Most owners know that move-in and move-out inspections are essential for documenting the condition of their investment property. However, by conducting at least one annual assessment while the tenant is in place, you’re taking an extra step to protect the value of your home, enforce your lease agreement, and look for unreported or deferred maintenance items.
In all of our years managing Columbus rental properties, we’ve never had a problem get easier or cheaper with time. We like to take care of maintenance issues right away. It’s the best way to reduce the risk that an emergency repair will be needed, and it keeps your long term maintenance costs down.
During our annual assessments, we have a checklist that focuses on five specific things.
Maintenance and Repair Needs
Water is usually the problem that causes the most damage in a rental property, so we check under every sink for drips and leaks, and we look at the roof and the gutters to make sure there isn’t an obvious entry point for water. We also go into the bathrooms and step hard on either side of the toilet. If it’s soft, we know that the wax ring in the toilet may have deteriorated and there’s water under the floor. We inspect the caulking in tubs. We check downspouts and basements. We look for soft or discolored spots on walls and ceilings.
This annual assessment is also used to look for safety and habitability maintenance issues. We make sure furnace filters are replaced and we check the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Inspecting and servicing these items will provide a longer lifespan for those systems. We’ll let our owners know how much longer the furnace has before it needs to be replaced and we regularly maintain air conditioning units to keep them operating efficiently and effectively. Spending $400 on HVAC maintenance is a lot more cost effective than paying $6,000 for a new system.
Follow-Up on Open Work Orders
During this annual inspection, we also take a look at any areas that have had maintenance reported.
If the garbage disposal keeps breaking and we’ve had vendors out, we take a look at how it’s performing. We check the work that’s been done recently and we make sure the tenant is not having any further problems.
Everyone has a different standard of cleanliness, and we don’t go into your rental property to scold tenants on how well they’ve organized their space. But we do look for issues that may lead to deterioration or pests. We expect not to see trash all over the house, and we don’t want a collection of tires or trash in the front yard.
If there’s any property damage, we want to address it right away.
General wear and tear is expected; it’s going to happen no matter who is living in the property. However, large holes in the walls, scratches on the floors, and broken appliances are issues that we’ll hold the tenants accountable for repairing. Anything that’s due to abuse, misuse, or neglect will be put in writing and well-documented.
Another great reason for this inspection is that it allows our owners to determine whether they want to renew the lease for another year with these tenants. If we find lease violations such as unauthorized pets or additional people living in the home who have not been screened and added to the lease, we ask the tenants to come into compliance immediately.
We also ask our vendors and contractors to keep an eye on things when they’re inside the home making repairs. If they see a Pit Bull running around, we want to know about it.
Most of our owners request biannual inspections, and we do this as a way to protect your Columbus investment property. We’d be happy to tell you more about our process and our results. Contact us at Solutions for Real Estate for all your Columbus property management needs.