Great properties, find great tenants at higher rental rates and maintain their value better over time. Problem properties find problem tenants. To ensure the best possible outcome and the greatest financial return on investment, rental properties must be properly maintained. Keep in mind you’re going to spend money to maintain the value of the property, which helps it lease faster and for a higher rental rate. Invest and make higher returns with lower expenses or fail to invest and lose money overall.


Investing in your rental is not wasted money but instead increases the value of your asset and reduces waste. An example is the installation of door stoppers. A $3 door stopper installed reduces the potential of holes in the wall from door knobs or holes in a door from a damaged door stopper. $3 invested up front saves $100’s down the road.

Another common example is painting. Invest the money today to increase the value of your property and bring a property back to conservative colors that everyone will like and can possibly be touched up. The other choice is not to invest. Your home will sit on the market for long periods of time at about $100 a day in lost revenue. If you can find a tenant, the rental rate will be much lower. Tenants that accept properties in scratch and dent status typically resemble the properties they lease. This will increase your turnover costs because proper maintenance is one of the top reasons that residents move or renew their lease.


At 1836 Property Management we maximize your return by reducing visible and invisible risks. The results of this detailed approach to property management are lower days on market, higher quality residents which stay for longer periods of time, and homes that go up or maintain their value vs. degrading over time. The benefits are significantly lower holdings costs, residents who take better care of the properties in which they reside and renew more frequently than others, as well as, homes that increase in value vs. decrease due to deferred maintenance.

Completing all make-ready work up front is key. If you wait to do the work after an application is submitted, we may not have the time when an applicant is wanting to move in. Addressing items up front will prevent prospective tenants from moving onto other properties or moving into a home that’s under renovation. Keep in mind that delays with supplies, labor and weather are common.


Lastly, agents from outside brokerages know our standards. It’s one of the reasons our properties lease about 25% faster than average. From one of our PM’s, “I’ve had several leasing agents reach out to me complimenting how nice our properties are. Some of those agents have even reached out to let me know a property isn’t up to our standards because they know it’s an anomaly and we’ll make it right. They’ve told me they’ll tell their clients “Oh, this is an 1836 property so I know it’s going to be a good one.”

We definitely have a reputation among the leasing agent community for offering quality properties. This reputation delivers results for our clients in the way of more showings, less time on market, more applicants from which to choose and overall greater returns.

Here are our make ready standards in greater detail.


  • Paint must be clean and free from marks and a neutral, white or an off white color depending on the architecture. Any shelving and/or TV mounts should be removed. Holes should be filled in and textured prior to painting. We use Sherwin Williams paint because of quality and their guarantees. We have a few preferred colors that are tried and true. Keep in mind that touch up paint on site is often dried or the walls may have faded not permitting touch ups. This is a case by case basis.

  • Note: Be aware that failure to deliver a home to market with clean conservative paint colors will result in:
    • Significantly more time on market (holding costs including mortgages, lost income, taxes, utilities and management fees are typically $100+/day)
    • Lower rental rates or lost income
    • Lower quality tenants who may increase the wear and tear increasing repair costs at the end of a lease term. Normal wear and tear may not be charged to the tenant per state law. 
    • Lower rates of lease renewals increasing turnover costs and frequency.
  • Doors must be free from holes, scuffs and have clean paint. Doors must open and close freely and properly. Weather strips must be in place and in good condition on all doors. Paint on doors should be new or like new and clean from all handprints, dirt and debris. This sets the tone for potential tenants. 

  • All doors must have stoppers in place to prevent damage to walls from door knobs.  Installing a $10 stopper will prevent a $250 hole in the wall. Holes in walls take 2-3 trips to fully repair and never look like new. If caused during periods of vacancy they are next to impossible to charge back to one person. 

  • Do not change your locks or bring your property up to rental code laws yourself, as we have specialists to do this for you who will document the condition and ensure keys are not exposed to anyone but the new residents.
  • Glass must be clean and intact. Each exterior window must have a screen in place. No holes or tears are permitted. Each exterior window must have a locking device. Thumb locks are acceptable on older homes. Each exterior window must have 1 or 2 inch blinds.
  • Sliding glass doors should have vertical blinds or a pull down shade. No drapes or curtains should be present. Any existing curtain rods must be removed, with holes patched and painted. 
    • Should your property manager permit you to leave drapes on site, be aware that should a resident not want to use them or want to use their own drapes, there will be a trip and labor charge to remove any/all personal property left behind. 
    • Drapes over time collect dust, colors go out of style and residents have their own tastes. These rarely last beyond one tenancy and would then require a special trip to remove and dispose of them off site as no personal belongings are permitted to be left behind on rental properties. Tenants have the right to enjoy the entire residence and it is not to be used for storage for others including owners.
  • Flooring should be clean and stain free. Carpets must be professionally cleaned prior to each new tenant. Enzyme treatment may be required. Carpets may be expected to last about 5 years in a rental property. Carpets should be neutral and contemporary in color.
    • Receipts are required to be delivered to your PM by a professional independent carpet cleaning company or the carpets will be recleaned at the owner’s expense. Once this has been completed the first time, we require tenants to deliver the same receipts. This process avoids repetitive cleaning by owners over the course of years. We highly recommend you let us manage this for you. 
  • Closets should be free from damage, have no debris. Paint should be clean.
  • Cabinets should open and close properly. There should be no rot or separating particle board or plywood. Paint or coating should be fresh and clean in appearance.


