IRO – An Ounce of Prevention 

by Bryan Downer, Community Enrichment Center

The older I get, the more I realize that the little quirky phrases and clichémy parents and grandparents told me are true words of wisdom. You probably heard them tooFor instance: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today”; A penny saved is a penny earned”; “Better late than never”, etc.  

While my high school English teacher would not approve of these lines, they really are helpful. As rental property owners and operators, our cliché to live by should be: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!  

Preventative maintenance truly saves time and money—two resources that all independent rental owners disparately need. At our October AATC IRO meeting, we discussed the importance of preventative maintenance and preventative maintenance best practices.   

Below is a list of the things we discussed.  It is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good place to start.     

  1. Roofs – inspect annually 
    1.  Attic 
    2. Check insulation 
    3. Check ventilation
  2. Windows 
    1. Check caulking around windows 
    2. Check screens for holes 
    3. Check for leaks
  3. Exterior faucets 
    1. Check for leaks 
    2. Be sure there is insulation around the faucets 
    3. Install freeze prevention covers during the winter 
  4. Concrete 
    1. Check driveways, garages, patios, and walkways for cracks 
    2. Immediately seal and repair any cracks
  5. Exterior light fixtures 
    1. Replace light bulbs 
  6. Security systems 
    1. Test annually
  7. Garage doors 
    1. Put a little WD 40 on tracks 
    2. Make sure remote controls work
  8. Fences & Gates
    1. Inspect and repair any damage
  9. Smoke Alarms
    1. Replace batteries twice per year
  10. HVAC  
    1. Replace filters every 3 months 
    2. Clean exterior coils 
    3. Check for freon leaks 
    4. Clean ducts annually
  11. Sprinkler Systems
    1. Inspect lawn sprinklers for leaks
  12. Toilets
    1. Replace flaps annually
  13. Chimneys
    1. Clean annually
  14. Landscaping
    1. Replace dead shrubs
  15. Inspect exterior for brick and paint deterioration
  16. Pools
    1. Check for leaks
  17. Pest control
    1. Annual or upon tenant turn-over 

Be sure to make a schedule and add items to your list as needed. Though not necessary, some owners may want to hire a professional property inspector to look at their assets. It cost a little money, but a second set of eyes can help you catch problems before they arise. 

The bottom line on preventative maintenance: Just Do It! 

Bryan Downer, Community Enrichment Centeris the AATC Independent Rental Owners Chair. For more information, contact Perry Pillow at