As a rental property owner or property manager, regularly documenting the condition of your rental properties is critical in protecting that investment. But what’s the difference between an inspection and a periodic walkthrough? And how often are you supposed to check on your properties? And how thorough?
We’ll answer all those questions and more! Let’s start with some terminology and then we’ll get into the cadence of property walkthroughs and inspections.
Property inspection vs property walkthrough (and what are condition reports?)
A rental property inspection “gives you an idea of the current condition of the property along with any repairs that may need to be done now or in the future,” according to Roofstock.
A rental property walkthrough is similar but typically refers to an inspection that involves the tenant and happens when they move in or out of the rental. Usually a checklist will be used, along with photos and videos to properly record the current condition of the rental property. The tenant will then sign off on the move-in checklist, and it will be used to differentiate normal wear and tear from damages that may be able to come out of the security deposit at the end of the tenant’s lease.
A condition report refers to the actual documentation that is collected from doing property walkthroughs. Read more about the importance of condition reports.
How often should you document the condition of a rental property?
Ideally, you (or a vendor or someone on your team) will document the condition of your rental properties every 6 months. When the property is occupied, it’s good practice to conduct a mid-tenancy inspection to make sure your tenants aren’t breaking any lease terms and to check on any outstanding maintenance issues.
If your state doesn’t require mid-tenancy inspections or you’re not interested in inspecting an occupied property, you should complete a rental property inspection at least once a year and in-between tenants.
Conducting property inspections more than once every six months would potentially be bothersome to tenants and probably isn’t worth the hassle.
What are the benefits of regularly checking the condition of a rental property?
There are several benefits when it comes to regularly inspecting and documenting the condition of your rental properties.
First, your owners want to know their investment is being taken care of! Regular condition updates will give them peace of mind and help them feel confident in choosing your property management services.
Second, maintenance issues are typically easier and cheaper to fix when known about sooner. Maintenance issues that get put off because the tenants don’t mention it can easily become bigger issues if not taken care of as soon as they arise.
Lastly, your tenants may appreciate regular rental property inspections as it shows them that you care about making where they live as nice, safe, and livable as possible.
What if you don't have the time or staff to handle rental inspections?
Many property managers feel as though they don't have the time, staff, or resources to manage rental inspections twice a year. Fear not - there are options!
- Did you know you can outsource things like condition reports? Companies like Showdigs and Onsight Pros have trained professionals to inspect your rental properties for you!
- Some property management companies are opting to have tenants do inspections for mid-tenancy and/or move-in. While this can seem easier (and safer in regards to the pandemic and not entering occupied properties), you would be relying on the tenant's word which may put the property at risk and leave you vulnerable to safety deposit disputes.
- You can always just start with annual inspections and find time to do them yourself, then consider doing them twice a year when it's feasible.
Want to stay up-to-date with your condition reports?
Showdigs has a network of licensed real estate agents who can complete mid-tenancy and move-in/move-out inspections for you, on-demand — click here to learn more!