The Make-Ready Process: General Maintenance

"It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important."  Arthur Conan Doyle

The Little Things Big things are made up of many small things. Often a huge problem arises because a relatively minor thing wasn't checked early on. That which could have been a simple and quick repair or replacement if nipped in the bud can often cascade into a far more expensive and time consuming repair later on. Prevention is worth a pound of cure.

In a previous post we discussed the make-ready process that occurs between one tenants notice to vacate a property and the arrival of another. There are many steps in this process that need to be carefully scheduled. Time, as we said, is money.  Yet efficiency isn't merely about getting a job done within a set period of time, but getting things done right without unnecessarily wasting time. The best way to accomplish that is to have a 'General Maintenance Checklist'. If you know what you need to look for and arrive with all the right tools and supplies to do the work, you will save yourself from a host of frustrations later.

The Inspection vs the General Maintenance Checklists An 'Inspection Checklist' is different from the 'General Maintenance Checklist'. The former details the condition of the property for both owner and tenant to sign off on. It is designed to lessen disputes over who is responsible for property damage. It tends to deal with the obvious everyday things. The latter goes into far more detail. It is designed to get beneath the surface appearance to make sure that what a tenant 'sees' isn't merely a white-wash over a soon to erupt issue. The 'General Maintenance Checklist' assures the owner that the property is truly in good condition in ways that a tenant may never notice.


  • The 'Inspection Checklist' notes that the toilet flushes without problem and there are no observable leaks. Yet the 'General Maintenance Checklist' will include examining the ballcock, flapper, and seals for signs of deterioration, along with adjusting as necessary the water level in the tank.
  • The 'Inspection Checklist' notes that there aren't any signs of mold on the walls, in the shower, or under the sink. Yet the 'General Maintenance Checklist' will include checking and cleaning the A/C coil, pan, drain lines, refrigerator coils, and pull out the dishwasher to look under and behind it.
  • The 'Inspection Checklist' notes that all windows have unbroken screens, but the 'General Maintenance Checklist' may replace a screen that doesn't fit as tightly as it should.
  • The 'Inspection Checklist' notes that a gas fireplace actually lights as it should, but the 'General Maintenance Checklist' will require checking for any loose fittings, any signs of gas leakage, etc.
  • A Tenant may sign off on the 'Inspection Checklist' that the weather stripping on external doors are adequate and each window closes and locks tightly. Yet a maintenance professional will check to see if the door frame shows signs of rotting and will need to be replaced and carefully examine each window to see if there are any signs of argon gas leakage.

During the 'Make-Ready' process it is essential that the vendor hired to do the General Maintenance is equipped with a very specific checklist and is both qualified and equipped to evaluate and repair/replace anything that is not functioning properly.  Also, during the general maintenance process anything that is adequate for the near future, but ought to be replaced or repaired during the following 'make-ready' period should be red-flagged and placed on the schedule rather than left to be rediscovered later.

Responsibly noticing and promptly caring for the little things today will save much time, effort, and money tomorrow.