If you’re a property manager, you already have enough on your plate. You’re running daily operations from A to Z in the rental properties you manage – beginning with finding and screening tenants, to marketing, to leasing and managing rentals, to managing tenant move-out. But you already know that… But did you know that for good property management, you absolutely need a rental inspection checklist?
Rental inspections are an integral part of a property manager’s job. Property inspections are necessary to hold tenants accountable for any damage they inflict upon the property, and can generally help you with the overall management of properties. Checklists can also be used as task sheets to help property managers cover their bases and better manage their properties.
It’s important to mention that a property manager’s rental inspection checklist is different than that of a real estate investor. While an investor will be more preoccupied with the investment property itself, property manager responsibilities are different. In this blog, we’re going to give you a walk through the process of rental property inspection. Here’s what you should do:
Split Your Rental Inspection Checklist Into:
1) A tenant move-out checklist
Depending on where you are in the real estate management process, this can be the first thing you do. Make sure to check the following items off your list for tenant move out:
- Schedule a time with current tenants for inspection.
- Give current tenants a list of expected clean-up to be done before your arrival.
- Make sure to get the current tenant’s new address and contact information in case any problems arise.
- Inspect the condition of the rental property. Compare the state of the property before vs. after the current tenants have resided.
- Run maintenance where needed – you can hire property maintenance services to do this.
- If there are grave destructions to the rental property, make sure to deduct the cost from the current tenant’s security deposit.
2) A marketing checklist
Between tenant move out and move in, you’ve got to do some marketing. If you’re managing Airbnb properties, you can use the platform itself for marketing purposes. If you’re managing traditional rentals, you may use an array of marketing strategies including paid ads, social media marketing, word of mouth marketing, social events, and email marketing.
For both rental strategies, you’ll need the following:
- Professional photos
- Thorough and appealing rental property description
- A social media content plan (photos, videos, gifs, and written content)
- For Airbnb, encourage good Airbnb reviews, and for traditional, encourage good word of mouth WoM.
- A good network.
3) A tenant move-in checklist
If you’re working on this, it means you’ve secured a tenant (or an Airbnb guest). Here’s what you should do next:
- Make sure you have a decent tenant screening process, and that you’ve selected tenants after having done your due diligence.
- Establish property rules. Go over everything in detail and make sure to have the tenants sign a written lease agreement. This will help you avoid future headaches.
- Make sure you get a security deposit.
- Agree on the method(s) of payment, and get the necessary information for required financial transfers.
4) A more “basic” checklist
This rental inspection checklist can resemble an investor’s checklist when buying a rental property. The purpose of this section of the checklist is to help a rental manager evaluate the condition and state of the property before tenant move-in and tenant move-out. This way, you can hold tenants accountable for any damage to rental property. You can hire a professional home inspector, which is often recommended. The checklist includes inspections of both the interior as well as the exterior of the rental property. Here are a few things you should inspect.
The following are examples of things to consider when inspecting the interior of the real estate property:
- Plumbing problems, including leaks and draining
- Floors and carpets
- The walls, ceiling, and paint
- Doors and locks
- Windows and screens
- Alarms, if any exist (such as smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm)
- Built-in items in bathrooms, bedrooms, etc.
- Any other appliances and machines (blender, washing machine, drier, etc.)
- Closets, cabinets, and other furniture such as couches, beds, etc.
- Possible mold or mildew damage, especially in bathrooms
When considering the rental property exterior, bear in mind the following:
- Front or back porch
- Garden, landscape, lawn
- Outside walls and structure
If you’re a residential property manager, we recommend you do this inspection right before move-in, and right after move out. You can print out the checklist, add the above items, and then add a “move-in” column, and “move out” column and write short descriptions next to every checklist item. Sign the checklist, and have the tenant sign it as well.
If you’re managing an Airbnb property, this routine inspection becomes part of the process. But you won’t always have time to run a full thorough inspection. In this case, you may choose to instead run an annual rental property inspection or a routine quarterly rental inspection, depending on your needs.
Property managers need a form of organization, especially if you own or work at a property management company. And rental property inspection checklists can definitely help you get organized. Make sure that everyone on your team has a copy of the checklist to keep your work uniform across all the rental properties you manage. Moreover, always make sure that real estate investors, landlords, tenants, and yourself, are on the same page when it comes to establishing rules and expectations at the rental properties you manage. You can avoid a lot of problems by using the above property manager’s rental inspection checklists.
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