Calendar icon July 18, 2023

Resident Benefits Package: How to Increase Revenue and Reduce Costs

You might not be surprised to hear that at Second Nature we get asked this a lot: "Exactly what is a resident benefit package?" Or "What is a tenant benefit package?"

In today’s marketplace, experience is king (or queen!). Companies like Google, Uber, and Amazon have changed how the next generation of consumers think. For the modern consumer, a convenient experience isn’t a luxury anymore; it’s an expectation. Accordingly, for enterprising companies, experience becomes a No. 1 strategy.

Likewise, in residential real estate, residents and property investors are getting younger – and they expect a certain level of ease, convenience, and support. Property managers have noticed that beyond reacting quickly to requests, residents want their needs proactively anticipated. And they're willing to pay and stay for it.

Enter: The Resident Benefits Package.

(Ready to get started now? Build your Resident Benefits Package today!)

In this article, we’ll explore what a resident benefit package is, how it can generate revenue, and how to implement a resident benefits package (RBP) to give your residents, investors, and business a win.

What is a resident benefits package (RBP)?

A resident benefits package (RBP) is a suite of services provided by the property manager designed to transform the living experience of the resident. Sometimes called a "tenant benefits package," the RBP proactively brings what residents want and need by providing benefits to make their lives easier. It’s one of the leading ways that the best property managers are setting themselves apart from the crowd.

At Second Nature, we pioneered the only fully managed resident benefits package. We chose the term "resident" because tenant benefit package sounded too impersonal for the value we're driving.

We developed the RBP in response to PMs who wanted to make their business stand out. Resident benefit packages include an array of services and supports for residents, from filter delivery to credit building to maintenance. Stay tuned for our next suite of services for property managers and investors: the Investor Benefits Package (IBP).

What are the benefits of a resident benefits package?

There are three questions driving the future of value creation in professional property management.

  • How do we create an experience so good, residents never want to leave?
  • How do we create an experience so good, investors never want to sell?
  • How do we create an experience so good, talent wants to be in this business forever?

In the words of Phil Vera, CEO of Paragon PM, “Being just a basic property management company isn’t going to get you as far in today’s marketplace. So what can you do that goes above and beyond?”

The resident benefits package is the answer to that question. It adds value to the resident by anticipating their needs and providing them with services that make life easier and better. It adds value to the investor by preventing maintenance, vacancy, and delinquency. And, of course, it adds value to the property manager because it differentiates them from the competition. The aim of any good resident benefits package is to create a Triple Win – for residents, for investors, and for you, the property manager.

Here’s how an RBP achieves that Triple Win.

Attracting and retaining residents through better experiences

Offering a comprehensive benefits package can make a property more appealing to potential residents. By providing desirable perks such as exclusive discounts, concierge services, or access to credit reporting and other financial benefits, the property management company can attract a larger pool of prospective residents and increase occupancy rates. Retaining residents is also crucial for profitability, as turnover costs can be significant. A benefits package can enhance resident satisfaction and loyalty, reducing turnover and associated expenses.

Higher rental rates for higher value

A well-curated tenant benefit package makes properties more valuable. When residents perceive additional value in the form of amenities, services, or discounts, they are often willing to pay more for their living experience. This allows the property management company to command premium prices for their units, leading to increased revenue and improved profitability.

Differentiation and competitive advantage

In a crowded real estate market, a distinct resident benefits package can set a property apart from competitors. It becomes a unique selling proposition that highlights the property management company's commitment to providing an exceptional living experience. By offering a package that exceeds what other properties in the area provide, the company gains a competitive advantage and attracts residents who value the added benefits.

Ancillary revenue opportunities

A tenant benefits package can create opportunities for generating additional revenue streams tied to specific benefits in the package. 

Resident benefit fee: How much does a resident benefit package cost?

Most resident benefits packages cost between $20 and $100, which is often included in the lease and added as a monthly fee for the resident. Prices vary depending on a few key factors, chief among them being the mix of benefits selected by the property manager.

Resident Benefit Package meaning: What does a resident benefits package include?

The resident benefits package is the hot topic in today’s property management circles. From conference events like IMN, to NARPM, to Triple Win Leadership XChange and PM Grow, it is hard to find an agenda that doesn’t include it. "What is a tenant benefits package?" is a popular search question in the industry, too. 

Property managers and service providers have figured out how to turn persistent problems into a suite of proactive solutions that residents will pay for and stay for.

Here’s what the Second Nature Resident Benefit Package includes.

