Good property management is more than just making sure tenants pay their rent on time. In addition to the work involved with maintenance, paperwork, advertising, and compliance, a key part of the role of a property manager is continual inspections to ensure that properties are staying in good shape.
Inspections are our best line of defense against property damage. Whether due to tenants’ misuse of a property or maintenance issues that go unnoticed and unchecked, property damage can lead to hefty repair bills—especially when it goes unnoticed for long periods of time.
So what can you do to protect your rental investment? The first line of defense is hiring a responsible and thorough property manager. When hiring a manager, ask them if inspections are included in your contract with them. If they are, how frequently will they be checking the property? If not, do they offer them as an added service, and how much would they cost?
Here at Gregory Property Management, we inspect each and every property twice a year. One inspection takes place around 3 months after placing a tenant, and then we re-inspect every six months after that. This initial 3-month inspection is crucial. It is our best indicator for whether the tenant is taking good care of your property, and it’s our best chance for correcting the course of a tenant who may have gotten off on the wrong foot.
Another key component here is setting proper guidelines and expectations for the tenant at move-in. If you’re looking to hire a property manager, ask them what their move-in process looks like. How rigorously will they document the condition of the property? What information will they relay to the tenant about how to take proper care of the home? A good property manager should be able to answer all these questions for you.
At Gregory Property Management, we make a point of doing our tenant move-ins in-person, rather than just turning over the keys in office after signing paperwork. We meet the tenant at the property, walk them through our expectations of them as a tenant, and document the condition of the property with an average of 280(!) photos. While we don’t count this as one of our 2 yearly inspections, it is a chance for us to thoroughly look over a property and address and maintenance issues that we find. These photos are uploaded to our tenant and owner portal, so they can be referenced at any time by owners or renters. This helps significantly in keeping everyone on the same page by setting the expectation that we WILL be looking closely at the condition of the property when it comes time for further inspections and move-outs. This helps our owners feel confident that tenants will understand they are responsible for any problems that come up during their tenancy, and it helps tenants feel at ease that the condition of the property is documented, so they won’t be saddled with issues they aren’t responsible for.
And last but definitely not least, one of the best ways to make sure your property is protected and well-maintained is proper tenant placement. When interviewing property managers, ask them about their tenant screening process and how it can help to protect your property. Instead of placing problem tenants and dealing with the consequences of their negligence later on, we go to great measures to make sure that we are placing responsible tenants in your property. Rigorous tenant screening up-front is an integral part of property maintenance. By placing responsible tenants that will follow our guidelines, we stand a better chance of being notified in a timely manner when a maintenance issue comes up at the property. Responsible tenants are also much more likely to be comply quickly if we notice any issues during our inspections that we need to ask them to correct.