Maintenance issues can consume a large portion of your budget. On average, maintenance can account for 25% or more of your overall expenditures. The fees cover the continued expense of grounds keeping and upkeep or surprise projects, such as natural disasters.
While some boards opt to spend less, it may not always be the best idea. Communities that postpone essential maintenance may find that a minor repair can result in a more serious repair, escalating and accruing more costs in the long. These repairs may even need to be accommodated through special assessments. Typically, this happens when a board does not have an established relationship with a dependable property management company that knows how and when to address important maintenance issues.
There are three styles when approaching maintenance programs. Take a look at the different types below and see which one best describes your North Carolina community.
Maintenance Style #1: Reactive Maintenance, or “If It Isn’t Broken, Don’t Fix It”
Most boards probably think this does not describe them. However, even the most proactive boards take up this philosophy at times. This approach does have an upside – you’ll probably save a good deal of money. But that is only in the short term. Most parts of your community don’t have to be fully broken to require your attention. So when you allow them to fall into disrepair, the costs can be even higher to replace them or even make them operational. This method can be a shortcut to budget savings, but saving real money usually involves both the process of planning ahead and regular maintenance. 
Maintenance Style #2: Preventive Maintenance
Adapting a preventative maintenance approach is good but you need to be aware of a few hidden hazards. Typically, this method includes creating regular service schedules for the community’s essentials and engaging with reliable contractors who can complete the work within the time frame and budget allotted. But, there may be further steps that should be taken for this method to be as optimal as possible. First, setting your focus to a select group of requirements and putting other possibilities to the back-burner may result in an unpleasant maintenance surprise. Secondly, the preventative maintenance approach may not translate over well when a new board takes over. The new board may not carefully read the existing contracts and warranties, therefore unintentionally voiding them. Preventative maintenance may be an approach with good intentions, but good intentions cannot replace thorough, diligent action. However, if you take a comprehensive approach and ensure a smooth transition from board to board, preventive maintenance can be a reliable, balanced plan.
Maintenance Style #3: Predictive Maintenance, or “There Are No Surprises”
The most aspirational of the three options, predictive maintenance requires watchful monitoring and inspections on all your buildings, facilities and equipment. This will enable you to see which elements are operating at optimum capacity, which ones may need attention down the road, and which ones require immediate action. It sets you up for financial stability and greater predictability. Furthermore, it enables you to think in the longer-term to implement proactive money-savers such as greener building practices or the use of more energy-efficient equipment and materials. Predictive maintenance is the style that best serves a community.
After identifying the three styles, you may be asking: how do I get from where I am now to preventive or predictive maintenance? A reliable community management company can help you achieve this! With knowledge of local inspectors and experts, coupled with deep experience in creating predictive maintenance schedules, these professionals can help design a proactive program that makes the most of your budget and minimizes the element of surprise.
For more information on what the right property management company can do for you and your community, contact FirstService Residential, North Carolina’s leading property management company or fill out the form below.


Monday June 20, 2016