Filter Delivery Service

Air filter delivery was the first service Second Nature offered to scattered-site and single-family property managers. It is a cornerstone of the RBP, and over 1M residents have shown that a physical, tangible product is key to their ongoing perception of value. One of the most common causes of HVAC maintenance requests is a failure to change the home’s air filters on time.

bar chart showing a 38% decrease in HVAC maintenance requests when using Second Nature's filter delivery program

Air filter delivery from Second Nature solves the problem by delivering the correct-sized high-quality HVAC filters directly to each home’s front door on a predetermined schedule. The delivery serves as a reminder for the resident to change the filter, and voila – problem solved. The resident breathes clean air, the PM has fewer HVAC tickets to deal with, and the investor has their asset protected. That’s a triple win. Our message to residents: “Changing filters is as easy as opening the front door.”

Phil Owen, founder of OnSight PROS, says of the delivery system:

“Last year OnSight PROS performed third-party property condition reports at almost 18k single-family rental properties on behalf of property managers. The number of filters that we have to replace or mark as ‘needs attention’ becomes almost zero when a PM implements the Second Nature program. I cannot imagine how a property manager could justify not protecting their landlords with this program. The difference between those using the program and those who simply hope that their tenants go to the store to purchase and install a new filter is staggering.”

Our filter delivery service has proven to reduce total HVAC maintenance requests by 38% and save up to $250 per year per property.

$1 Million Identity Protection

One in four Americans will be victims of identity theft. In 2021, digital theft incidence surpassed home burglarly incidents for the first time – and is rapidly rising.

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With identity protection as part of your RBP, every adult on the lease automatically gets the peace of mind you can expect from professional-level identity protection. Backed by AIG and monitored through IBM’s Watson, Aura Identity Guard works proactively on behalf of the resident to identify fraudulent use of their identity and alert them.

In the event of an actual identity theft case, the resident receives a dedicated case manager and is covered up to $1,000,000 for most resulting damages. This protects the residents ability to pay rent, which makes it a win for the investor. And it keeps property managers out of the middle of another difficult situation and decision.

Credit Building

With RBP’s credit building service, on-time rental payments improve the credit score of your residents. It may seem crazy that people are building credit paying for Netflix and other small subscriptions, but not their largest monthly! But that's the truth for most residents.

We asked, how is it even possible that someone's largest monthly expense is the only one they aren't getting credit or rewards for? This credit reporting program reports positive-impact, on-time rent payments automatically to all three credit bureaus, helping residents build their credit simply for paying their rent on time. Residents also get an immediate boost with 24 months of back reporting included.

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This service directly impacts rates on credit cards, auto loans, and future mortgages, incentivizing residents to get rent in on time and helping set them up for home buying in the future.

The property manager and the investor both reap the benefit of the extra incentive to get rent on time and the resident gets to see their credit score rise as a result of something they have to do anyway. It’s a big-time triple win here.

Resident Rewards Program

Rental rewards are a favorite among residents and another powerful and positive incentive for on-time rent payments.

Rental rewards programs deliver automatic benefits at move-in. Then, residents can unlock even more rewards by paying rent on the day it's due. At Second Nature, all on-time payment tracking is done through the app. Like other services in your RBP, it’s managed for you.

Gifts include:

  • $30 gift card for national and local brands
  • $25 restaurant card
  • $40 rewards cash on rent day each month rent is paid on time
  • And more

The value of rewards is covered in the cost of the RBP, so the property manager isn’t seeing any additional liabilities. The PM and investor only see a benefit, which is the increase in on-time rent payments. For the resident, rent day is now rewards day. Another triple win.

Move-In Concierge

Setting up utilities can be a massive headache for a new resident. Residents aren’t sure who to call and who provides utilities and home services like internet and TV for their new address. More, the research for discounts/promotions/coupons available takes more time. Most times, the process is clunky, with lots of friction that gets in the way of it getting 100% done. And it is too easy to overlook fine print in the lease about installing satellite dishes.

Move-in Concierge changes all of that for professional property managers. In one phone call, residents find out what their best options are and can even get help simplifying setup. An experienced concierge confidently guides multiple people every day to properly setup their utilities.

Renters Insurance Program

Nearly all property managers require a renters insurance policy in their lease agreements. As part of our RBP, Second Nature offers price-competitive insurance coverage options through a Renters Insurance Program that property managers can apply to all their residents locked in with one group rate.

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Residents who have their own renters insurance can receive a waiver on RBP's insurance program, but the current list of enrolled residents is tracked for you by Second Nature, and any resident who drops off of their own insurance is automatically enrolled.

No more hassle for you, quality asset coverage for the investor, and immediate and comprehensive liability coverage for the resident – another triple win you can create with your Resident Benefits Package.

Additional Benefits

At Second Nature, we help property managers deliver all their services to residents. If you’re  already offering perks and are ready to level up to a resident benefits package, we can help you bundle the above benefits with other services.

