Here’s the Deal
We’ve been doing this for a long, long time.
With each passing month, we tend to hear the same stories from property owners who are reaching out to us, gently prodding to get a feel for our services, and fees. Whether we’re on the phone, chatting on the web, or even meeting in person, property inspections for rentals is almost always a guaranteed gripe when it comes to investment property management.
What are Property Inspections for Rentals?
Don’t confuse a sales property inspection with a rental inspection. When a property is going under contract during a sale, it’s customary to have a professional inspector come out and inspect the house from the shingles to the concrete slab. They look for every nitty gritty detail to make sure the house is sound, and currently up to code.
When talking about rentals, the type of inspections we do are incredibly important. They’ve proven to almost completely mitigate security deposit disputes, and have allowed us to never lose a security deposit claim in court. The main purpose of inspections for rentals is simply to check for the condition of the property when a tenant moves in, versus when they move out.
When do you do the Inspections?
The first one we conduct is before a tenant moves in, and it’s referred to as a move in inspection. This gives us a clear picture of what the property looks like before the tenant takes possession of the property, so it gives us a baseline of the condition for when they move out. The inspection is a multi-page detailed document that we accompany with a plethora of pictures. Adding pictures and sending them along with the report is a key feature of a proper inspection. Sometimes, just writing on paper doesn’t tell the whole story, but hey, a picture is worth a thousand words.
The second inspection is done at about 9 months into the lease. This gives us a general idea of the property’s condition, and really shows us how the tenant is treating the place. If it’s well maintained, we give the thumbs up for a renewal, and of course, the opposite is true. This is a crucial step in the process considering renewing a tenant without knowing how they’re treating the property would be risky. This is a single page report that gives the inspector general guidelines to follow, and of course, is accompanied with pictures.
The last inspection is the move out inspection once the tenant vacates. This is the same type of report used for the move in inspection, so we have an apples to apples comparison. This report is used side by side with the move in report so we can properly deduct any damages that were caused by the tenants. We determine general wear vs. wrongful damage, and charge accordingly and fairly.
Who does the Inspections?
This is an important part of the process. Sending someone to your home to do an inspection who grooms dogs for a living probably won’t be the best at determining repairs for your investment. That’s why having a handpicked team of inspectors with contracting background, or ex home inspectors, is a sure way you have someone who really knows what they’re doing working for you. Having a proper background and using a detailed report, and good camera, are all small details in making sure you get the best service possible.
Don’t Be Fooled
Sadly, this is one of the easiest places for professional management companies to skimp out. It would be nearly impossible for a landlord to have a successful rental experience if proper inspections aren’t done, and you’ll find yourself going to courtfor security deposit disputes. When selecting a property management company, be sure to ask how inspections are handled!