Neglecting periodic inspections can lead to disaster! You can protect yourself and your rental property by conducting routine property inspections. When Dallas “rent my home” property managers conduct regular inspections, it shows tenants that they care about the property, and then tenants are likely to follow suit. These inspections should be arranged with the tenant so everyone has plenty of notice beforehand. When advance notice is provided, many tenants will be happy to go through an inspection as a way to keep their home in good working order.
Specialized Property Management Dallas is a leader among Dallas property management companies. We know that having regular inspections on rental properties can limit the risk and liability for the owner and tenant and save you time and money in the long run. Inspections can be conducted quarterly or semi-annually. Regular property inspections proactively address any problems or issues, keep everyone safe, and keep you in compliance with local, state and federal laws.
Five Reasons Why Property Managers Should Have Regular Property Inspections
- Inspections Ensure Compliance: Tenants tend to “forget” all the rules and regulations they agreed to follow at the time of lease signing. If you’re a landlord who doesn’t want pets in the rental home, then you’ll put that in the contract. When a licensed inspector comes by to check out the property, they can take note if there are any signs of a pet living in the home. They can also check that other rules are being followed such as the proper number of tenants living in the home.
- Dallas “Rent My Home” Inspections Help You Be a Better Landlord: You might have a tenant who is hesitant to call you or email you about a safety problem such as an overgrown tree. However, once you’re there in person, you can show the tenants you care about how they’re doing and they’ll be more likely to tell you about their concerns.
- Inspections Prevent Major Maintenance Issues: A licensed inspector will catch maintenance issues before they become harder to repair and more expensive. Maybe to a tenant, a crack in the bathtub doesn’t look like it’s causing that much damage, but to an inspector, it’s a problem that needs to be remedied immediately. Most tenants are not trained in maintenance, so the only way to protect your property is with a professional inspector.
- Inspections Help Tenants’ Behavior: It’s hard to know that your tenant isn’t cleaning regularly if you never visit the property. Quarterly inspections keep your tenants on their toes and their best behavior. Taking care of the property consistently ensures that your tenants will be more likely to do the same.
- Inspections Ease Communication Overall: You want a tenant who is ready and willing to communicate with you. Your tenant wants a landlord who pays attention to them and keeps the property in great shape. Consistent property inspections ensure better communication between both parties!
Whether you’re using one of the many Dallas property management firms or not, when signing the leasing agreement with your tenant, you have the first opportunity to explain to him or her the importance of having property inspections. Tell them when the inspections are scheduled, and what the tenant can expect from the inspection. Have your tenant sign a document stating that they understand the terms and will comply. Then, when inspection time gets a little closer, give your tenant a friendly reminder about the inspection, so they are not taken off-guard. The more you communicate, the more likely your tenant will be to accommodate property inspections.
Dallas “Rent My Home”: When You Should Conduct a Property Inspection
Most formal inspections are conducted roughly twice a year while informal inspections can take place anywhere from one to two times a year. It’s really up to you how often you want to have property inspections, but here are some suggestions for appropriate times.
Before a tenant moves in, an inspection with both the tenant and Dallas property management company should take place. Careful documentation should be made of anything that needs repair or cleaning before the tenant can move in.
It’s an excellent idea to take interior and exterior pictures of the property at this time. Photo documentation of your rental property can protect you from any potential issues in property management. Photograph all rooms and areas of the house, paying special attention to those parts of the residence where there are already marks or spots. You don’t want to accuse your tenant of damage to the property without proper cause. Any pictures taken during property inspections should be uploaded to the online owner portal as a way of keeping communication transparent.
The home inspector will also note any areas that need attention. This is a good time to make sure that any policies and rental requirements are understood. Eye to eye communication is a good way to ensure that communication is clear. Always document everything that was discussed. Now is also a good time to schedule the next regular inspection.
Seasonal or Safety Inspections (Regularly Scheduled Inspections)
Rental properties need to be maintained from season to season. It is also important to keep your property safe for the tenants. Regularly scheduled inspections can check for things that need to be repaired and regularly maintained. Air conditioning and furnaces should be cleaned and checked for needed repairs before the season they will be used. Gutters and roofs can be checked after winter for spring maintenance. Dallas property owners know that the safety of tenants is important from a legal and financial viewpoint. Inspections can keep properties in good repair.
During these property inspections, you can also verify lease compliance, check for any new damage to the property, and look for maintenance issues that need attention. These inspections should be scheduled regularly and take place at least semi-annually.
Always have a move out inspection with the tenant. This is a good way to help you avoid disputes about damage that has occurred outside of normal wear and tear. Supporting photographs and notes should again be taken and recorded in the home owner’s online portal. Successful Dallas property management firms know that a move-out inspection should have clear policies and expectations for both the tenant and landlord to follow.
When You Happen to Drive By
This is the one inspection that you don’t need to announce to the tenant. A simple drive by the property can tell you if the outside property needs work. Also if you have a no-pet policy, a drive-by inspection can sometimes let you know if there are pet violations. A drive-by is only appropriate when you are inspecting only the outside of the property, not the inside.
What Should be Inspected
Every property management company operates differently, but at Specialized Property Management Dallas, we always take a qualified home inspector with us to get the job done right. While at the home, the inspector ensures lease compliance by inspecting and verifying the following items inside and outside the home:
Plumbing: The inspector should check for any noticeable leaks, be sure all pipes are clean with no issues, and ensure the water heater is working appropriately.
Appliances (including heating and cooling systems): You don’t want your heater to give out in the dead of winter! The inspector should verify that the furnace, air conditioner, and any other major appliances are all functioning.
Floors, Windows, and Walls: Are they all in good working order? The home inspector can ensure there are no loose floorboards or windows that won’t shut tightly.
Light Fixtures: A tenant should be in charge of changing the occasional lightbulb, but if there is some kind of electrical wiring issue, an inspector can check it out and make sure all rooms in the house have adequate lighting.
All smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: It’s better to be safe than sorry. These devices should be inspected to be sure they are working.
Electrical wiring and electrical outlets: In older homes, electrical issues can become a problem. Have your inspector look at any exposed wiring and check all outlets.
Proactive Maintenance: Have the inspector attend to any repairs needed before they become worse and cost more.
Lease Compliance: Verify the number of occupants, number and types of pets on the property, and smoking (if not allowed). While walking through the home during an inspection, be sure to take photos of items needing repair and any new damage to the property. Any issues with compliance can be addressed in writing after the inspection has been completed.
The key to cost-effective maintenance is catching problems when they are small. Leave a small leaky pipe unattended and you could be cleaning up a bigger flooding mess down the road when that pipe finally bursts. Dallas “rent my home” owners can also extend the life of their home’s equipment with regular service, filter changes, and performance checks. The key is to be proactive!
SPM Dallas: The Leader Among Dallas Property Management Firms
Smart Dallas property owners include regular inspections as part of the lease and keep up with them throughout the year. You can protect your investment from damage with routine property inspections, keep your tenants happy, and encourage tenants to stay longer by conducting these inspections. At Specialized Property Management Dallas, we know it’s not always easy to keep up with all the different aspects of property management. That’s why we’re here to help you!
To find out more about our comprehensive property management services, contact your Specialized Property Management Dallas team today at 214-233-7572 and put our team, experience, and ethics to work for you.