At United Properties of West Michigan, we understand that maintenance is expensive, and we also understand that when we can keep maintenance costs down, the ROI on your property will increase. Today, we want to help you understand our maintenance process and why it works so well for our owners and tenants.
Initial Liability Inspection
All maintenance requests start with a report from the tenant, a complaint from the city of Grand Rapids, or something we noted during an inspection. After entering the property in our system for management, we generate a free inspection report for our owners on all occupied units. This report will include photographs and serve as a basic liability inspection on the property. This is not done to generate work orders but instead to ensure all liabilities are addressed as we assume management of the property. This also gives us the opportunity to document furnace filter sizes, meet the tenants, and to change the locks. Initial lock changes the owner’s responsibility, but between turnovers, United Properties will not charge for locks. This is a free service.
After each inspection, we will provide the owner with pictures and suggestions along with an established goal that identifies how to reduce long term maintenance expenses and increase the rentability of your property.
Inspections during Turnovers
Between tenants, a more comprehensive inspection is done. During this inspection, we are determining what will be billed against the tenant’s security deposit and what is required to re-market and re-rent the unit. We will also provide suggestions on property improvements if we know the owner’s goals. Some of these suggestions are not required repairs but as your property managers, we feel it’s important to communicate as much as possible about upgrades which may increase your unit’s profitability.
Suggestions may include:
- Replacing carpet with vinyl plank flooring
- Refinishing hardwood floors found under the carpet
Wood windows are also hard to maintain, and replacing them will not only improve the property’s value but also reduce the maintenance and utility costs.
Not all upgrades mean higher rent but these things could mean a shorter marketing period, lower vacancies, and better cash flow.
Keeping Communication Open
Our program for handling day-to-day maintenance is one of the most exciting aspects of our professional Grand Rapids property management services. In the last year, after receiving suggestions from our owners and surveying other management companies, we found that surprise expenses were the number one concern and turn-off for new investors. To eliminate this concern, we now offer same-day notifications on all work orders. While most management companies will only notify you if a maintenance repair exceeds a certain threshold, we notify you of any and every issue regardless of the cost.
The notification process starts with the maintenance request. When a call comes into our office, our maintenance administrator gathers as much information as possible. This information is entered onto a work order. If possible, our staff will walk the tenant through diagnosing and possibly even repairing the issue. If, during that call, we suspect the issue is caused by the tenant, we will notify them that if we make the repair that was due to their own abuse or neglect, they will be billed. Examples of this would include:
- Overloading a breaker.
- Flushing items down the toilet.
- A lockout.
Working with Vendors and Maintenance Teams
Once a work order is entered, we contact the vendor to schedule the repair. We have a handful of in-house contractors and preferred outside vendors that we utilize. We will notify you the same day as any assignment or creation of a service request. We encourage our owners to contact us if they have comments or if they have special knowledge of any issue brought to our attention.
Our work orders are prioritized in our system from emergency to urgent to routine. They are also addressed in this order. When work is completed, we send an email with pictures. We also provide a copy of the receipt. You will notice there is no mark-up on the materials, and you are paying exactly what we are paying. We simply bill for time and materials.
On larger projects, we will provide an estimate for your approval. We understand the importance of communication and for our owners to understand what they are paying for. Although this process has increased our administrative workload, we know this investment is important for our owners.
In addition to standard maintenance, we provide thorough annual inspection reports including photographs. We will also schedule bi-annual furnace filter changes, coordinate lawn care, snow removal, inspection repairs, negotiate vendors, pay bills, assist with insurance claims, handle city inspections and disputes, and maintain a log of all past work orders.
As you can see, our maintenance services are comprehensive and always provided with your bottom line in mind. If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact us at United Properties of West Michigan.