Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management
What to avoid having a rental property sit vacate for months? Inspection by you or someone other than the contractor is the key. As a Clearwater Property Management company, we developed an extremely detailed checklist for this inspection. I highly recommend as a landlord, you have a detailed inspection form that you go through after you complete each “Turn” (repairs needed to make unit ready for marketing).
The first inspection after turn is complete will save you a lot of money in lost rent, because contractors you hire will miss things on their punch-out list or simply do a poor job on certain repairs. Other times, you missed or didn’t notice something when you made the original punch-out list, or something bad happened during the Turn, like a leak or the contractor left trash from supply purchases.
Anything that makes the home look dirty, ill-kept, or has deferred maintenance (depending on severity) can scare the hell out of prospective tenants, even if that tenant is not personally clean and tidy. Every tenant wants the home looking clean and in good repair before he or she moves in. If it is not, the tenant starts thinking, “Man, if the landlord doesn’t make the effort to do repairs now, it’s going to be 10 times worse once I move in!!!”
On our website we call it our “67 Point Ready To Rent Checklist” but actually we are checking over 100 different things. Here are some of the bigger things we look for:
- Is the unit clean?
- Does the AC work?
- Do the appliances work?
- Is their hot water?
- Do the toilets flush properly?
- Are there any bad odors?
- Do we see any roaches or other pests?
- Are there any leaks in toilets or sinks?
- Are closet doors and blinds working?
- Have all the turn repair items been complete?
As I mentioned, there are a lot of other items we check, but you can easily develop your own checklist. The key is to make sure that everything you intended to be fixed and clean have been done. You should then look at the rental with a fresh eye. Is there anything else that needs to be done? If you skip this step, you’ll likely end up losing thousands of dollars in lost rent (over time), and attract a lower quality tenant, who will treat the home badly. This starts a vicious cycle, which usually ends up with the landlord selling the home and washing their hands of rentals altogether. If you develop or borrow someone’s checklist and do the inspections yourself or by someone who isn’t the contractor, you will be well on your way to having a desirable rental that rents fast for “top dollar.”
The challenge with this step is the simple nature of it. It is easy to do and therefore easy NOT to do. As the old saying goes, “the Devil is in the details.” Please make comments below as that really helps us out. Thank you.
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