Regular inspections are critical to ensuring the value of your properties. Quite simply, they prevent little problems from escalating into big problems. And, knowing what things need more attention is vital to predictive maintenance budgets as well as planning for renovations or upgrades – not to mention keeping tenants happy with the condition of the property as well!
Types of Inspections
Inspections play a key role whenever a property management company acquires a new property as part of the due diligence process. However, typically, there are three types of ongoing inspections that most landlords and property managers do. These are:
- Move-in Inspections. Performed when the tenant moves into a unit, usually the inspector and tenant do a walk-through together, taking note of the condition of things like carpets and walls. However, with the pandemic, often the property manager completes the inspection alone and sends it to the tenant for sign-off.
- Ongoing, Routine Inspections. Property management firms perform routine inspections to assess the property’s condition and ensure the safety and security of its residents. These inspections keep the building to code and safeguard owner value.
- Move-Out Inspections. The opposite 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.
6 Best Practices for Inspections
When conducting an inspection follow some simple, best practice guidelines that ensure a standardized approach.
1. Social Distancing and Masks
In order to keep tenants safe and prevent the spread of germs, the inspector must wear a mask and gloves. If the tenant is present, they should also wear a mask and respect social distancing protocols.
2. Educate Tenants
During the leasing process, educate the tenant about routine property inspections and how they help to continually maintain and improve the premises. Stress that it’s to their advantage that building’s heating systems and units remain in good condition. During the move-in inspection, point out that you will be inspecting the unit again in six months to a year’s time.
3. Give Proper Notice
While local laws may vary, generally speaking you must provide 24-hours’ notice, the visit must occur during reasonable hours and last a reasonable amount of time. When you give notice, include the date, time and reason for the inspection. The only time you do not have to give proper notice is in the event of an emergency or if the tenant invites you to enter the premises with little or no notice.
4. Be Consistent
You must apply the inspections the same way to all residents. Any successful property firm needs best-practices procedures that are uniform. Inspection software helps PM firms achieve consistent, company-wide processes. For instance, during new tenant walk-throughs, by using inspection software, property managers can systematically go through a digital checklist and even attach photos to each inspection.
5. Ask Your Tenant to Be There
Encourage your renter to be present during the inspection for complete transparency. It helps to assure them that you are there to review the various systems of the building and if there are small repairs you’d like to make you can talk to the immediately.
6. Protect the Resident’s Privacy
Be vigilant when taking photographs of any items that need repair to avoid including any identifiable personal belongings, pictures, pets or people in the photo.
Using Tech to Improve the Inspection Process
When property managers embrace technology like mobile inspection apps, they improve the inspection process in five key ways:
1. No Paper, Higher Efficiency
A web-based solution allows you to gather information digitally by uploading photos and descriptions of any needed repairs as well as capturing digital signatures from inspectors or tenants. Digitalizing all inspections and repairs means that no paperwork is misfiled and makes the inspection process more productive.
2. Anywhere, Anytime Access
Your property professionals and inspection teams can access information, anytime and anywhere. They can create work orders and POs as well as generate reports on the spot.
3. Consistent, Regular Inspections
Not only does a mobile inspection app help you during inspections, it’s also a great scheduling tool. Your people can set reminders for inspections and regular maintenance, to ensure nothing gets forgotten or falls through the cracks.
4. Everything at Your Fingertips
Mobile inspection apps offer more than just convenience. By centralizing all inspections and repairs in one digital storage location, it’s a snap to compare a unit’s move out condition with its move in condition, and it greatly reduces the likelihood that a tenant will dispute the condition of their unit.
5. A More Seamless, Optimized Process
With the ability to automate inspection reminders, you can streamline your processes and save significant time. As well, because the forms in a mobile inspection app are digital, the information is quickly gathered and transferred to other systems and modules in your property management software. This helps to sidestep tedious, time-consuming manual re-entry work that can lead to mistakes and errors.
How Property Vista Helps
Property Vista’s rental property inspection tool enables you to quickly and conveniently assess units on any mobile device. With our app, you can conduct fully customized inspections for preventative maintenance, fire, safety, maintenance requests and due diligence. Get automatic reminders, and submit work orders on the spot, without the hassle of paperwork and manual follow-up.