Landlording & Rental Properties

Act Now, Thank Yourself Later: A Preventative Maintenance Checklist for Landlords

Expertise: Real Estate Investing Basics, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Landlording & Rental Properties, Business Management, Personal Development, Flipping Houses, Commercial Real Estate
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During the first few years of owning and managing rental property, if someone asked, “Do I perform preventative maintenance?” I probably would have nodded my head and told them, “Yes.” However, as I look back, I don’t think we fully appreciated nor understood the importance of preventive maintenance! Early on, I was much busier running around and performing “reactive” maintenance.

Now, 10 years later, we have come to execute a preventative maintenance plan. Preventative maintenance is so incredibly important whether you own 1 or 100 properties. It can save you time, money, and most importantly headaches down the road.

Related: The Key to Saving Money in Real Estate: Property Maintenance

I hope this short five minute video helps provide some background on the importance of preventative maintenance and most importantly five areas to look for during your preventative maintenance walkthroughs.

As always, it is great to hear feedback. What am I missing? What works for you during your preventative maintenance walkthroughs?

Leave a comment below!

Matt Faircloth, co-founder and president of the DeRosa Group, is a seasoned real estate investor. The DeRosa Group, based in historic Trenton, New Jersey, i...
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    Ayodeji Kuponiyi Investor from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
    Replied over 5 years ago
    great post Matt! I agree Preventive Maintenance > Reactive Maintenace. Taking productive action early definitely saves you time, money, and headaches later.
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Ayodeji, Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s all about staying ahead of the maintenance issues on a property, and preventing them from sneaking up on you. Have a great weekend, Matt
    Jonna Weber Real Estate Agent from Boise, ID
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Matt – Very helpful – and love having it via video!
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Jonna, I’m glad you enjoyed! I love doing Videos, hoping to shoot many of them this year from our jobsites and properties. Take care, Matt
    Michael Bier Rental Property Investor from Kennewick, WA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey, great video and wonderful info. Do you use a checklist and is it different depending on the time of year?
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Michael, Great question. We actually use the same checklist all year long. There is a section that involves the exterior condition of the property so if the snow is not getting shoveled in the winter or grass not being cut in the summer, that’s where it goes. We also change the filter on the furnace if there is one anytime we go out, any season. There are other things that just don’t pertain to the property or won’t be evident in the wrong season, like drafty doors or leaky windows. That’s why we try and do the inspections at different times of the year so these things show up at some point. Matt
    Yashira Zayas de Zavala Investor from Madison, WI
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great Video! I’m a newbie and this information is priceless. Thanks a lot to take time and post it.
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Yashira, Glad you enjoyed! I hope this helps you as you get started in the business. Best of luck!! Matt
    Sammantha Ford from Denver, Colorado
    Replied over 5 years ago
    As someone moving from a life-long renter to a potential landlord I find this invaluable! Thank you so much for posting this!
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Sammantha, You are on an interesting shift – moving from a renter to a landlord. In some circumstances that will benefit you greatly in this business. When you are doing the PM walkthroughs, think like a tenant. What will they ignore (smoke detectors, water leaks if they aren’t footing the bill, heater filter, etc…) and what will they make a big deal (problem with an appliance, problems with the neighbors, rips in the carpet). Be sure to use that part of your past to benefit your business! Good luck, Matt
    Sammantha Ford from Denver, Colorado
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thank you, Matt! Those are things I hadn’t thought of!
    Daniel Morgan Real Estate Investor from Springfield, Massachusetts
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Once again Matt great tips. a few of these tips i use myself.. but i will be implementing the every 8 month walk threw. Thanx Again
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Daniel, Good to hear from you. We used to do it once a year and found that we were doing them the same time every year, hence the shift to 8 months. I hope it helps! Matt
    Shane Matzen from Cohoes, New York
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for the video Matt, very helpful. I like the tip on changing out furnace filters; Another one that I hear might be worthwhile is flushing the hot water heaters to extend their useful life. My wife and I just acquired two properties last year (our first investments) and are just getting out of the initial rehab/reactionary maintenance stage and will hopefully be shifting towards preventative maintenance this year. Doing walk through every 8 months is a great idea, thanks again for sharing!
    Janice Harvison Investor from Saraland, Alabama
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for posting this video. Great point about visiting the property on an 8 month schedule, and your tidbit about potential illegal activity will help me do an inspection with my eyes wide open!
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Janice, Glad you enjoyed! Yes, Illegal activity is something to keep an eye out for, not because the blame could fall back on you but because tenants that willingly participate in illegal activity will probably have other issues that will show up sooner or later. Take care, Matt
    Erick T. Investor from Manchester, New Hampshire
    Replied over 5 years ago
    This time of year I’m looking for ice dams on the roof, and mold in the bathroom. Check refrigerators, as they can be sources of mold that will escape and grow elsewhere. Also, inspect the caulk in the bathroom. If it’s moldy, it needs to be replaced. I’ve even heard of some tenants using toothpaste to make the caulk look good before they move out, so touch it to be certain!
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Erick, Great point in looking for mold, I actually didn’t think to look for it in the fridge. Thanks for the tip! Matt
    Eric D. Investor from Eagan, Minnesota
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I just got done replacing the toilet float valve. The 4-plex used 3x as much water this quarter as last quarter. Over $500 in extra water costs. When they go bad, they cost plenty. Only ~$7 and 15 minutes to fix.
    Jim Jones Real Estate Investor from Los Angeles, California
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great video! I like the 8 month inspection cycle. I own one triplex myself but I don’t do any preventive maintenance at all! (only reactive!). I will start implementing this into my management techniques. Thanks for all the great information 🙂
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Jim, Glad you enjoyed and plan to implement some of the ideas! I hope it makes a difference and that you uncover some potential issues and save yourself some $$! Take care, Matt
    Neal Bratton Investor from Louisville, Kentucky
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Matt, Nice Video. Just wondering if you only check on the property every 8 months or just do your official maintenance inspection every 8 months? I would want to check on the property a bit more often. Even if it’s just a drive by. Thanks for the tips.
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Neal, We do a full walkthrough every 8 months and do a full check on everything. If I am in the area I may do a drive by, but you can only tell what’s going on on the outside. For the multis I walk the common areas at least once every 2 months. Matt
    Mark M. Real Estate Investor from York, Pennsylvania
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I like the idea of 8 months to force-push the maintenance through the seasons. Never looked at it that way for. Thanks for that terrific tidbit.
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Mark, Glad you enjoyed! Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment! Matt
    Mike Moreken Investor from Trenton, New Jersey
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I suppose you could use an uneven number of 5 or 7 months.
    Mike Moreken Investor from Trenton, New Jersey
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I suppose you could use an uneven number of 5 or 7 months.
    Noel R. from Jacksonville, Florida
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Nice video. We’re actually just eclipsed our first 8 months being landlords. Perfect timing, We will be doing our walk through inspection soon.
    Michelle St. Claire Rental Property Investor from Oakland, CA
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Hi Matt, just stumbled across this post and have a question. How do you write the 8-month inspection into the rental agreement? Have you had pushback from tenants who stall/avoid the inspection? In that case, do you enter without them there? Thanks!