One of the best ways to ensure your investment remains secure when renting your investment property is to conduct thorough property inspections. A quick once-over may lead you to miss essential problems with your Orlando property, which can leave you footing the bill or cause conflicts with your tenants. Instead, follow this guide to excellent property inspections, and help you and your tenant stay on the same page!
When you first purchase an investment property, you most likely have done a thorough inspection to determine that the property is a good investment. You have a good idea of what elements of the property need repair or replacement. You would be wise to document what items might need replacing in the coming years: how old, for instance, are any air conditioners or furnaces in the property? Knowing when these expenses are likely to hit can help you budget for them.
The first time a tenant moves into your property isn't likely to be the most thorough of inspections, because you've been considering this property so thoroughly already. However, it is excellent to walk through the property, documenting anything of concern with the tenant. The tenant is less familiar with the place than you are. They could become frustrated down the road if they think that a problem had cropped up during their stay when you already intended to fix it. The property inspection, in this case, is a chance to level with the tenant. You can make it clear that you are aware of any issues and working to repair or replace things throughout their stay. It's a chance to show your integrity as well as get photographs and in-writing agreements.
The photographs become important. If later on you say a significant stain happened during the tenant's time in the property, and they say it didn't, it's much better to be able to supply the photographs to prove your case. Add the date on these pictures—many cameras have this feature, and your computer will also log the time of upload.
With each successive tenant move-in, you'll want to make sure that no surprises have cropped up between the last move-out and the new move-in. This inspection becomes a necessary verification that any painting, cleaning, or other maintenance that has been done was done adequately. This keeps you well aware of any problems so that you don't blame the tenant for things outside their control—or receive undue blame yourself.
Move-out inspections are just as crucial as their earlier counterpart. This process is your opportunity to see the "after" of the "before and after." It also helps you show the tenant what—if anything—will be taken out of their security deposit. In some cases, if you suspect damages, it may be wise to do a pre-inspection before the tenant has completely moved out. This allows them to clean more thoroughly or fix simple problems that don't require skilled professionals. If they choose not to make the changes, that gives them plenty of warning that their security deposit will be garnished. Remember that you must give adequate notice before entering a property that is occupied, according to Florida law.
If you believe the repairs will cost more than the security deposit, attempt to resolve that as quickly as possible. Once a tenant moves out, getting payment for damages can be much more difficult, so try to settle up any results from the move-out inspection as quickly as possible. A good way to do this is to have go-to maintenance and repair professionals that can quickly get you a solid estimate.
Be aware that "normal wear and tear" is not something you should deduct from the security deposit. The expectation is that a building will not magically remain brand new when it has had people living in it for another year or more. Things like:
- Small discoloration on the carpet
- Fading of walls or flooring due to light exposure
- Worn fixtures or grout in the bathroom
- Occasional scrapes or stains
Are all examples of things that happen occasionally. Charging for such wear could create more problems than it's worth.
Property Managers: Your Property Inspection Solution
Many landlords find the property inspection process to be time-consuming. However, the resulting information is very helpful in maintaining positive tenant relationships and getting the needed payments for any damage. Working with a high-quality property management company can allow you to get all the benefits of thorough property inspections without having to do them yourself.
When you fear that there may be significant damages, work with Verandah Properties, your expert property manager. We not only perform thorough inspections, but we also offer coverage for the unthinkable. Our Landlord Protection Insurance covers our owner-partners in Orlando, Clermont, and other nearby Central Florida locations. This coverage provides protection where you need it most, including malicious damage and even eviction costs.
Before you worry too much about new damages, you need to make sure your property is prepared for new tenants! Check out our free Make-Ready Checklist. Let's work together to make property inspections easier than ever!