Quick Guide to Property Inspections

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By Own It Detroit

Buying investment properties in Detroit and finding renters to pay the rent are two critical aspects of building a successful portfolio—but there's much more to making money than just collecting the rent. 

How do you keep an eye on your rentals? Whether you're a local investor or own rental properties here while living out of state, you need a plan to keep an eye on your properties and monitor renter upkeep. Asking renters to send photo updates or depending on a neighbor to drive by your rentals aren't the best ways to monitor your properties and prevent potential problems. 

When investing in Detroit, rental property owners need a pre-scheduled system of property inspections. Inspecting rentals throughout the year helps investors prevent significant maintenance issues and reduce costs for major repairs. It's also the best way to make sure renters follow the rules and take good care of your rentals.

What kind of inspections do you need? Follow this Own It Detroit guide to keeping an eye on your rentals!

Man writing on paper in clipboard

When New Renters Move In

Documenting your rentals' condition before a new renter moves in is a critical aspect of excellent property management. After the makeready process, your rental should be in tip-top shape to welcome a new renter. However, the Move-In Inspection allows investors to walk through their Detroit rental and make notes about every detailfrom wall to wall and floor to ceilingthen save that documentation for future reference.

Make sure your inspection documents the condition of:

  • Floors, walls, doors, windows, and ceilings
  • Light fixtures, ceiling fans, and switches
  • Appliances, water heater, and HVAC system
  • Attics, basements, and fireplaces
  • Driveway, porches, decks, and walkways
  • Lawn, landscaping, trees, and fencing
  • Exterior walls, roofing, and the gutter system

You and your new resident should agree on the state of the rental before they move in. It's the baseline for evaluating the property's condition when a resident moves out down the road. Make sure they review and sign the documented inspection to confirm their agreement about the condition of their new rental home. 

During the Lease Term

Completing the Move-In inspection shouldn't be the last time you see your property before a resident moves out at the end of their lease. An active schedule of mid-lease inspections helps property owners keep an eye on their investment properties in Detroit. 

It's the best way to catch small problems before they become significant (and expensive) issues. Routine inspections also help you monitor resident behavior and address issues where they fail to stay accountable to their responsibilities outlined in the lease

Before showing up for an inspection, give your renters notice that they're due for a visit and schedule it for a time when they can be at home. Mid-lease inspections should begin about three months after starting a new lease, then keep them up every six months while the same renters occupy your investment properties in Detroit. 

Magnifying Glass Inspecting Model-1

When a Renter Moves Out

Keep the documentation from the Move-In inspection handy! You'll need it during the Move-Out Inspection when a renter moves out. 

As you conduct this inspection, compare the condition of every aspect of your rental to the details you noted before the resident moved in. It's reasonable to see some signs of wear throughout the rental, especially if you've had the same resident living in your rental for several years. 

Be sure you understand the difference between normal wear-and-tear versus property damage that requires repair. This distinction affects how you can legally apply a renter's security deposit to get the property ready for your next Detroit renter or repair damage. Investors can't penalize a renter for anything that qualifies as routine wear-and-tear in the property. 

However, depending on the damage left behind by a former renter, investors might be able to collect additional costs for repairs that exceed the security deposit amount. Consult a lawyer and hire a property manager to process a security deposit and follow the law. 

A Detroit Property Manager Handles All Inspections

If you own a significant real estate portfolio, managing multiple property inspections can become overwhelming—especially if you invest here from out of state. Unless you plan to make frequent trips to visit all of your investment properties in Detroit and conduct each of these inspections throughout the year, you need an expert local partner to manage inspections for you!

Own It Detroit is not only the best-in-class choice for investors looking for turnkey investments, but we're also the smartest bet for Detroit property managementwhether you have one property or 100. We understand what to look for and how to document each of these property inspections. If we find potential maintenance problems or resident neglect, we address them right away to minimize damage to your Detroit properties. 

Learn more about getting your rentals in excellent condition before a renter moves in! Download a free copy of our Makeready Checklist. 

Download the Guide

Topics: property tips Property Maintenance Detroit Property Manager