As a short-term rental host, the importance of regular property maintenance can’t be overlooked.
Taking the time to visit your rental property at least every six months will ensure that you’re addressing small issues before they become disasters that impact your business.
Below, I’m walking you through every single step of a thorough property maintenance check.
Use this guide to prepare for your next visit to your vacation rental. Following these steps will ensure your rental is ready to earn the 5-star reviews it deserves.
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Your Step-by-Step Guide to Property Maintenance
1. Check For Anything That’s Out of Place
When you first walk into your Airbnb after not seeing it for several months, you might find a lot of things out of place.
First impressions matter to guests. After all, they’ve just spent hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars to rent your property. They want to know right away that they’re getting what they paid for.
So, it’s important that your actual property is reasonably close to what it looks like on your listing.
You might find some items that have been left out that you don’t want guests to have access to – for example, several bottles of dish soap.
Or, you might find some items locked in your supply closet that you do want guests to have access to, like beach towels.
Take the time to put things in their proper place. If something is high enough priority, bring it to the attention of your cleaning crew.
One of the best ways to communicate with your cleaning crew is through photos. Photos make it easy to communicate what goes where no matter who happens to be cleaning your property on a given day.
Once you’ve put everything in the right place, snap a photo, print it out, and hang it in your supply closet (where your cleaning crew will see it but your guests won’t). That way, the cleaners can quickly see what the property should look like when they’re done.
If you do this, I recommend you also send an email to your cleaning crew, gently letting them know that you’d like the property to look as close to those photos as possible. Or, better yet, hire a co-host who will put everything back in the right place between guests.
2. Assess Wear and Tear
While you’re walking around and rearranging things, keep an eye out for any wear and tear.
You might find that your couch, rugs, and blankets are dirty (anything your cleaning crew doesn’t wash as part of their standard cleaning). Clean these yourself or hire someone to do a deep clean.
There will likely be scuff marks, scratches, and even a footprint or two on your walls and furniture. These should come off easily with a Magic Eraser or can be covered up with these wonderful furniture stain sticks.
You might even discover a chunk of drywall missing (why you might ask, I don’t know…but it happens). This shouldn’t take long to repair with a bit of spackle and paint.
These are all things that likely haven’t impacted your guests’ stays yet. But, if left unattended, they could result in a bad review or long-term damage that requires an item to be replaced. Now’s your opportunity to prevent that!
Airbnb Hosting Tip: Be prepared to deep clean your property. Bring a good upholstery cleaner (Folex works unbelievably well), a small steam cleaner, Magic Erasers, and a lint roller. Make sure you have access to a washing machine, detergent, stain remover, bleach, and dryer sheets. Bring spackle, paint, and sandpaper to repair any minor wall damage.
3. Check for Plumbing Issues
There’s nothing Airbnb hosts hate more than an urgent call from their guests with a major (read: expensive) plumbing issue. But, when you own a rental property, things will break. It’s inevitable.
From time to time, a pipe might leak, your water heater might break, or your garbage disposal might stop working.
Save yourself a ton of time, stress, and money by addressing any and all plumbing issues early.
While you’re at the property, do a thorough walkthrough to check your plumbing. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, hire a plumber instead; ask them to check for anything that isn’t an issue yet but might become one.
Some things to check for:
- Leaky pipes
- Running toilets
- Backed up dishwasher
- Smelly washing machine
- Tap water that feels too hot or too cold
On top of being really stressful and time-consuming, plumbing issues could damage your property, require you to pay a plumber extra for emergency services, and require you to refund your guests for any inconvenience. So, addressing issues early on is worth it.
Here are the plumbing issues I had my first year Airbnb hosting:
- My water heater turned out to be at the very end of its life and needed to be replaced. I will forever be thankful that I just happened to be at the property for a maintenance check when it stopped putting out hot water
- All three toilets started running
- The garbage disposal stopped working
- The (brand-new) dishwasher stopped working
I was shocked at how many plumbing issues I had in just one year! Visiting the property yourself to find and fix these minor issues before they become huge problems is crucial.
Airbnb Hosting Tip: In addition to everything above, finding a plumber to do preventative maintenance is good because you’ll start to build a relationship with a plumber you trust. If (and when) something urgent does come up, you’ll know who to call.
