Why Periodic Property Inspections Are Still Crucial
Every landlord is different when it comes to their hands-on involvement in their investment properties. Some California landlords hire Murrieta property management companies, (or other property managers in their area) to take care of their investments for them, while others try to handle all of the aspects of owning a rental home on their own. Some landlords fall somewhere in between; they hire a property management company but still like to be involved in the most important aspects of the business.
Regardless of where you fall, one thing is still true: someone needs to be performing periodic property inspections.
What is a periodic property inspection?
Periodic property inspections are exactly what they sound like: an inspection of a property for damages or issues separate from the traditional move-in/out inspections. The purpose of a periodic property inspection is to keep an eye on the property, perform preventative maintenance, and make sure the property is being properly managed and taken care of.
What does a periodic property inspection entail?
Just like a move in/ move out inspection, there is a focus and a goal for a periodic property inspection. The things you’ll be looking for during this kind of inspection will vary by season, the specifics of your property, and your tenants. During one of these regular inspections, you’ll be looking at:
- The front yard- is it looking green and healthy? Are there dry patches or areas that need attention?
- Exterior of the home- Are the front windows and doors in good condition? What is the condition of the roof? What about the exterior paint, the siding, and the gutters?
- The interior of the home- How are the floors, appliances, and walls? Are the blinds and window awnings in good condition? Are there scratches or dents on the walls? Is the AC running properly? What about the electrical fixtures and lights?
These inspections do not have to be as detailed or thorough as a move in/move out inspection, but should give you a clear picture of the overall condition of the home. These inspections should also occur after a big storm to access for roof damage or leaks. If your property is located in an area that sees harsh winters or summers, a periodic property inspection should occur regularly during these seasons to ensure the home is safe.
Why are they important?
Preventive maintenance is key in keeping home maintenance costs low and tenant satisfaction high. If you wait until a tenant calls to report a problem, chances are it will cost you a lot more to fix than if you would have caught it early. Periodic property inspections are still important for modern landlords because they allow you to stay on top of regular home maintenance and repairs. If you are working with a Murrieta property management company (or another property management company in your area) they should be conducting these inspections on your behalf. Ask for reports and findings after these inspections so you are always in the loop in regards to the condition of the home.
Periodic property inspections allow you to address tenant issues before they become bigger problems. If you notice there has been smoking in a no-smoking rental, you can address this with the tenant and allow them to change the behavior. A periodic property inspection will also give you the chance to discuss questions or problems your tenants may have, talk about changes or upcoming upgrades, and discuss changes to the lease agreement. These inspections not only allow you to stay connected with the property but also to stay connected with the tenants.
How to conduct a periodic property inspection
If you’re conducting routine property inspections on your own, there are a few things to consider so that these inspections are handled correctly:
- Give yourself enough time– if you’re going to rush through the inspection, you may as well skip it. Schedule time in your day for the inspection and give yourself at least an hour to complete it. Take notes and pictures to have for your files.
- Take the right photos- It’s ok to take pictures of issues or damages, but be careful not to take pictures of their personal belongings or private spaces. There is a fine line between inspecting and invading their privacy, so be careful and respectful.
- Give proper notice- Tenants don’t appreciate it when you show up unannounced, especially if you are planning to walk around and inspect their home. Give them a call and give them a few options for days/times that work for them. Be flexible and do your best to schedule this inspection when it is convenient for the tenant
- Encourage them to stay- A property inspection works best when the tenant is present. This allows you to engage in productive dialogue about the inspection, ask questions, and address issues they may have. If they’re there, it’s easier to agree on the status of the home and make a clear plan about who is responsible for taking care of what.
If you’re working with a professional property manager, they should take care of these details for you.
Inspections During Covid
Covid-19 has changed the way landlords, property managers, and real estate professionals do business. In a time where social distancing is highly encouraged, property inspections may look a little different than they did in the past. If you have to go into a property, wear personal protective equipment, make sure to sanitize your hands, and limit the surfaces and objects that you touch. Try to maintain six feet of space between tenants, and limit your time inside. Check out our “Landlord’s Pandemic Safety Checklist” for more tips on navigating inspections during a pandemic.
Even during these challenging times, periodic property inspections are still crucial to landlords and their tenants. Some real estate professionals have figured out how to hold virtual property inspections. Eliminating the need to visit the property at all.
The Next Step
Own an investment property in California? You need a local property management company that can take care of everything from tenant screening and rent collection. Not to mention periodic property inspections and regular maintenance. Hiring a property management company that you trust can help save time and money, and ensure there is always an extra set of eyes and ears on your investment. Get connected with Benefit National today!