Property inspections are an important part of protecting the condition of your investment home, whether it’s located in Windsor, Healdsburg, Geyserville, or Cloverdale. Neglecting them will only increase the risk of having to make expensive repairs, especially during turnover periods.
It’s important to balance the need to inspect your property with the need to provide your tenants with privacy and the quiet enjoyment of their home and illegal for you to simply show up and demand entry. You don’t need to conduct monthly inspections. But, you want to do a thorough inspection before and after the tenancy and if possible, at least once while the residents are in place.
Move-In and Move-Out Inspections
Good inspection practices start with the move-in inspection. You need a well-documented record of your property’s condition before tenants take possession. Conduct a thorough inspection, with two important things in mind.
First, you want to make sure there aren’t any last-minute repairs or cleaning that needs to be done to make the property move-in ready. Ten-year smoke detectors should be in each bedroom and Carbon Monoxide detector in the hallway outside the bedroom. A smoke detector and CO detector should also be in the living room/family room area. When you deliver a clean and well-maintained home, you can expect to get one back.
Second, you want to thoroughly and accurately document the condition of the property before you hand over the keys to new tenants. Take pictures of everything so you can compare the condition at move-in to the condition at move-out. We recommend once you’ve completed your process, copy and let the new resident/tenant complete their own walk-through. This eliminates, “it was like that when we moved in.”
The move-out inspection occurs when the lease period is over, and you’re looking for evidence of tenant damage. While normal wear and tear is expected and allowed, the pictures you took and the notes you made will help you determine whether anything should be deducted from the security deposit.
Walk-Through Maintenance Inspections
After your tenant has been in place for a few months, schedule a time to visit the property for a maintenance inspection. California landlord and tenant laws require you to have a reason for entering the property, and you’ll have to provide plenty of written notice in advance.
If you include this maintenance walk-through expectation in your lease agreement and tell tenants that you plan to check for maintenance issues and general upkeep, they shouldn’t mind. When you’re at the property, take some pictures and look around for any unreported or deferred maintenance issues. You’ll also want to look for lease violations. If you have a strict no-pet policy and you see cat beds all over the house, you might have to discuss it with your tenant.
Look for potential problem spots. Check under the sinks for moisture and make sure there aren’t any tree branches obstructing the windows or dropping debris onto the roof. You want to be sure the appliances are working and your tenant is changing light bulbs, air filters, and keeping the property clean and free of pests and problems.
This is also a good opportunity to talk with your residents. Find out if everything is going well and if they’re enjoying the home.
Healdsburg Property Management and Vendor Inspections
Ask your vendors to take a look around when they’re inside the home making repairs. They don’t have to be obvious about it; simply walking through the house will give them a good idea about whether it’s clean and maintained. If they’re fixing an electrical outlet, for example, they should go ahead and check all the remaining outlets. This will give them an opportunity to take a look around.
These are some of the things we pay attention to when inspecting the homes we manage. If you have any questions about Healdsburg property management, or you need resources for the properties you may be renting out in Windsor, Healdsburg, Cloverdale, or anywhere in north Sonoma County, please contact us at Healdsburg Property Management.