The Essence of Walk-Through Inspections in Managing Rental Properties

As we’ve noted before, Far West Property Management monitors our managed properties by means of personal walk-through inspections in Prescott.  We do these about every 3 months.  But, just what are we looking for when go to a property to perform such an inspection?  Well, let’s talk about that.
  Property management services are available through Far West Realty in Prescott

First, while we want each tenant to know from the outset, that we intend to keep an eye on the property, and how they are treating it, we never want them to feel uncomfortable, or like we’re always looking over their shoulders.  In fact we discuss it with them before they ever sign the lease, presenting it very matter-of-factly, as part of the normal course of events that it really applies to every property.  This helps assure the best property condition for them as well as our owner clients, throughout their stay with us.  It’s very rare for any prospect to ever take issue with this requirement. We always want our tenants to be at ease and welcome our walk-throughs and help us stay abreast of any needed maintenance.

So, when we call to schedule our walk-throughs, (always at least two days in advance) they are expecting the call, and very cooperative in getting it done.  We always encourage our tenants to be present for our walk-throughs, because it provides an excellent opportunity to personally address any concerns either of us may have, or answer any questions.  But, if they are unable to be present for a given walk-through, they always know we will be coming to do it anyway, and are anxious to make us aware of any maintenance they may be aware of that needs doing.  It is also a great interim incentive for them to take good care of the property, so that when we do walk through the property, it reflects well on them and keeps them and their lease in good standing.

When I am walking through a property, I’m not really concerned that every detail of a tenant’s housekeeping is flawless.  Rather, I’m looking beyond the occasional unmade bed, or breakfast dishes left in the sink, to assess whether there is any abuse or damage of the property itself.  I look for signs of ongoing issues such as neglected landscaping, careless use of shower curtains or shower doors allowing water to continually splash outside the enclosure onto walls or baseboards in such a way as to cause staining or mildew.  I check for leaking water fixtures or connections in kitchens, bathrooms or laundry rooms.  In wintertime, I watch for such freeze dangers as hoses left attached to hose bibs, or any sort of plumbing left exposed to dangerously low temperatures. In summertime, I watch for signs of clogged air conditioning condensate lines that could cause water damage.  I am also always alert for signs of roof leakage such as water stains on ceilings or walls.

I watch for stains on carpeting, or undue traffic soiling as well.  If it’s time for a carpet  to be cleaned, I always require the tenants to use a licensed, insured professional carpet cleaning company, rather than to rent a “Rug Doctor” or other such cleaner to do it themselves, in order to assure the best of care for the carpets. And I always require them to bear the cost thereof.

It’s also good to watch for evidence of un-authorized residents or pets, which I always do.  With a little experience, it soon becomes apparent if any are present.  I don’t allow smoking inside any of my units, and so I’m always checking for any smoke smell.

I check windows, blinds and screens for damage.  These items are sometimes recipients of unwarranted damage – especially mini-blinds, and can be indicators of other abuse elsewhere.

As you can tell, there are many things to look for in a rental property walk-through, and these are really just a few.  An experienced eye is almost essential in the process. 

If you find yourself short on time, energy, experience or expertise in this important facet of managing a rental property, now might be a really good time to call Far West Property Management.  Just dial 928-772-9400, and ask for Dave.