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Quick Guide to Property Inspections

EJF Real Estate Services - Thursday, March 4, 2021

A proactive maintenance plan is only one part of a well-rounded strategy to protect your rowhomes for rent in Washington DC. While routine maintenance and prompt, quality repairs are important, keeping an eye on your rentals (and renters) also requires an inspection plan. 

If you aren't routinely putting your eyes on your rentals, how can you know the condition of your properties? Without checking on your renters, you won't know if they're keeping up with the property care requirements in the lease agreement or neglecting responsibilities that lead to damage in your rentals.

How often should Washington DC investors inspect their properties? What kind of inspections should you conduct? Follow these expert tips from EJF Real Estate Services!

Moving In

What's the condition of your rowhomes for rent in Washington DC before a new renter moves in? Investors need to document everything from floor to ceiling and wall to wall before a new resident gets the keys to move into a property. 

The makeready process creates a move-in ready home for your renters. Fresh paint, clean carpets, working appliancesand morecreate a welcoming environment for your new Washington DC residents. However, only relying on that completed process to verify the like-new condition of your property can be an expensive mistake. 

Before a new renter moves in, walk through the property with a checklist. Review every aspect of the rental, inside and out, and make notes on the checklist to confirm the property's condition. Take photos, make sure your new Washington DC resident agrees with your assessment of the property's condition, and file everything together. You'll need this inspection later when it's time for the renter to move out. 

Hand with silver pen

Moving Out

How are your renters leaving the property? If it's not close to the condition it was in before they moved in, renters risk losing part or all of their security deposit. 

Bring the documentation from when you conducted the Move-In inspection of your rowhomes for rent in Washington DC.  Compare the current condition of everything on the checklist to the current condition after renters move out.

Investors can expect reasonable wear-and-tear for things like small carpet stains, dirty grout, minor marks on the walls, or faded window coverings. However, while these minor issues are reasonable as "normal wear-and-tear" and shouldn't count against a renter's security deposit, significant damage or excessive uncleanliness are problems that can justify keeping the security deposit to cover repair costs. 

If you aren't sure about the difference between normal wear-and-tear versus damage, consult a property manager to help conduct these inspections and assess the security deposit. 

During the Lease Term

How can investors keep an eye on their rowhomes for rent in Washington DC when residents stay for more than one lease term? Even if a renter doesn't renew, a lot of time passes between a renter's move-in date and when they move out.

Keeping up with the condition of your rentals requires inspections during a lease term. These should take place starting three months after a new lease term, then continue every six months while a resident remains in your rental. 

Skipping these critical inspections can put your rentals at risk! Investors need to monitor renter behavior and the upkeep of their properties. When residents think you aren't paying attention, they might skip their responsibilities or carry on with activities that cause property damage or violate the lease. 

Schedule In Advance

During a mid-lease inspection, make sure you enter your Washington DC property and review the interior along with the exterior. Schedule these inspections when residents can be home, and be sure to give them plenty of notice that it's time for the routine property inspection. Take the opportunity to:

  • Address areas of concern and enforce renter responsibilities documented in the lease
  • Look for potential maintenance issues and schedule preventive care
  • Spot serious problems that renters haven't reported
  • Identify serious renter issues like hoarding 

Washington DC renters must take care of your properties throughout their lease term. It's also an investor's responsibility to provide appropriate care and a safe environment for their residents. Mid-lease inspections are a valuable tool to keep an eye on your properties and prevent significant (and costly) issues that can lead to income loss without prompt solutions.

Partial view of male handyman checking house figure by stethoscope, home inspection conceptA Property Manager Handles All Inspections

An effective inspection schedule for your rowhomes for rent in Washington DC can be time-consuming. Investors also need the right experience to interact with renters and notice potential maintenance problems before they get worse. 

If keeping up with routine inspections and maintaining your rentals is becoming a challenge, EJF Real Estate Services is here to help! We know that inspections help investors save money on costly repairs while holding residents accountable for responsibilities in the lease. Contact us to learn how we help investors keep an eye on their rentals. 

Learn more about preparing your Washington DC properties for new renters with a copy of our free Makeready Checklist.