Number of Clients

18. Average Google Review Rating

While residents in single-family homes aren’t a great referral source, their reviews of your company can go a long way toward building your reputation and bringing you to the attention of new clients. Google reviews are a great way to track how your reputation is faring in your area. 

It may feel like moving this average up is out of your control, but you can influence it if you don’t like the direction it’s going. First of all, the baseline is to provide excellent service and resident benefits to boost your resident satisfaction. But beyond that, you can also give perks for filling out a review, simply ask good residents if they’re willing to give you a rating, etc.  

  • KPI Formula: Total Sum of Review Ratings / Total Number of Reviews 

19. Number of Tenant Delinquencies 

This metric tracks how many of your residents are behind on their payments. It’s crucial for assessing the financial health of your rental portfolio and the effectiveness of your rent collection processes. 

If the number is higher than you’d like, you should look for a few culprits. Maybe you have several residents who aren’t able to make the payments, and you need to consider being more clear in your rental requirements at the application stage or your tenant screening process. Or, maybe it’s difficult for residents to figure out how to pay, and your payment system needs an update. 

  • KPI Formula: Ensure your property management system tracks the total number of tenants with overdue rent payments

20. Client Net Promoter Score (NPS)

In SFR property management, residents don’t tend to make referrals, but you know who does? Clients. Your clients can be your best promoters if you’re looking to grow. And you can track how well you’re doing in that area by keeping track of your Net Promoter Score (NPS). 

NPS is a widely used metric to gauge customer loyalty and satisfaction. To get it, you need to conduct a survey. Ask your clients how likely they are to recommend your property management services to others on a scale of 0-10.

Categorize responses like this:

  • Promoters (score 9-10): These are your most satisfied and loyal clients, who are likely to recommend your services.
  • Passives (score 7-8): Satisfied but not enthusiastic clients who are unlikely to actively promote your business.
  • Detractors (score 0-6): Unhappy clients who might not only refrain from recommending you but could potentially damage your reputation through negative word-of-mouth.

Next, calculate the percentages of respondents who are promoters and detractors. Subtract the percentage of detractors from promoters: the result is your NPS. 

  • KPI Formula: NPS = (% of Promoters) - (% of Detractors)

How 1,000s of Property Managers are Creating Triple Wins with Savvy KPIs

Property management KPIs are critical to success in the property management industry. Tracking metrics like these eleven KPIs also set professional property managers apart from hobbyists or amateur landlords. 

The key to all of it is building metrics around the idea of incredible resident experiences – all aligned in such a way that we’re creating new value. When we’re focused on driving success in that arena, the resident does better, the investor does better, and our team and talent do better. 

Creating triple-win experiences for everyone involved allows a more rewarding relationship focused on lifetime value. Through value drivers like a Resident Benefits Package, property managers are building those wins across the industry.

