This article was posted on Thursday, Dec 01, 2016 defines make-ready as the act or process of making something ready for use; the maintenance team’s definition can span everything from A to Z with the clock ticking every minute a new resident is waiting to move in to their new or “nearly’ new” apartment. 

Apartment make-ready maintenance requires some planning and thought.  The tasks required generally differ slightly from property to property and there can be issues between team members when everyone is not on the same page (or even reading from different books).

Have a Clear, Organizational System

All people involved in the make-ready need to understand the steps.  In other words, if your property is keeping track of the steps on a dry erase white board, ensure everyone understands any abbreviations, color code or format.  In addition, make sure the whole team is documenting their contribution as required to keep the board up to date.

Have a “Turn Time Expectation” In Mind for All Scheduling

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We all are aware of the apartments in our communities that will need a demolition crew before the apartment can be painted.  Let’s be realistic and figure out a way to schedule so that leasing staff can plan a move-in date and the maintenance staff can prioritize tasks.  (Most companies I speak with settle on three to five days.) This time can be adjusted if needed if renovations are taking place.

Don’t Fix Anything Your First Time in the Apartment

Use this first inspection to document needed repairs that may be outside the norm.  This would be where we take pictures for resident charges, if any, and make notes for any specialty contractors such as tub resurfacing.

Go Left to Get It Right

Have a plan of attack for maintenance needs.  I was taught to start at the front door and follow the left wall all the way around the apartment.  This way, the technician can be assured that once they get back to the door, the entire apartment has been inspected and you know what needs to be done to do it the right way.

List, Then Fix

Make a complete list of parts and tasks that are needed to get the apartment ready.  This will cut down the amount of trips to the shop for parts.

The best method to ensure that make-ready tasks are not overwhelming is to keep open lines of communication.  The office team should know what stage of the make-ready every vacant apartment home is in and the maintenance team should always know the top priorities at all times.


Paul Rhodes is a National Maintenance and Safety Instructor for the National Apartment Association Education Institute.  Reprinted with permission of Bayline, the official publication of the Bay Area Apartment Association.