In North Carolina, every vehicle owner (or lessee) must have their vehicle inspected annually. This is done to ensure that vehicles on the road meet certain benchmarks for safety and emissions.
While there is no such requirement for a home inspection, owners or property managers should regularly inspect rental properties. And while the ongoing pandemic has somewhat hampered this practice, inspections of rental properties should still occur as regularly as possible.
Regular inspections of rental properties allow owners or their property managers to stay on top of maintenance concerns and help to ensure the property maintains its value. If residents do not report maintenance issues at the property, and the property goes uninspected for a long time, small problems could develop into larger ones that ultimately affect the property's value.
Inspections also benefit the tenant, as owners or property managers want to ensure that smoke detectors are in working order, that no mold is forming in kitchen or bathroom areas, and that appliances are in good condition. Problems with the property discovered during inspections are often fixed in short order as the owner has as much interest in the property being in its best shape as the resident.
Benefits of Property Inspections
- Having another set of eyes look around a property may allow for some lingering, seemingly unimportant maintenance matters to be spotted and resolved before they become larger issues. Potential items along these lines are broken pipes, termite infestations, roof leaks and wood rot.
- Residents prefer that properties are inspected, and it can help lead to better resident retention. One of the worst feelings is when it comes time for resident turnover, and a list of problematic issues arise at the final inspection. This, in turn, may cause the owner or property management company to retain the security deposit or, even worse, charge the outgoing tenant for damages. Regular inspections help mitigate this move-out worry during what is already a stressful time.
- While the inspection process is not meant to be a "gotcha" exercise, it does help ensure that tenants adhere to the terms of their lease. Much like readying your home for visitors, residents are typically inclined to make right anything wrong before inspection, fixing small things that fall under their purviews and making sure they are in compliance with lease and community expectations.
- Inspections give owners or property managers a chance to test and make sure safety equipment is in working order, limiting their liability and enhancing resident safety.
All of the benefits of regularly inspecting your income properties can and should add value to your investment, whether you will continue to utilize it as a rental or if you plan to sell it soon. Think about it in terms of a car.
When you sell a car, the buyer almost always asks to see the vehicle's maintenance history. If the car has not had regular oil changes and general maintenance, the buyer may offer a lower price or avoid the purchase entirely. The same can be true with rental properties as regularly inspected, and thus well-maintained properties will give buyers more confidence.
The Golden Rule when conducting inspections is to have, and stick to, a game plan. Here are a few points to that end.
- Have a checklist for each property and share it with the resident ahead of an inspection. This will let the tenant know what to expect during an inspection and may lead to the tenant addressing some concerns ahead of time.
- Schedule inspections during a time when the resident can be present. Typically, the resident is the person who knows the property best and can help identify matters that need to be addressed. Similarly, you can directly point out areas of concern to the resident and discuss them in real-time.
- While scheduling the inspection when the tenant can be present is important, so is following up after the inspection with any notes or concerns you may have. This will help ensure that the tenant addresses any issues based on what was noted during the inspection.
- Make sure your resident knows that inspections are routine and not being done because you suspect them of lease violation or any wrongdoing. Inspections assure that the property, its appliances, HVAC system, plumbing, etc., are in working order and are as much for the tenant's benefit as they are for the owner.
Property inspections are a major part of owning and maintaining rental properties, and professional property managers are well-versed in performing inspections.
As a leading property management firm in the Cape Fear region, Sweyer Property Management certainly recommends that property owners strongly consider working with a trusted and experienced property management company. Additionally, we want to make sure property owners and investors understand the relationship they are entering into when choosing to work with a property management firm.
If you have investment properties and do not use a professional management company, we hope you consider doing so. The experts at Sweyer Property Management will be happy to provide you with a free rental analysis
or, if you prefer, give us a call at 910-256-3031.
Sweyer Property Management is a full-service professional property management company that specializes in all aspects of rental management. If you're an investor or property owner looking to learn more about our services and what a professional property manager can do for you, reach out to us today at 910.256.3031 or via our website. Sweyer Property Management has exhibited continuous growth throughout the Wilmington, Leland and Hampstead areas while maintaining an excellent Google+ rating for customer service.
After working for GE and Allied Signal for several years, Dave Sweyer joined his family’s real estate business in 1998. Not long after joining the family business, Dave embarked upon starting a long-term residential rental company with the goal of offering a high-quality, relationship-driven business to property owners in southeastern North Carolina. Today, Sweyer Property Management is the leading single-family home rental management company in the region, serving thousands of investors and tenants.
Sweyer also co-owns Community Association Management Services (CAMS) which is one of the largest management companies in the Carolinas, serving many of the prime metro markets in each state with over 100,000 customers. In more recent years, he founded a software company, Vantaca, which is quickly becoming one of the leading software solutions for the community association management industry.
In addition to his business interests, Sweyer currently serves on the Cape Fear Academy Board of Trustees and the Corning Credit Union Board of Directors. He has also served on the Easter Seals UCP Boards for both North Carolina and Virginia as well as on the executive board for the Cape Fear Council for Boy Scouts.
Sweyer received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt University and his MBA from Duke University.