Keep learning

10 Best Property Management Maintenance Software

In the property management world, tech solutions abound. There are so many different players on the market, but sometimes, that wealth can be tough to navigate. When it comes to property management maintenance software, single-family property managers have to identify, first, how they approach maintenance and, second, what tech solution will best support their team, workflows, and operational structure. It’s a daunting task! That’s why Second Nature builds integrated solutions to support residents in preventing issues from ever developing. These solutions reduce maintenance needs through preventive maintenance strategies and take work off the property manager’s plate. But no matter how much prevention you build in with tools like our Resident Benefits Package, you’re always going to need some maintenance management. So, today, we’re going to look at some of the best approaches you can take and the best software available to you for property management maintenance. Property management maintenance software solutions come in two basic categories: Platform Solutions: Property management operations platforms or accounting software that include maintenance support, among other full-service property management solutions. Dedicated Point Solutions: Property management software designed to tackle one specific problem – in this case, maintenance. We’ll explore solutions that fit into both of these categories and how to weigh the pros and cons of each. 1. Property Meld Property Meld is a leader in the small to medium-sized property management business space. It’s a maintenance point solution to optimize work order management, response time tracking, vendor and resident communication, scheduling, and analytics. Its built-in “Owner Hub” helps provide the right amount of transparency to your clients. Perhaps the best feature is the Insights Tool, which helps you track metrics like the median speed of repair, average resident satisfaction, vendor health score, total spend per unit, and more. Pros: The user interface is intuitive for PMs and residents Opening repair tickets takes just minutes Tracking repairs and resident satisfaction is easy and transparent Powerful analytics help you see your success at a glance Cons: If you’re looking for a full-service operations platform, Meld won’t be the solution for you. 2. Lula Lula is another dedicated point solution focused on property maintenance technology. They leverage a network of vetted contractors to make finding the best technicians easy. Lula’s team becomes an outsourced extension of your property management company, troubleshooting, coordinating, and managing maintenance tasks. They operate in over 30 markets in the US and boast results like 80% one-trip resolutions and a net promoter score of 80. Pros: They do the work to vet and provide the vendors You can bring your own vendors in if you want to Integrates with any software Customizable plans for self-service or full-service Cons: May not yet be available in your market Only focuses on maintenance 3. Buildium Buildium is a popular all-in-one solutions platform and property accounting software with excellent management features. The web-based solution and app provide support in accounting and invoicing, communications, leasing, and maintenance activities. Their portals provide tenant support, maintenance management, and templates to make every part of property management easier. Pros: A near-complete solution for property management Excellent tenant and owner portals and communication hubs Analytics and tracking to streamline operations and results A 14-day trial helps you evaluate if it’s a fit Customizable packages Cons: Lack of transparency for owners The listing process isn’t as comprehensive as some users want Can be pricey 4. Mezo Mezo is an AI-driven, cloud-based property maintenance management software. The aim of the app is to take work off your plate by automating maintenance ticket responses, resolutions, and insights. Mezo takes requests directly from residents and uses conversational AI to ask questions in real-time, identify problems, and diagnose the issue. It will support residents in resolving the issue on their own or integrate with your management system to get work orders quickly sent. Pros: Residents can get help immediately when they have issues and potentially resolve themselves with Mezo’s chatbot support Technicians arrive with Mezo’s analysis and diagnosis, allowing them to come prepared and resolve issues quicker Integrates with most PMS options Cons: Doesn’t integrate with all other PM tech solutions As a newer technology, still has some bugs and gaps 5. Lessen Lessen, formerly SMS Assist, is an enterprise-level