One of the best ways to protect your rental property is by doing routine inspections. The most important property inspections occur right before a tenant moves in and right after that same tenant moves out. You also want to inspect your home during the leasing period and at Dave Poletti & Associates, we have found that the best way to accomplish those inspections is to do them while you are on the property anyway, taking care of maintenance issues or minor repairs.
Walk through the property and inspect everything before the tenant moves in. This is your opportunity to ensure the home is in excellent move in condition. Take a look at all the appliances, lights, faucets, toilets, doors and windows to make sure everything works the way it should. Inspect your closets, flooring, paint, blinds and any exterior spaces such as yards and patios. While you are inspecting the property, take a lot of pictures and even video so you can document how everything looks. Write up a detailed inspection report that you can present to the tenants when they move in. You will also want to use that inspection report at the time of move out, so you can compare how the property looked at the beginning of the lease and how it looks at the end. Invite your tenants to add any concerns to the inspection report they might find that you did not notice.
When your tenants move out, you will do the same thorough inspection you conducted at the time of move in. Walk through the property and check everything, from window locks to dishwashers to screen doors. Again, take detailed photographs and video that you can compare to the move in pictures. Make a note of anything that is broken, damaged or needs to be repaired. If you need to take money out of the tenant’s security deposit to pay for any damages after move out, you’ll need to explain what you did and why. Your inspection report and corresponding pictures will help document that decision.
You don’t want to interfere with your tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the property, so showing up to inspect the home every month is not a good idea. However, you can do a quick and informal inspection any time you happen to be there. You can also train your vendors to take a look around when they are at the property making repairs. If you have someone at the residence fixing a leaky dishwasher or checking out the HVAC system, you can ask that vendor to report anything that looks strange at the property. Professional property managers have those relationships in place with the vendors they use, and it can really help landlords get an idea of what’s happening at the rental home.
Property inspections are the best way to protect your investment property from tenant damage and also the best way to protect yourself against any claims by the tenant. If you want more information on how to properly conduct inspections, please contact us at Dave Poletti & Associates, and we’d be happy to help you.