At first glance, a home may appear flawless, but out-of-sight factors could make a huge difference when it comes to realizing your vision for the property. Sometimes, these defects are uncovered during the initial inspection, but others don’t surface until years down the road.
The good news is that there’s a secret weapon that can prevent scary remediation costs down the line: a rental inspection.
If you’re a landlord, property manager, or prospective home buyer, you should know the difference a rental inspection can make during each stage of your home’s rental cycle.
Most people would never dream of buying a property without getting it inspected, and rightly so! As a home buyer, you want to “get a look under the hood,” so to speak, to make sure that you’re getting what you’re paying for.
Buying a rental property is no different.
Before you close on a property, get a home inspection from a Master Home Inspector to see if there are any issues you will have to take care of down the line.
Whether or not you decide to close on the house that needs a new HVAC unit is up to you. But you should at least know what you’re getting into.
Move-in and move-out inspections are standard protocol among landlords and property managers. But this type of inspection typically only addresses cleanliness and cosmetic issues and doesn’t suffice as a professional rental inspection.
When tenants move out, you’ll want to know if they’re responsible for any damage so you can hold them liable. You’ll also want to know if there are any glaring maintenance issues that (while no one’s fault) need to be fixed before a new family moves in.
Find a home inspector that provides a clear, easy-to-read report so you’ll know what to focus on first. The best inspection reports provide clear images and use layman’s terms so you don’t get confused by industry jargon.
The best time to do a thorough, top-to-bottom rental inspection is while the unit is unoccupied. If the inspector uncovers a serious issue, like a roof that needs to be replaced or mold behind the walls, not having to relocate a tenant will be a major consolation.
Routine Maintenance Inspections
If most of your residents are long-term tenants, it’s all to easy to keep collecting those checks and assume that everything’s going well. But just because the home was in great condition when the Fosters moved in back in 2004 doesn’t mean it’s still in tip-top shape.
A routine inspection of the property provides an ever-shifting baseline of the property’s condition, so you’re aware of any needed repairs.
There are things that even the most savvy of residents would never notice. Prevent some of those 4 am emergency calls by having a professional perform a rental inspection every year.
Your rental agreement should have verbiage outlining the frequency of any inspections, including the right to perform one at any given time in case of immediate concerns.
Just as you would for any visit, notify tenants at least 24 hours in advance so they’re aware of the rental inspection. If the inspector requests that all pets be contained during the inspection, notify the residents of this as well.
Eventually, you may reach the point of wanting to sell your rental property. And once again, this situation will require the services of a home inspector.
Typically, inspections fall on the shoulders of the buyer. But in some cases, the seller may request an inspection as well.
Seller’s inspections can act as a show of good faith, proving to the buyers that you have nothing to hide. While the buyers will probably pay for their own inspection (as they should!), providing one upfront helps to back-up those claims you made in the listing about the recent updates and renovations.
When you make a full disclosure about the condition of the property, you’re letting the buyers know that you aren’t trying to pull the wool over their eyes.
The Importance of a Rental Inspection
Rental inspections are vital for maintaining your property’s longevity and value.
Because you (the homeowner) are not living in the house day-to-day, potential warning signs could go unnoticed by the tenant until they become an emergency (like, “water-pouring-in-through-the-ceiling” emergency).
Getting a thorough, professional rental inspection at regular intervals can catch these issues before they become a big problem.
If you rely on a visual inspection of the residence between tenants, there are key areas of the home that aren’t being checked properly. Regular, professional rental inspections will show you the condition of the property in real-time so you can keep your tenants (and your investment) safe.
If you’d like to schedule your rental inspection, we’d love to help you out. Contact us to learn more about our options.