Walk-through inspections are an important part of renting out an investment home, and you should make a point of doing them consistently. As a property owner, you turn over your sparkling clean, perfectly maintained property that doesn’t have any issues or problems to the tenant who happens to be moving in. There are things you need to do to protect yourself and to make sure you get the property back in the same condition that it was delivered to your tenant.
Conducting a Walk-Through Inspection
The best way to protect the condition of your property and to show your tenants how seriously you take its maintenance is by doing a thorough and comprehensive walk-through inspection. This is especially important at the beginning of the lease period, so you can document the condition of the home before the tenant takes over. Then, you’ll do a similar walk-through inspection with the same documentation at the end of the lease period, when the tenant is preparing to move out or has already moved out. You will compare the way the property looked at the beginning of the lease to the way it looks at the end of the lease.
Back in the day, it was standard practice for leasing agents and property managers to use a move-in inspection form that simply required boxes to be checked off as inspected. A property manager or a landlord might identify something as being “good” or “okay” or “needs work.” That approach may work fine, but today, a little extra detail can go a long way in protecting the condition of your home and keeping your tenants accountable.
Detailed Inspection Notes and Photographs
The purpose of your walk-through is to really understand and document the condition of every surface in every room. This includes floors, walls, ceilings, sinks, tubs, counters, and appliances. If there are any pre-existing conditions or things that aren’t in good shape, take a picture and include it in your report. Have your tenants sign off on that note and your entire report when they take possession of the property. This will serve as your agreement or acknowledgement of the property’s condition.
Make the Walk-Through Matter (don’t rush it)
A thorough walk-through can take two or three hours depending on the size of the rental home. A larger home will take anywhere from three and a half to four hours inside the property. You need to invest some time taking pictures and making sure that each room is documented.
At Foundation Homes, we offer this walk-through with our property management services, so it comes to our owners without an extra charge. But, if you are a homeowner looking to protect yourself while managing your own property, make sure that the home’s condition is thoroughly documented for the tenant. Then, you have something to compare.
We can handle all of your Marin property management needs. If you have any questions or you’d like to talk further about our professional services, please contact us at Foundation Homes International.