We’ve worked with PMs to bundle in their existing property management services, including:

  • 24/7 Maintenance Coordination: A huge benefit to residents and PMs is a service that provides after-hours support without dragging the property manager out of bed. This type of program makes reporting pesky maintenance issues easy and fast for the resident. It also helps prioritize emergency maintenance.
  • Online Portal: With a simplified online resident portal, residents can access all of their documents, messages, and more through an app. Residents can also pay rent and receive reminders to pay rent online.
  • Home Buying Assistance: For residents who are building up toward home ownership, some PMs offer assistance in building credit and savings. We help them get there.
  • Vetted Vendor Network: A vetted network ensures that vendors who service your properties are screened to exceed your standards for insurance, licensing, and professionalism on the job. Property managers, residents, and investors can rest easy knowing that they have the best vendors working on their assets.
  • Washer/Dryer Rental: Some properties may have these appliances installed or the residents come with their own, but we’ve seen the impact on prospective applicants choosing homes due the convenience of having the washer/dryer available.
  • Security deposit alternatives: Security deposit alternatives come in different packages, but all serve to provide residents ways to be financially liable for damages without having to pay a significant lump sum up front. Pure insurance, surety bonds, and ACH authorization programs are all versions of deposit alternatives that seek to lower the barriers to rental, which in turn keeps days-on-market low and turnover costs down.
  • Pest control services: Property managers can partner with pest control companies to provide routine or on-demand pest control services to the homes they manage. Bugs are one of the most common complaints from renters, and having services available to prevent infestation issues is a big win for resident experience.

When implementing a full-service, fully managed resident benefits package, you don’t have to lose the benefits you already offer. A great service can integrate all of these benefits together – delivering more impact to residents, investors, and property managers.

How much revenue can I create per unit with a Resident Benefits Package?

The amount of ROI on a resident benefits package will vary depending on the property class type, market, and number and type of services offered. Generally speaking, resident benefits packages are often in the $25-75/mo range for residents, but could be more or less. It depends primarily on the amount and type of products and services.

To go back to our concept of the experience economy: a resident benefits package gives residents the kind of incredible experience that they will pay and stay for. In short, keeping residents happy can reduce turnover and lead to lower costs and higher ROI for you and your investor.

According to Eric Wetherington, VP of Strategic Initiatives at PURE Property Management, “Revenue is all about providing a service. The younger generations we’re dealing with in property management – they want convenience, they want experiences, and they want things to be simple, and they’re willing to pay to have things taken care of for them.”

A fully managed resident benefits package can generate revenue in two key ways:

  • Increasing services to improve resident retention
  • Decreasing costs by increasing efficiency

A resident benefits package can help to accomplish both. Routine filter delivery cuts down on HVAC and maintenance costs. A move-in concierge helps cut down time and cost as residents get settled in their new home. Credit building services keep residents invested in paying on time, sending online payments, and deliver incredible value.

The list goes on. A resident benefits program creates a huge win for you as a property manager, and your investor, by driving higher ROI over time.

How can property managers implement a Resident Benefits Package?

If a resident benefits package is new to your company, you may wonder how best to implement it. Should you roll out a mandatory resident benefit package – ensuring the maximum benefits for your investor – or allow residents to choose? What is legal or not?

We do recommend mandatory rollouts to create the most ease for you, your investor, and your residents. Having a choice may give residents a short-term positive experience, but in the long term won’t be much of a benefit. Mandatory resident benefits packages tend to go much smoother and eventually have higher benefits for everyone involved.

According to Second Natures Head of Sales, Bob Hansen, “You have to look at the value that a resident benefits package brings to the investor and the resident, not just you as the property manager.”

At Second Nature, we’ve seen incredibly low pushback from residents when an RBP was introduced. After all, it benefits residents, and most are delighted to have the extra service.

Kyle Hendricks is the Vice President of Hendricks Property Management in San Antonio, Texas. He had great success rolling out Second Nature’s Resident Benefits Package and has some advice for other PMs. He emphasizes open communication and transparency to ease the path to a successful rollout.

“Be ultra transparent and get it done in the beginning, just saying, we’re not hiding anything,” Hendricks says. “And if people did call in with questions, we were happy to answer them and talk to them about it. I think just making sure we had that transparency up front was crucial.”

Looking for more in-depth advice on how to roll out a resident benefit program with your property management company? Click here for the full interview with Bob.

How can property managers reduce costs with a resident benefits package? 

The answer is: in several ways!

Implementing a comprehensive residential benefits package can provide property managers with opportunities to reduce costs and increase operational efficiency. 

Let’s look at examples from the product above. 

