Make Ready Maintenance: Everything you Need to Know [+ Sample Walkthrough Guide]

The faster a unit gets turned, the sooner it can generate profit. Quickly turning over unoccupied apartment units to new leasers is called ‘make ready’ and it’s the top priority in property management and multi-family real estate.

The following is everything you need to know about the make-ready process to better understand its impact and importance.

What Does Make Ready Mean?

In property management, the term make ready is used to describe the process of preparing an unoccupied unit for leasing. This process typically includes:

    • Cleaning
    • Painting
    • Minor repairs
    • Maintenance work

Make ready is often one of the biggest bottlenecks when it comes to filling vacant units.

With profits and reputation at stake, a solid make-ready process must be in place. This process will ensure quick turnarounds that convert apartment units into happy homes and generate higher Net Operating Income (NOI) for owners and managers.

Quick Turnarounds = ⇑ NOI

What is Make Ready Maintenance?

Make-ready maintenance refers to the work necessary to make a currently unoccupied unit ready for suitable occupancy. Common make ready job duties include:

    • Tightening doorknobs and hinges
    • Repairing leaky faucets
    • Replacing the caulking around toilets
    • Changing lightbulbs
    • Repairing holes in walls
    • Changing out carpet

Who Conducts the Make Ready Process?

The make ready process can either be conducted by on-site maintenance technicians or outsourced to third-party vendors.

What Does a Make Ready Technician Do?

A Make Ready Technician is responsible for preparing vacant apartments for move-in and assisting with the overflow of maintenance requests. Their job might also include groundskeeping, housekeeping, and pool maintenance.

Make ready maintenance technicians are trained to be customer-facing, focussing on community retention efforts. In everything they do, their number one priority is to take the initiative to maintain community appearance and provide the highest level of customer service at all times.

Maintenance technicians should be able to complete all aspects of the make ready process, including:

  • Handling tile work
  • Minor appliance repairs
  • Carpentry repairs
  • Cabinetry repairs
  • Painting
  • HVAC, plumbing, electrical repairs,
  • and preventive maintenance.

Why is the Make Ready Process So Important?

The goal in any apartment community is to maintain a high occupancy rate with the highest corresponding rental rate for that market. To increase occupancy, there must be apartments that are ready to be toured.

It is the job of maintenance professionals to turn over pristine units quickly and efficiently, so there are ready units. With a proper make-ready procedure in place, the time to prepare units for leasing dramatically decreases.

Further, first impressions are everything to new leasers. A unit should be in perfect condition before touring and handing over the keys.

An apartment is a home, not just a unit, and an apartment complex is a community. It’s where people live and create memories, and it’s a place they should be proud to call home.

When first impressions are disappointing, they can be lasting. Not only does it lead to unnecessary new work orders, but residents may express their displeasure by leaving negative online reviews and moving out early.

What is a Make Ready Walkthrough?

Before individual units can be turned over for work or leasing, diligent and precise walkthroughs of every inch of the space have to be conducted.

Having a detailed walkthrough plan and knowing what you’re looking for before you hand over the keys to the maintenance staff or a new resident is essential. Not only does it prevent frustrations and inefficiencies, but it gives you a handle on the scope, cost, and timing of the make-ready process.

What is a Make Ready Checklist?

During the walkthrough, a make ready checklist or apartment turnover checklist is often used to accompany the walkthrough procedure.

These lists are essential to follow. If you don’t have a rigid routine, it’s easy to skip important details. Overlooking even the smallest detail can cost you money.

This list should be exhaustive, covering a comprehensive breakdown of the contents of each room. A typical list will cover everything from checking walls to doors to windows, plumbing, fixtures, appliances, and so on.

Download your comprehensive make ready walkthrough procedure guide.

What is Make Ready Cleaning?

Make-ready cleaning occurs once repairs are completed. This step ensures that all signs of repairs and construction work are undetectable. This often includes:

    • Window and carpet cleaning
    • Dusting ceiling fans
    • Wiping down door moldings, fixtures, walls, and floors
    • Paint splatter removal

How Long Should the Make Ready Process Take?

Generally, once a lease is signed, and the previous tenant moves out, it takes an average of 5 to 7 days for the apartment to be prepared for move-in.

Depending on how the previous resident left the apartment, it can take significantly longer.


The make-ready process is critical for maintaining community reputation and high occupancy rates. With proper make ready procedures in place and the right maintenance professionals on board, turnaround times can decrease dramatically, generating maximum NOI from each unit.