solution providing tech-powered renovations and maintenance at scale. It’s an end-to-end platform for maintenance operations with a vetted vendor network and provides everything you need for maintenance or turning projects. PMs simply use the app to request projects, deploy Lessen network pros, track progress and checklists, check for quality control remotely, and process payments – all in one slick tech solution. Pros: Excellent, seamless tech that’s easy to use and deploy A fully vetted vendor network takes that work off your plate An established brand that has worked out the “kinks” in service Cons: More ideal for more enterprise companies who need scale (rather than smaller SFR PMs) 6. AppFolio AppFolio is a full-service rental property management platform solution that is very popular with single-family property management companies. The web-based app streamlines and automates every stage of real estate management, including management, training, marketing and leasing, maintenance, accounting, reporting, and communications. For maintenance, AppFolio includes workflow automation, work order managemen toolst, online maintenance request, mobile inspections, and more. Pros: Easy-to-use technology with great UX Fully mobile and automated Customizable dashboards and advanced reporting Cons: An expensive platform if all you need is a maintenance point solution Customer service is not always available for maintenance line 7. Rentvine Rentvine is a full-service property management platform that focuses on communication support between PMCs, residents, and clients. The platform streamlines application and tenant screening, inventory management, accounting with a manager’s ledger and client money tracked separately, marketing, leasing, and – of course – maintenance. The app tracks all your work orders from start to finish and supports communication between residents, property managers, and vendors throughout. Pros: Easy to use with excellent customer support Owner and tenant portals work seamlessly Excellent accounting process Cons: Has fewer features than some competitors but is continuously improving 8. DoorLoop DoorLoop is another full-service property management software that provides all the features a property manager needs to manage their portfolio. You can handle accounting, maintenance, listings, marketing, client success, and more, all from the app. For property management maintenance, their software helps manage work orders, handle vendor payments, and track the process from start to finish. Pros: Intuitive, streamlined UX that’s user-friendly Great customer service Excellent integrations Cons: Expensive if all you need is a maintenance point solution rather than a full platform Some functionalities are still being developed 9. FTMaintenance FTMaintenance is a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) point solution platform designed for maintenance managers, executives, and technicians. While it’s not specifically designed for property management, the software streamlines work order management, vendor payments, tracking, and more. For some PMs, this could be the added solution they need to focus simply on complex maintenance jobs. Pros: Robust work order tracking Excellent mobile app for vendors and maintenance managers Analytics and organization Cons: Not designed specifically for property managers, focused more on commercial properties Complex if you are not tech-savvy 10. UpKeep UpKeep is another CMMS point solution focused entirely on managing maintenance. It’s not designed specifically for property managers but may have the features you need if you’re looking for a maintenance-specific app. Explain key features, pricing, and why it should be considered. Their web and mobile app helps manage day-to-day maintenance life cycles, work orders, payments, and more. Pros: Great work order tracking with in-depth reports and financial analysis Easy to use for maintenance scheduling and organizing work orders Cons: Not specific to residential property management Difficult to learn how to use How Second Nature Helps with Property Management Maintenance When it comes to maintenance, at Second Nature, we’re always looking to empower the resident. Our Resident Benefits Package provides solutions that minimize maintenance needs and costs in the first place. From HVAC/air filter delivery to on-demand pest control to rental rewards, we aim to incentivize residents to care for their property and take work off the property manager’s plate. We also work closely with other property management software providers to ensure you have everything you need for success in your SFR property management business. Learn more about the Second Nature RBP and how it can bring ease to your work.