  • By including air filter delivery as part of the package, property managers can ensure that residents have regular access to clean air filters, reducing the need for costly maintenance and repairs caused by poor air quality. 
  • Offering identity protection and credit building services can help mitigate the financial risks associated with identity theft and delinquent payments, potentially reducing costs related to collections and legal procedures. They also improve retention and encourage on-time payments.
  • Including a resident rewards program can also incentivize desirable behaviors such as timely rent payments or positive referrals, fostering resident satisfaction and reducing turnover costs. 
  • By partnering with a renter's insurance program, property managers can transfer potential liability and property damage expenses to the insurance provider, minimizing their own financial risks. 
  • A move-in concierge service can streamline the onboarding process for new residents, reducing administrative costs and improving operational efficiency. 

By providing these benefits, property managers can enhance resident satisfaction and retention, ultimately reducing expenses associated with turnover, repairs, and legal issues.

Common Mistakes Property Managers Make Implementing Resident Benefits Package

In our experience helping property managers implement RBPs, we’ve heard our share of concerns or even horror stories from PMs who had bad implementations with other products. Here are some of the most common mistakes in RBP implementations – and how to avoid them!

Overpromising and underdelivering

Property managers may advertise extravagant benefits that they cannot consistently provide or fulfill, leading to disappointment and resident or investor dissatisfaction. Property managers should accurately represent the benefits package, ensuring that the offered perks are realistically achievable and consistently provided to residents.

Lack of communication

Failing to effectively communicate the details and availability of the benefits package to residents can result in confusion and missed opportunities for using the offered perks. Property managers should effectively communicate the details, availability, and utilization process of the benefits package to residents through multiple channels, such as newsletters and online platforms.

Inadequate research and selection

Property managers may choose benefits that do not align with the residents' preferences or needs, leading to a lack of interest and underutilization of the package. Property managers should conduct thorough market research and engage with residents to understand their preferences and needs, ensuring that the benefits selected align with their expectations.

Failure to evaluate cost-effectiveness

Neglecting to assess the costs and benefits of the package can result in offering benefits that are financially unsustainable or fail to provide a satisfactory return on investment. Property managers should regularly assess the costs and benefits of the package, considering factors such as resident utilization, return on investment, and overall financial sustainability to make informed adjustments as needed.

Lack of flexibility and adaptability

Not regularly reviewing and updating the benefits package based on resident feedback and changing market trends can make it less competitive and less appealing over time. Property managers should actively seek resident feedback, monitor market trends, and periodically review and update the benefits package to ensure it remains competitive and relevant to residents' changing needs.

Insufficient staff training

Failing to train property management staff on the benefits package and its administration can lead to ineffective communication, missed opportunities, and difficulty addressing resident inquiries or issues. Property managers should provide comprehensive training to their staff on the benefits package, including its features, administration processes, and effective communication strategies, enabling them to effectively support and engage with residents.

Neglecting legal and regulatory considerations

Property managers must ensure that the benefits package complies with all relevant laws and regulations, such as data protection requirements or fair housing laws, to avoid legal repercussions. Property managers should consult legal experts or advisors to ensure that the benefits package complies with all applicable laws and regulations, protecting both the company and residents.

Ineffective marketing and promotion

Inadequate marketing efforts to promote the benefits package can result in low resident awareness and limited participation, reducing the overall effectiveness of the package. Property managers should develop a strategic marketing plan that utilizes various channels to promote the benefits package, highlighting its value proposition and actively engaging residents in participating and utilizing the offered perks.

Ignoring resident feedback

Neglecting to seek and incorporate resident feedback can hinder the improvement and optimization of the benefits package, missing opportunities for enhancing resident satisfaction and retention. Property managers should establish channels for residents to provide feedback on the benefits package, actively listen to their suggestions and concerns, and make necessary adjustments to enhance resident satisfaction.

Lack of coordination with vendors

Failing to establish clear communication and expectations with vendors offering benefits can lead to subpar service delivery, difficulty resolving issues, or missed opportunities for cost savings. Property managers should establish clear expectations, contracts, and regular communication channels with vendors offering benefits, ensuring a seamless and satisfactory service delivery process for residents and promptly resolving any issues that may arise.

This is A LOT to keep in mind, and avoiding these mistakes might feel like it will cost too much or simply take too much work. But that’s why opting for a fully managed RBP is a solution so many PMCs are turning to. You can rely on a partner to manage all aspects of your RBP, and ensure its delivering on its promises to your residents. More on that in the next section.

How 1,000+ property managers are creating Triple Wins with a resident benefits package

Rolling out a resident benefits package is a powerful way for property managers to create a Triple Win – for residents, investors, and themselves.

An RBP like Second Nature’s is designed to be simple to use and easy to implement. All the services included within it are managed externally by Second Nature, meaning there is no day-do-day upkeep required from the manager. You plug it in and Second Nature keeps it running. The value creation an RBP generates – with such little work required from the PM – is an incredibly easy way to grow your business and create great experiences that residents will pay and stay for.

Don't get left behind in the evolving world of resident experience. Learn more about our fully-managed Resident Benefits Package and how we can build ease for you, your investors, and your residents.

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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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