Keeping up with the condition of your Golden, CO investment properties is important when you’re trying to earn as much money as you can on them. Conducting regular property evaluations is an essential part of successfully renting out property. Not only do they help you stay on top of maintenance and repairs, but they can also help you identify potential problems before they become costly.
Property evaluations help you save money. They preserve the condition and value of your asset. Set up a schedule of regular inspections and evaluations, starting with your move-in inspection and ending with your move-out inspection.
Here are the benefits to those regular property evaluations in Golden, CO.
Move-In and Move-Out Inspections Document Condition
The benefit of your move-in inspection is that it documents the condition of your property at the time that your tenants take possession. This will serve you later, at the end of the lease agreement, when you’re comparing the move-in condition to the move-out condition. You’ll use this inspection report to document any damage that was done. The documentation is absolutely necessary if you expect to charge the tenant’s security deposit.
Take a lot of pictures of your property before your tenants move in. The goal is to adequately and accurately document its condition. You might have a lot of pictures already. The marketing photos you took likely show the condition of your walls, floors, appliances, and landscaping.
It doesn’t hurt to snap a few more pictures, however. You want to document every part of your property, even if there’s nothing exceptional about it. When your tenants move out, you’ll need a standard against which to compare the condition of the home.
The benefit of a thorough move-out inspection is that it allows you to separate normal wear and tear from tenant damage.
Wear and tear is your responsibility as the property owner. During the move-out process and inspection, you will make deductions from the security deposit to cover property damage, but you cannot deduct for normal wear and tear. This is the general deterioration of a property that occurs no matter who is living there.
If your tenants are in place for only a year, there should be very little wear and tear. You might find some worn carpet in high-traffic areas or scuff marks on the walls from where furniture rested. Tenants who have been in place for several years might have a bit more wear and tear. It’s to be expected.
Use your property evaluation and inspection report to see where there’s wear and tear and where there’s damage.
Protect the Condition of Your Golden Rental Property
The longer you hold onto your investment property, the more money you earn on it.
To preserve the condition of your property and its value, make sure you’re evaluating how it looks. Those routine evaluations will keep your repair and maintenance costs lower. It allows you to check up on your property condition consistently.
Preventative and routine maintenance will reduce the risk and the cost of emergency maintenance.
Educate your tenants on the need to make timely maintenance requests, because every time you’re inside the property taking care of a repair, you can look around for other potential issues that need attention. This gives you an opportunity to evaluate how the property looks, and if you detect any problems, you’ll be able to take quick action. Deferred maintenance is always more expensive than preventative or routine repairs. The longer you let a problem grow, the more expensive and complicated it’s going to become.
Your routine inspections will give you the opportunity to check out some of the most used and easily broken systems and functions in your rental property. When you’re conducting an evaluation inside of the property, pay special attention to those areas that can quickly become problematic:
- Water issues, particularly leaks or puddles under sinks and behind toilets and tubs.
- Locks on the doors and windows.
- Seasonal issues that may impact your gutters, irrigation, or walkways and driveways.
- Check the HVAC system and make sure the filters are being changed on schedule.
- Ask about the appliances and the electrical outlets. If you’ve already repaired an appliance multiple times, consider replacing it altogether.
- Making sure the proper number of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in the property.
If there are any indications that work needs to be done, make a note of it and get the repair scheduled as soon as possible.
Routine Evaluations Help You Hold Golden Tenants Accountable to the Lease
Think about how careful you are with your tenant screening process. You screen tenants carefully in order to protect your investment and to ensure you’re welcoming people into your property who can be trusted to take care of it.
But, it’s impossible to know what they’re really doing once they move in. You cannot show up randomly and arbitrarily, expecting to take a look around whenever you want. But, when you write the expectation of conducting evaluations into your lease agreement and you schedule them ahead of time with your tenants, there shouldn’t be any tension about you going to the property and taking a look around.
You have likely signed a lease agreement that is pretty detailed about the responsibilities of your tenants and what you expect from them while they’re living in your property. The lease will include cleaning standards and the requirements of basic maintenance that should be met. Property evaluations will show you that your residents are doing what you expect them to do.
This is also an opportunity to uncover any potential warning signs that the property isn’t being cleaned or maintained the way the lease requires. You might find insects in the kitchen or air filters that haven’t been changed since the tenants moved in. Maybe you’ll notice pets running around when you never authorized pets.
Don’t approach an inspection expecting the worst. When your tenants know you’re coming, they’re likely to clean up and ensure the property is presentable. If you find a lease violation or something that concerns you, address it. Otherwise, you can make the property evaluation a positive opportunity to communicate. Give your tenants the chance to tell you what they need or want from you.
Routine Evaluations Allow You to Improve Your Property
When you’re regularly inspecting your Golden rental property, you can make sure your home is competitive and attractive. If you’ve had the same tenant in place for five or six years, you may not have had the opportunity to make many improvements and upgrades. You probably didn’t need to.
But, making minor renovations and improvements from time to time is good for your rental value and the overall value of your investment. So, when you can get inside the property for a routine evaluation, you can make a list of things you might want to renovate. Check the condition of the paint and the floors. If the appliances continue to break down or start looking worn, consider replacing them. Regular evaluations help you budget for these projects and upgrades sooner than they’ll be needed. You can plan to make these updates at lease renewal time.
Leverage Higher Property Values and More Responsive Maintenance
As we’ve discussed, one of the biggest benefits of conducting regular property evaluations is that it can help you stay on top of necessary maintenance and repairs. This leads to higher property values and more responsive preventative maintenance plans.
- Increased Values
Regular property evaluations increase the value of your property over time. When prospective tenants see that your property has been well-maintained and kept up with through regular inspections, they will be more likely to rent from you. Additionally, if you ever decide to sell your rental property, buyers will be more attracted to the attractive investment home that you’ve been able to maintain over the years because of your routine evaluations and inspections.
- Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is easier when you’re evaluating the state of your property every year. You can identify potential problems faster. You can also make sure that your preventative maintenance plans are working. If the furnace looks like it’s struggling, you can have your HVAC technician take a look. If there are pests, you can re-evaluate your pest control vendor contract. You’ll get a chance to evaluate the landscaping, the roof, the flooring, and all the functions of your property with an eye toward better preventative maintenance.
Conducting regular property evaluations is an essential part of being a successful landlord. Make sure your lease agreement reflects that you’ll be evaluating the property at least once during the tenancy, and always prioritize your detailed move-in and move-out inspections.
If you’d like some help setting up a schedule of evaluations or communicating this to your tenants, we’d be glad to work with you. Please contact us at Laurel Property Services, Inc. In addition to providing property management in Golden, we also serve Wheatridge, Morrison, Lakewood, Arvada, and Genesee, CO. We can make sure your property is in excellent condition and your tenants are having a pleasant rental experience.