Calendar icon November 17, 2023

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Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Property Management

A big part of property management is prevention. Property managers anticipate issues, plan for problems, and execute solutions. For some, a key part of this prevention is to develop a property management preventive maintenance checklist. For multi-family property managers, a regular preventive maintenance check is standard–and easy. Their properties are often all contained to one apartment building or community, and it’s easy to do a walkthrough to ensure everything is as it should be. For single-family property managers, it gets a lot more complicated. With scattered-site properties, regular inspections are impractical and expensive. In fact, one of the best ways to approach prevention is to help equip residents to take preventive measures themselves. At Second Nature, that’s our approach: “How do we make it easy for residents to handle preventive care of the property?” In this article, we’ll explore both approaches to preventive maintenance: Doing inspections as a property manager – or finding solutions where residents support the process. Let’s dive in. What is Preventive Maintenance? Preventive maintenance is a proactive approach to keeping a property in good condition with the purpose of preventing unexpected failures and maximizing longevity. This type of maintenance encompasses a broad range of activities, from routine inspections (more common in multifamily) to air filter delivery services that keep HVAC systems running smoothly. By implementing preventive maintenance tactics, property managers aim to prolong the lifespan of property components, maintain property value, and provide a safe, functional, and appealing living environment for residents. What is a Preventive Maintenance Inspection – and Who Conducts It? A preventive maintenance inspection is a regularly scheduled, systematic evaluation of a property designed to identify and rectify any emerging issues before they escalate into serious problems. In other words, a preventive maintenance inspection is like a health check-up for a property. A well-documented inspection also provides a record of maintenance that can be valuable for insurance claims, move-outs, etc. Generally, SFR property managers find themselves in three different camps when it comes to property inspections: Those who visit sites only when an issue arises. Those who conduct scheduled annual preventive inspections, whether there are issues or not. Those who conduct biannual or seasonal preventive inspections, whether there are issues or not. But there’s also a fourth option: Those who rely on a partner who helps manage prevention for them. There is so much residents can do themselves to prevent larger issues from ever developing – they just need a little support. For example, if a resident is changing their air filter on time, the property manager is going to get fewer HVAC tickets, and the HVAC system is going to last longer. If you can provide scheduled air filter delivery, residents can stay on top of their filter changes. Whichever of the camps you fall into, we want to provide you with resources in this article to make preventive maintenance easier. If you’re the type of property manager who prioritizes regular preventive maintenance inspections, we have a checklist template for you below. If you’re the type of property manager who prefers to react when issues arise (often more cost-effective), we have some suggestions for how to help residents manage preventive measures on their own. What to Include in a Preventive Maintenance Checklist Let’s say you do prioritize regular inspections. Crafting a preventive maintenance checklist for property management is all about anticipating needs and averting potential issues before they arise. Building your checklist begins with a thorough assessment of the property's unique features and vulnerabilities. By understanding the life cycle of various components of a property across the seasons – from HVAC systems to appliances – you can prioritize tasks and schedule maintenance in a way that minimizes wear and tear. Your checklist will likely include the following categories: Structural Maintenance Electrical Systems Plumbing & Water Systems HVAC Systems (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Appliances (if provided) Lawn & Outdoor Areas Pest Control Safety & Security Systems Interior Checks Miscellaneous (Garage, waste disposal, etc.) Sample Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Property Management Companies With input from OnSightPROS, we’ve built a preventive maintenance checklist template for single-family rental property management companies. Use this template as-is or tweak it to fit your property needs! If you want a downloadable and more in-depth template for all types of rental inspections, check out our original post on rental inspection checklists and Get the download here. Structural Maintenance Roofing: Inspect for leaks, damaged tiles, or shingles. Check gutters and downspouts. Foundation: Check for cracks, water damage, or shifting. Walls and ceilings: Look for cracks, dampness, and signs of mold. Electrical Systems Safety checks: Ensure that outlets, switches, and wiring are in good condition. Lighting: Regularly test all indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures. Inspect circuit breakers and panels. Plumbing & Water Systems Drains and pipes: Check for leaks or buildup. Water heater: Test hot water temperature and pressure relief valves and inspect for signs of wear. Faucets and fixtures: Ensure proper flow and check for leaks. HVAC Systems (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Filters: Ensure they are up to date. With Second Nature’s Air Filter Delivery, you’ll have the date stamped right on the filter itself. Ductwork: Check for mold or leaks. Seasonal checks: Ensure the heating system is ready for winter and cooling for summer. Appliances (if provided) Oven, range, microwave: Check for cleanliness and ensure they are working efficiently. Refrigerator: Check coils and inspect seals. Washer and dryer: Inspect hoses and ensure the resident is keeping lint and drainage clean. Lawn & Outdoor Areas Landscaping: Ensure that the landscaping is tidy and up to HOA standards, if applicable. Paths and driveways: Check for cracks or tripping hazards. Pools: Ensure safety measures are in place. Pest Control Notice any signs of pests With Second Nature’s On-Demand Pest Control, you can be sure residents can call a professional immediately if they ever have issues. We handle it for you. Safety & Security Systems Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Ensure residents have kept up to date and they are installed properly. Fire extinguishers: