The Who, Why, When and How of a Property Inspection

The property inspection process is critical to ensuring the continuing value of any property. So, it's important to understand some of the best practices of property inspections.

Who Conducts a Property Inspection?

Depending on how the property is managed, the property inspection is done by the owner/landlord, property manager or support staff. Some property management firms and landlords use third-party property inspectors for an impartial opinion to lessen any disagreements between the landlord and the tenant.

If you do opt for a third-party property inspector, look for someone with proven credentials. (Most inspectors are members of an inspection organization and many come from a construction or maintenance background and have a solid understanding of building/home systems.) Ask them about their experience, the type of report they provide and how long an inspection takes to perform.

Why Conduct a Property Inspection?

These types of inspections offer a window into the properties’ condition, and provide an ongoing record for accountability purposes into any damages outside of normal wear and tear. Inspections are also a proactive way to help landlords and property management teams budget and plan for major repairs to roofs, garages, HVAC systems, etc.

When Do You Perform an Inspection?

An inspection is performed as due diligence whenever a property management company acquires a new property or before a landlord buys an investment property. However, typically, there are three types of ongoing inspections that most landlords and property managers do. These are:

Move-in Inspections: These are inspections done when the tenant moves into a unit. The inspector walks the tenant through the unit and together they take note of the condition of everything from the carpet to the door locks. The inspector and tenant sign and keep copies of the checklist. This avoids disagreements concerning the return of any security deposit.

The CHMC advises landlords and tenants to:

  • Note previous damage
  • Establish a baseline to evaluate normal wear and tear
  • Decide who is responsible for paying for any potential damages that might occur in the future.

Ongoing Inspections: Most property management firms have an agreement with property owners to do periodic property inspections. These inspections assess if the property is being properly maintained. It also keeps the property owner informed as to the condition of their property.

Move-Out Inspections: The reverse of the move-in inspection, the inspector goes through the unit and once again uses the same checklist to evaluate the condition of the property. Using photos and the checklist it can be compared to the last inspection.

Note: Both the property manager and the tenant should keep a record of any texts or emails discussing repairs or potential issues with the unit during the lease period. The property manager must also give the tenant proper legal notice regarding any inspections. Some landlords periodically perform “drive by” inspections, to ensure the property looks good from the outside.

How Should You Perform an Inspection?

There is no easier or better way to conduct an inspection than to ditch paper and a clipboard and use a property inspection app. Why? Using an inspection app saves time. It can be used 24/7 on any device – phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. This means that a landlord can use their smartphone to methodically go through the standard, best-practices checklist and upload photos or video of anything that needs to be repaired, like a crack in a window.

You can also get real-time agreement. The tenant can digitally sign the document on the spot, and both parties then have a copy as a permanent record.

Property Vista’s mobile inspection tool enables you to conveniently perform all types of inspections using any mobile device. It helps you take better care of your property, with less time and effort. Learn More.