4. Address Known Property Issues
Now that we’ve got all the initial work of the way, it’s time to address any known issues at your property.
If you’ve managed your rental for any amount of time, you’ve undoubtedly received feedback from guests (public and private) about small issues that might need your attention.
I’ve gotten feedback from guests ranging anywhere from suggesting I provide sugar to letting me know that the towel rods in the bathroom fall off easily. Nothing urgent or impactful – but small issues that would make my guests’ stay better.
Airbnb Hosting Tip: Keep a running list of the feedback you get from guests and include it in your property maintenance checklist. While you’re at the property, work your way through the list, fixing anything you can.
5. Find & Fix Any Unknown Issues
Even if your guests have been great about sharing issues they’ve run into during their stay, there are likely many other problems that haven’t been shared with you.
For that reason, it’s important you stay at the property yourself (sleep there at least one night!) and take a thorough look around for anything that needs your attention.
Here’s what you might find:
- Items are missing
- For example, I provide two generous work-from-home setups for guests. Given that we’re seeing a major increase in guests wanting to work remotely from their Airbnb, I wanted to provide my guests with an exceptional remote work setup
- Unfortunately, I found that a mouse, keyboard, and HDMI cable were all missing from our two desks after just six months of hosting
- My rule of thumb: don’t leave anything at your Airbnb that wouldn’t be okay with losing; and, make sure you know what’s worth investing in at your Airbnb (and which items you can safely save on)
- Refillable items that will be out of stock soon
- Your cleaning crew should let you know when you’re out of stock on any basic supplies
- That said, proactively checking for anything that will be out of stock soon and making a quick trip to the store will save you a lot of time later on
- Making a quick trip to the store to get anything you need at once – rather than placing an online order each time your cleaning crew messages you about something running low – will save both you and your cleaners a lot of time
- Read this blog post to make sure you’re not missing any essential Airbnb supplies (100+ items!)
- Miscellaneous items left by guests
- When your guests accidentally leave items behind, your cleaning crew should lock them away in your supply closet. If no one has asked you for these items, go ahead and throw them away or donate them
- You might be surprised by how many items have been left by guests. After just six months, I found guests left two jackets, a t-shirt, a ring, and two beach towels. (Not to mention a phone that was urgently picked up by the guest right after they checked out)
- Super squeaky beds
- This is another reason it’s important you actually stay at your property! The first night I slept at my Airbnb, I realized our master bed squeaked with every single toss and turn. (I swear, if you just looked at the bed it squeaked!)
- There are a lot of things like this that you’ll never know about if you just do a quick walkthrough
6. Do Any Routine Maintenance
Lastly, consider doing any routine maintenance. These are things that aren’t currently an issue, but proactively addressing them now will save you a huge headache later.
Here’s some routine property maintenance to consider:
- Replace CO/smoke detector batteries (it’s recommended you do this once per year)
- Change the codes on any lockboxes and keyless entry devices you have
- Replace the batteries on your keyless entry devices, Ring doorbell, and anything else that’s battery-operated
- Clean out all your drains (I use this massive jug of Green Gobbler)
- Take photos of anything you might need to share with guests. For example:
- I have a photo of our lockbox that I send to guests who need access to our physical key (i.e. when the battery on our keyless entry dies)
- I also have a photo of our emergency water shutoff, in case there’s a leak and a guest needs to know right away where to turn off the water
- I have a photo of our wifi router in case a guest needs to reset it
Airbnb Hosting Tip: Lastly, one of the most impactful things you can do is actually live at your rental property before you start renting it. This allows you to find and fix any issues before your first guests arrive and make note of anything that guests might need help with, so you know how to respond when they reach out to you.
If you own an Airbnb, it’s inevitable – you’ll have to do property maintenance from time to time.
Save yourself a huge headache and potential disasters by planning to visit your Airbnb at least once every six months.
Doing so will allow you to address any minor issues before they become such a problem that they affect your reviews.
You’ll also be able to prevent potential disasters that would cost you tons of money to repair after the fact.
P.S. If you own a single-family home, you may want to consider additional maintenance such as checking your roof and gutters. The New York Times has a very thorough list of property maintenance they recommend if you own a single-family home.
- The Best Room-By-Room Airbnb Checklist: 100+ Essential Items
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What property maintenance do you do at your Airbnb? Let’s chat in the comments.
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