  • The yard should be mowed, edged and the debris blown off the curbs. The greater the number of weeds the greater the challenge with HOA’s and future maintenance. Any playscapes and grills should be removed off site for liability purposes.
    • The flower beds must be weed free. Mulch is cheap, holds moisture to protect plants, looks great and is recommended. Plants should be uniform if installed, trimmed and living. Shrubs in front of windows should be trimmed to bottom of most windows for security and overall appearance. If concerned, ask your property manager.
    • Trees should have limbs trimmed 6′ high for smaller trees and 7′ high for larger trees. Vegetation should be trimmed back at least 2″ below roof line and away from side of home. Vegetation should be trimmed to resemble a spring cleaning.
      • Tenants want clean homes and if the landscaping isn’t attractive and clean they won’t even walk the property to see what’s inside. 
      • In addition vegetation that touches the home creates conducive conditions for wood destroying insects, squirrels and other animals to enter and damage the home.
    • Siding should be clean of dirt and paint fresh. Power washing may be required. Paint protects the home from moisture and rot. No nests of any kind may be present.
  • Roof must be clean of debris and tree limbs. Roof may not have any leaks. Chimneys must be free from nests. Dryer vents may need to be cleaned to prevent fire hazards. Gutters must be clean of debris and working properly.
  • Porches should be clear of all personal items and furniture. Power washing may be required. No nests or spider webs may be present. Light fixtures should be clean, in working order and free from bugs and dirt.
    • If present, system must be in fully functioning order.
    • Fences must not have any broken sections or pickets. Gates must operate properly. Any holes under fence must be filled in.
      • Good fences make good neighbors and reduce lawsuits. If you’re aware that your fence isn’t in good condition and your resident or any neighbors have dogs that could bite a child, expect to be named in the suit. 
      • Have a resident with a pet? What if that pet gets out because the fence isn’t properly maintained and gets hit by a car or harms others?
      • Have a neighbor with a pool or other outdoor area. Fail to properly maintain your fence and you could be liable for anything that a child does while residing in your rental. 
      • Owners have a legal obligation to maintain properties to avoid the potential for the unexpected which could harm a resident or pet. 


  • All lights and fans must function properly. All bulbs must work. Fans that do not rotate freely or wobble must be repaired. We recommend avoiding new fans with remotes as the remotes are difficult to track and repair if lost. Pull chains must have “pulls” attached to end of chains.
  • All switches and outlets must be clean, in working order and free from electrical hazards such as exposed wiring. All open boxes must be covered. GFCI’s in wet areas are part of the present building code and highly recommended.
  • Garage door opener must function properly, if present. Safety eyes must be in the appropriate location and fully functional. One remote per parking spot serviced with a garage door must be supplied.

  • A fully functional refrigerator, washer, & dryer should be supplied at all investment properties. Residents today expect these appliances to be provided and maintained by the landlord. As always, any normal wear and tear repairs or replacements are a responsibility of the investor. Any damage due to resident misuse or neglect would fall on the resident.
    • Must be clean, grease free and fully functional. Lights must work if installed.
    • Range does not need to be new but baked on grease and food must be cleaned. Doors must open and close properly. Metal pans under burners must fit if installed. All burners, lights, knobs and displays must be in working order. Area behind ovens/ranges should be clean and clear of dust, food or misc. items. Rodents like this area when left dirty.
    • Must operate properly and be free from rust and/or debris. Must drain properly, open, close and latch properly.
    • Must operate properly without any abnormal noise. They’re all loud but they should not have loose parts. Disposals should have rubber catch in place or additional metal screen in place.
    • If installed must be in working order or removed. These need to be topped off and filled. This is the only way to monitor usage
    • Exhaust fans must be in working order including lights.
    • If installed the unit must operate properly, lights must function.


