Property inspections are an important part of protecting the condition of your investment. Neglecting them will only lead to expensive repairs and longer turnovers between tenants.
It’s important to balance the need to inspect with your tenant’s privacy. There’s no reason to be knocking on the door every month, but make sure you’re getting inside at least twice during the tenancy, and do a thorough inspection before and after tenants move in and move out.
Move-In and Move-Out Inspections Document Property Condition
You need a well-documented record of your property’s condition, and it starts with the move-in inspection. Before a tenant moves into the home, you need to do a thorough inspection, with the following things in mind:
- You’re looking for any last-minute repairs or cleaning that needs to be done before a tenant moves in. When you deliver a clean and well-maintained home, you can expect to get one back.
- You’re documenting the condition of the property before you hand over the keys and give your tenants possession. Take pictures of everything so you can compare the condition at move-in to the condition at move-out.
After the tenancy is over and the tenant is moving out, you’ll do another inspection using the initial report. You’ll be able to see where things have been damaged or neglected. While normal wear and tear is expected and allowed, the pictures you took and the notes you made will help you determine whether anything should be deducted from the security deposit.
Walk-Through Inspections Protect Your Property
After your tenant has been in place for a few months, schedule a time to visit the property. If you include this walk-through in your lease agreement and tell tenants that you plan to check for maintenance issues and general upkeep, they shouldn’t mind. When you’re at the property, take some pictures and look around for any unreported or deferred maintenance issues. You’ll also want to look for lease violations. If you have a strict no-pet policy and you see cat beds all over the house, you might have to discuss it with your tenant.
Look for potential problem spots. Check under the sinks for moisture and make sure there aren’t any tree branches obstructing the windows or dropping debris onto the roof. You want to be sure the appliances are working and your tenant is changing light bulbs, air filters, and keeping the property clean and free of pests and problems.
Enlisting Vendors Can Help You Keep an Eye on Your Property
Ask your vendors to take a look around when they’re inside the home making repairs. They don’t have to be obvious about it; simply walking through the house will give them a good idea about whether it’s clean and maintained. If they’re fixing an electrical outlet, for example, they should go ahead and check all the remaining outlets. This will give them an opportunity to take a look around.
Drive-by inspections are also useful. If you happen to be in the area, drive past the house. Make sure everything looks to be in good order. If something raises an alarm, contact the tenant and schedule another full inspection.