Check expiration dates and ensure they're easily accessible. Emergency exits and paths: Ensure they're clear and well-marked. Interior Checks Floors: Look for damaged tiles, caulk problems, carpet wear, or wood floor issues. Windows and doors: Ensure they open and close smoothly, and check seals. Miscellaneous Garage and parking areas: Check for proper lighting, security, and cleanliness. Waste disposal: Ensure trash bins are clean and in good condition. The Importance of Preventive Maintenance Did you know that something as simple as getting air filters delivered on time can reduce HVAC costs by hundreds of dollars annually? More on that in a minute, but it’s clear that for property managers, preventive maintenance isn’t just about keeping the property in good shape—it's a strategic approach that yields all kinds of benefits. By prioritizing prevention, you can: Minimize costly repairs: Regular maintenance can prevent small maintenance issues from escalating into expensive emergencies. Extend asset longevity: Helping residents proactively care for components like HVAC systems extends their lifespan, saving money in the long run. Enhance resident satisfaction: Supporting a resident in maintaining their property means fewer complaints and issues, leading to higher retention rates. Ensure safety: Regular checks keep safety hazards at bay, reducing the risk of accidents and liability. Improve property value: Consistent upkeep maintains or even increases the property's market value. Stay compliant: Keeping up with building codes and safety regulations is non-negotiable, and preventive maintenance ensures compliance. By incorporating a preventive maintenance strategy, property managers not only safeguard the property's physical health but also its financial viability and desirability in the market. It's a proactive measure that resonates well with residents and investors alike. Best Tools to Support Preventive Maintenance Here’s the big question: How can property managers for single-family homes make preventive maintenance easier? Scattered-site properties don’t lend themselves to regular inspections. So, the best solution, as we mentioned above, is to help your residents do it themselves. Here are three of our favorite products to get that done. Second Nature We’ve built a Resident Benefits Package with proactive property management in mind. Each feature – from renter’s insurance to on-demand pest control to air filter delivery – aims to address ongoing needs and prevent common issues from escalating. Let’s take air filter delivery as an example. In the largest HVAC data study of its kind, filter delivery service reduced HVAC ticket requests by 38% Just by including a filter subscription for your residents, you can help them cut energy costs and ensure your HVAC system lasts for the long term. Learn more about all of the features of our Resident Benefits Package and how it delivers results for residents, property investors, and property management companies. RentCheck RentCheck is a property inspection app built to help residents do inspections on their own. The property manager can request and track routine inspections from the resident. You can set up any cadence you want and customize the self-guided inspection requirements. RentCheck will fully automate reminders and support residents in completing a video inspection that then gets sent to you as a shareable report. zInspector zInspector is another very popular rental inspection app in the SFR property management space. Like RentCheck, property managers use zInspector to schedule, customize, and receive inspections conducted by residents themselves. The app also includes a toolkit with an evolving set of property and task management tools. You can get 360 photos and virtual tours with a compatible 360 camera and printable, customizable inspection reports. FAQs Q: What are the benefits of preventive maintenance? Preventive maintenance offers a multitude of benefits, including: Cost Savings: It reduces the likelihood of incurring expensive emergency repairs and extends the life expectancy of property assets. Efficiency: Regular maintenance ensures that all systems and appliances are running at optimal performance, which can lower energy costs. Tenant Retention: A well-maintained property leads to higher tenant satisfaction, which can decrease turnover rates. Safety: It helps identify potential safety issues before they become hazardous, promoting a safer living environment. Value Preservation: Ongoing care maintains and can enhance the property's value over time. Compliance: Ensures that the property remains in compliance with the latest building codes and safety regulations. Overall, preventive maintenance is essential for maintaining a property's integrity, ensuring tenant satisfaction, and optimizing operational budgets. Q: What is included in basic preventive maintenance? Basic preventive maintenance for property management typically encompasses: Routine Inspections: Regularly checking the structural integrity of the property, including roofs, walls, and foundations. HVAC Maintenance: Ensuring heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are clean and functioning properly. Plumbing Checks: Looking for leaks, clogs, or wear in pipes and fixtures. Electrical System Audits: Inspecting electrical panels, wires, and safety systems to prevent malfunctions. Groundskeeping: Checking outdoor areas, including landscaping, gutters, and drainage systems. Appliance Upkeep: Servicing provided appliances to prevent breakdowns and extend their lifespan. Safety Inspections: Verifying that all safety equipment, like fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, is in working order. These tasks are designed to identify and address issues before they develop into more significant problems, helping to ensure the property remains safe, functional, and appealing to tenants. Q: What’s the ideal schedule for preventive maintenance? The ideal schedule for preventive maintenance can vary depending on the specific needs of a property, but a general guideline is as follows: Weekly/Monthly/Quarterly: Regular checks on a weekly to quarterly basis are more common for multifamily properties and apartment buildings, with quick checks on high-usage areas and equipment, such as communal spaces and gardening upkeep. Quarterly maintenance inspections could include more in-depth inspections of HVAC systems, plumbing and electrical systems, and seasonal preparations. Annually/Seasonally: A small number of SFR property managers will conduct seasonal or semi-annual inspections. A few more conduct annual inspections (unrelated to move-in or move-out, which always includes inspections). These are more in-depth inspections to keep an eye on potential issues.

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