    • Must be in fully functioning order. The temperature differential must be between 15-20 degrees approx. Filters must be new when delivered to residents. AC condensation lines must be free from debris and unclogged. Drain pans are recommended.
  • This should be free from debris and foliage. Air should be able to easily circulate. This should be 6″ min from ground contact.
  • Plumbing

  • The water heater must be fully functioning with no leaks. Pans with drains are highly recommended to be installed especially in attic installations. The area may not have debris if the energy source is gas.
    • Sinks must be clean, drain freely and operate properly with no leaks. Stoppers must be in place and functioning properly.
    • Tubs and showers must be clean, caulked properly with clean caulk. Mildew must not be present. Grout must be in place and not cracked to prevent water intrusion. Showers must not leak and must drain freely.
      •  All shower curtains must be removed. Shower curtain rods may stay only if they are clean and in good condition. Both of these fall into the category of personal property which is not permitted to be left behind however; most shower rods are acceptable. Most shower curtains are not new and/or no one wants to reuse someone else’s shower accessories.
    • The main water shutoff is typically located adjacent to the curb in the front yard for single family homes. If you can not find your homeowner shut off we recommend replacement to ensure it is operational.
    • These are typically installed in every area with water. They include sinks, toilets, refrigerator lines, etc. These must be fully operational with no leaks.


    • When we take on a new property we require it to be rekeyed to our key system by our trusted and licensed locksmith vendor. The rekey is mandated by Texas Property Code for rental properties and is required by law to be done within a week of a new tenant moving in. Anytime there are new tenants placed, including the initial tenant and turnover tenants, a rekey is required per Texas Property Code, Section 92.153. 

    • This reduces our shared liability and helps ensure the safety and security of the tenants. The vendor will ensure that the property is up to code and must perform any work that is needed to comply. This not only includes a rekey but also adding door viewers, keyless deadbolts, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, etc.
      • The door viewers (peep holes) are required at each exterior door including the door leading into the garage (glass doors do not require this).
      • Patio/Sliding glass doors do require a pin lock.
      • If a smart lock is present, it may be removed if it does not meet the Texas Property Code height requirements. If these do have to be removed, they become personal property, which we do not manage. If investors would like to hold onto their smart locks, please have those removed prior to turning the property over to 1836PM.
      • Unfortunately there is no way for us to know how much the rekey work is going to cost up front, as the vendor will determine what is needed to bring the property to code. Depending on how much work is needed, this may end up exceeding the maintenance limit but the work will be completed regardless in order to bring the property up to code. The average cost could range between $200 – $750.
      • Once the property is brought up to code, only the actual rekey should then be required moving forward.
      • To ensure the safety and security of the tenants we require that homes received from prior property managers also be rekeyed at the start of our management term if tenants are already in place.

    • Please do not attempt to change your locks or bring your property up to rental code laws yourself. We have specialists to do this for you who are familiar with the requirements. 
    • Smoke detectors must be installed one per any room used as a bedroom, one per corridor in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms and one on each level if multi level. These must be no closer than 6 inches to a wall and no farther than 12 inches from a ceiling. Carbon monoxide detectors will also be required to be installed at any property that uses gas or fuel-burning appliances and/or has an attached garage. Carbon monoxide detectors must be installed outside of each separate sleeping area and in the immediate vicinity of each sleeping area. 
    • Working fire extinguishers must be supplied at all properties, ideally stored under the kitchen sink.


    • We require that each home have a professional make ready cleaning performed before the tenants arrive.
    • We also require tenants to return the property in the same condition with receipts of service as proof.
    • Delivering a property that you may “feel” has been cleaned leads to bad results. Also we cannot require tenants to return the property to us professionally cleaned if we did not deliver it in that manner. Thus putting off cleaning does not save money, it only pushes the expense down the road and angers a tenant on move-in day. We arrange this with no upcharge.
    • Please keep in mind that homes which have not been fully cleaned in years will require more work. We must ensure that no bugs or rodents are left on top of kitchen cabinets. No bugs are left in light fixtures, cabinets are free from hair and debris and porches are free from dirt and nests.
    • Depending on vacancy time, weather and traffic, it may be necessary to do a heavy cleaning prior to listing the property then another light cleaning to deliver a quality product to the tenant on move-in day.
  • We require that all homes with carpet have a professional carpet cleaning. Tenants are required to return the homes in the same condition and provide a receipt as proof. Some homes will require spot treatment and/or enzyme treatments depending on the condition/history of the carpets.
    • ALL personal property must be removed from the home. If you can manage this then you can save yourself some money. Remember we’re renting “real property” not a storage unit for the owner’s personal property. We are not responsible for any personal property left behind and the residents have the right to throw away any personal belongings or ask us to have them hauled off. This means you should not store things in the attic or other storage spaces and expect to come back to use them. Again, please remove all personal property, furniture, cleaning supplies, trash, tools, etc., when handing the property over to 1836PM or we’ll have to have someone remove and dispose of it at a greater expense.
      • Leaving behind a desk or lawn furniture that you think the tenants may use only creates a problem when they don’t or it breaks or wears out. At that point someone has to remove it and it’s not the tenants property to remove. It’s all got to go!

    We agree to maintain our property to attract the best tenants and the highest potential future value.

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