Have You Inspected Your Rental Since Tenants Moved In? [Seattle Property Management Tips]
If you're renting your home out (or you have several Seattle rental properties), then chances are that move-in day is one of the most important days in terms of ensuring that all systems are "go." However, landlords mustn't forget to inspect the property again after tenants have moved in!
You might be surprised at what can change from when you last saw it and now. Today our Seattle property management team will highlight why rental property inspections are necessary for landlords and why skipping inspections can be a mistake.
When Was the Last Inspection?
Move-in day shouldn’t be the last time you laid eyes on your property during a tenant’s lease term. However, finding time (and having the experience) to conduct meaningful inspections can be challenging when you’re a DIY landlord.
Can you remember the last time you laid eyes on your rental? If not, your property is overdue for an inspection—and you might need to prepare yourself for some troubling conditions during the walk-through.
Why Are Routine Inspections Important?
Skipping routine property inspections can be a costly mistake! Inspections help landlords keep an eye out for potential maintenance problems and hold tenants accountable for following the lease rules.
An inspection can help to uncover unforeseen damage. If you neglect regular inspections and maintenance tasks (or you’re renting your Seattle property to a tenant who isn't detail-oriented), not taking the time to inspect rentals can lead to late-night emergency calls when something breaks. Preventing significant repairs by spotting potential problems early helps real estate investors reduce maintenance costs and maximize returns.
How Should Landlords Conduct A Rental Property Inspection?
Before the inspection, make sure that you give residents plenty of notice that you'll be on the property for a walk-through. Landlords must provide notice at least 24-hours in advance to follow landlord-tenant laws.
Try to schedule inspections during routine business hours to pose less of an inconvenience to tenants by interrupting their evenings or weekends. If residents are home, you also have the opportunity to talk with them about any issues they've noticed or address areas where they've failed to uphold their responsibilities outlined in the lease agreement.
When conducting a walkthrough of the interior and exterior of a real estate investment property:
- Open every door and closet
- Check drawers and cabinets
- Test locks on windows, doors, and fences
- Look for water damage on floors and ceilings and underneath sinks
- Test appliances
Use the opportunity to review every aspect of the rental property to make sure everything is in working order. If you see potential problems, talk with your tenant and schedule maintenance or repairs right away to prevent more costly damage.
When Should a Landlord Inspect?
How often and when should landlords inspect a rental? While it's essential to keep an eye on your properties, it's also critical not to annoy a tenant by checking in too often.
An excellent inspection policy includes a Move-In inspection, mid-lease review at least once during the lease term, and a Move-out inspection.
During the Move-In Inspection
Make sure the rental is in pristine condition before your tenant moves in. Document the post-make-ready condition of the property, then save that checklist to compare to the move-out condition of the rental at the end of the lease term.
During the Mid-Lease Property Review
Property managers recommend using this time to check that tenants are following the rules and note anything that isn't in good working order. The mid-lease inspection is also an excellent opportunity to look for evidence of pets if you don't allow animals in the residence. Property owners can also make sure there are not more residents living in the property than are listed on the lease agreement.
During the Move-Out Walkthrough
End-of-lease walkthroughs are your opportunity to document how well renters cared for your property during their lease term. For example, if you notice broken items that won't qualify as normal wear-and-tear, document these issues and let your outgoing residents know that you'll deduct repair costs from the security deposit.
Make Time (or Get Property Management Help)
Not having the time to conduct these inspections can lead to significant maintenance issues, lease violations, costly repairs, and lost revenue! However, managing multiple rentals as a DIY landlord can be time-consuming and challenging to handle every task.
Don't skip rental property inspections if finding time is a problem! The right professional Seattle property management company can handle rental inspections for landlords—even if that's the only task you need help with.
Get Expert Property Management Help With Rental Inspections
You might think you can get away with not inspecting your rental property—and maybe you have for a while! However, the truth is that neglecting routine maintenance will lead to costly repairs and lost revenue. If you want a hassle-free solution for managing your properties without having to do it yourself, RentWatch’s team of industry experts is waiting and ready to help! Our property management services include full inspections (depending on your needs). Whether you need a little help (or a lot), reach out, and let's talk.
What does it cost to hire a full-service property manager vs. a solution that delivers the specific services you need? Get our free calculator, "The Hidden Cost of Seattle Property Management."