Rental property inspections are an important tool in protecting the condition of your investment home and ensuring you aren’t surprised by any expensive repairs. When you’re renting out a home in Austin or the surrounding areas, we recommend you inspect at least three times throughout the leasing period; once at the beginning of the lease, once after the tenant has moved out, and once during the course of the tenancy.
There may be reasons to inspect more frequently. If you have a reason to believe your tenant isn’t taking care of the property, or you see something suspicious while driving by the property, you might want to schedule an extra inspection. Otherwise, you want to balance your need to protect your investment against your tenant’s right to privacy and a quiet living environment free from disruptions.
Move-In Inspections: Document the Condition of Your Austin Rental Property
The move-in inspection is critical for two reasons. First, it allows you to check for any necessary repairs or maintenance concerns before your tenant moves into the home. Second, it allows you to effectively document the condition of your home before the resident takes possession. This will be essential after the tenant moves out, when you’re conducting a new inspection and trying to determine whether the entire security deposit will be returned.
During the move-in inspection, make careful notes and take a lot of pictures. Be as detailed as you can. There should be photos of walls, doors, ceilings, and floors. Photograph the outside and inside of every appliance as well as the windows and the outside space. You want an accurate and complete picture of what you’re handing over to your tenants. It should show a clean, well-maintained home, and you’ll expect it to be returned in the same condition.
Move-Out Inspections: Comparing Your Inspection Report to the Move-In Report
After a tenant has moved out, you need to get inside the property quickly to assess any damage. Do a thorough inspection with the same detail as the move-in inspection. Make notes and take pictures. Decide which issues are your responsibility and which are going to be charged to the tenant. Property owners are responsible for normal wear and tear. You’ll have to pay for any minor and general issues that would occur while anyone was living in the property. Nail holes in the walls, for example or scuff marks from where furniture rested are both examples of wear and tear.
Damage needs to be well-documented. Make sure you can clearly see that something has happened due to the tenant’s abuse or neglect. It could have been accidental, but you still have to hold the tenant accountable.
After this inspection is complete, schedule all of your maintenance so you can get the property ready for a new renter, and return the security deposit to the tenant with an itemized list of any deductions you made.
Rental Property Inspection on Occupied Homes
The inspection you conduct during the course of the tenancy should not be a surprise to your tenants. Let them know before they move in that you’ll want to get inside the property once a year, and put this in your lease agreement. Give them plenty of notice, and let them decide whether they want to be present or not.
During this inspection, you’re looking for deferred or unreported maintenance issues. You’re also looking for indications that your tenants are taking good care of the home. Any potential lease violations should be noted. If you don’t allow smoking, for example, but there are ashtrays throughout the house, you’ll have to address that.
These are the three most important rental property inspections. If you have any questions about inspecting your home or anything pertaining to Austin property management, we invite you to contact us at AustinVestors.