Move-in/move-out inspections are a standard part of the process whenever a rental property changes tenants.
As the property owner, you want to make sure the apartment, house, or condo is in good condition for the next family, and a move-out inspection is the best way to ensure that. Or—in a worst case scenario—the move-out inspection can help you decide which repairs the vacating tenant is responsible for.
Who’s Performing Your Move-In/Move-Out Inspection?
Most move-in/move-out inspections are performed by the landlord, property manager, or a maintenance professional. In these cases, the “inspection” is merely a checklist of the cosmetic condition of various parts of the domicile.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Look Below the Surface
To begin with, your rental home, condo community, or apartment complex is made up of a lot more than just individual apartments and there is a lot more you should be looking for than chipped paint or carpet stains. A traditional move-out inspection only looks at the surface, when deeper problems could be lurking underneath.
Maybe that crack in the wall is a sign of a sinking foundation. Perhaps an otherwise pristine apartment is at risk for severe water intrusion during the next big storm. A professional inspection could uncover these and other potentially costly issues.
Get the Whole Picture
A handwritten checklist might be easier on the person performing the inspection, but it doesn’t help you shed light on the building’s condition.
A professional inspection report with concise, understandable language and clear images does a much better job at accurately depicting the current condition of the house.
Rather than waiting for a serious issue to arise while the home or apartment is occupied, you can gain valuable information on what needs to be repaired at the perfect time. Take care of the maintenance and upgrades while the home is unoccupied so it will be spruced up and ready for the next family.
Why Hire a Professional Inspector
If you’ve always had the property manager or maintenance team do your move-in/move-out inspections, why bother hiring a professional home inspector? Is it really worth the extra cost?
Let’s look at the facts.
Look at the Whole Structure
Your property manager always notices when a stove burner isn’t working or there are broken tiles in the bathroom. But would they notice a mold problem?
Professional home inspectors have to undergo rigorous training and testing to receive their certification. In addition to the cosmetic checklist you provide, they also know how to check for structural damage, electrical system malfunctions, termite infestations, and anything else that could pose a hazard to your other tenants.
A building inspection is only as good as the written report. If it’s too difficult to read, it can’t be of any use to you. (And it should never come in three or four separate emails or with blurry images.)
A professional inspection report should be clear, concise, and use layman’s terms so you don’t have to Google anything. It should include clear images of the items listed. It should have consistent formatting so you can compare the move-in and move-out inspections side-by-side.
Better Tenant Relationships
Your tenants will sleep easy in their new home with the knowledge that a professional inspector looked it over first. No surprises. No unexpected renovations. No disgruntled residents.
And when you need to keep a tenant’s security deposit, having a professional report from a neutral third-party gives you a leg to stand on so you can get reimbursed properly.
Don’t Settle For Less
Doing your own move-in/move-out inspection might be quick, cheap, and convenient, but it’s just not effective.
Without an expert building inspector, you could be missing serious issues that could threaten the safety of your residents (not to mention cost you thousands of dollars in repairs).
DIY move-out inspections aren’t worth the money you think you’re saving. Use a professional home inspector for your move-in/move-out inspections and get the whole picture on your building’s condition.