Investment Property, Rental Property Maintenance, Property Inspections

Renters Warehouse Hampton Roads | February 20, 2020

A Quick Investor's Guide to Property Inspections for Your Hampton Roads Rentals

What do your Hampton Roads investment properties look like these days? If you don't know, it's time for an inspection! 

One of the most valuable things you can do as a landlord is set up (and keep) a schedule of regular property inspections. From weather damage to tenants coming and going, the best way to keep your investment property in excellent condition is to keep a close eye on it—but how often should investors inspect their properties? What kinds of inspections should you do?

Regular inspections help you keep up with the maintenance needs for your properties and ensure they're operating at maximum profitability. Not sure where to start? As an expert property management company in Hampton Roads, we put together a quick guide to property inspections for the busy investor.

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Tenant-Related Inspections Set the Tone

When a new tenant moves in, an inspection helps you you set the tone about the level of care you expect for your Hampton Roads investment properties. When your tenant has given notice and intends to move, you need to visually check the condition of your rental homes before they leave and after they hand over the keys. Checking for damages between the window of the notice and move-out day gives you a chance to document issues that aren't the result of a move.

Moving In

Your tenant is anxious to move in, and you're ready to get them settled—but don't skip the inspection that comes with move-in day! This is your opportunity to walk through the property and document the condition of every room from floor to ceiling.

It's best to perform this inspection before the point where your tenants have brought in their belongings: it's hard for investors to tell what damage was already present and what occurred from the move. A Move-In Inspection paired with a "Move-In Inspection Checklist" should serve as both a review and your chance to document the condition of your Hampton Roads rental, including:

  • Floors, walls, and ceilings
  • Appliances
  • Windows and window coverings
  • Working light switches and fixtures
  • The HVAC system
  • Doors, drawers, and cabinets
  • Faucets and toilets
  • The garage and any outdoor structures
  • The lawn, landscapes, pools, or decks

If your Hampton Roads investment properties go through a "makeready" process to prepare for your new tenants, everything should be in excellent working order. However, it's critical to walk through the home and make a record of the starting condition of the property. It's a good idea to document everything you see with photos and videos rather than relying on a written account.

You and your tenant must agree on the move-in condition of your properties with signatures! This information becomes important when it's time for a tenant to move out.

Moving Out

You hate for good tenants to leave—but when they do, conduct a Move-Out Inspection. Much like your Move-In Inspection, walk through your Hampton Roads investment properties and make notes about the condition of the same items you inspected when tenants first moved in.

After the inspection, you'll need to evaluate the condition of your property.

  • Normal wear-and-tear is expected and acceptable.
  • Never punish your tenants for repairs or replacements that are a result of daily life in your Hampton Roads rental.
  • Small carpet stains, dripping faucets, or scuffed flooring are little things that happen from living in a home.

However, "damage" is a different story:

  • If anything in the property shows damage beyond what's acceptable as normal wear-and-tear, you can use your tenant's security deposit to cover the cost of repairs.
  • Be clear about the damage and make sure your tenant understands it's beyond the scope of acceptable wear-and-tear. 

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Routine, Mid-Lease Inspections Keep Tenants on Their Toes!

Successful investors with Hampton Roads rental properties know that you need to keep an eye on your rental property at other times throughout the year. It's not enough to perform Move-In or Move-Out inspections.

Mid-lease Inspections help investors monitor how well your tenants take care of your properties. These inspections also help you keep up with repairs for small problems. Sometimes tenants don't know that it's critical to report a small issue, like a running toilet or a dripping faucet. Left unattended, a small leak can grow into a big, expensive mess.

There are two main types of mid-lease inspections:

  • The drive-by: Driving by your property to take a look at the condition of your property doesn't involve scheduling time with your tenants. Sometimes, it's a good idea to make an unannounced drive-by inspection to catch the "real-life events" happening at your property. 
  • The scheduled inspection: This allows you to legally enter your property for a more thorough examination while the tenant is home. It's also an opportunity to check in with tenants, ask about any issues, and make sure they're enjoying your property according to the lease agreement. 

Use a scheduled inspection as an opportunity to perform seasonal maintenance, too. Maintaining your rental property is a year-round effort! 

Leave Inspections to a Property Management Company in Hampton Roads!

If you don't live in the area—or you have multiple investment properties—it's tough to keep up with all of these inspections. The good news is you don't have to do them yourself! A trusted property management company in Hampton Roads can handle all inspections for your investment property. 

When you trust the Professional Landlords of Renters Warehouse Hampton Roads, your portfolio is in excellent hands. We understand the importance of keeping your investment in excellent condition! We have a proven process for all of our Move-In, Move-Out, and Mid-Lease Inspections on behalf of our investor-partners.

When you work with Renters Warehouse Hampton Roads, we also make it easy to ensure your tenants start their lease off on the right foot. Take advantage of our FREE Makeready Checklist! You can prep your properties the way the pros do when you download your free copy today!
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