Have you been trying to find ways to work smarter and not harder, when it comes to routine inspections? According to industry veterans, there are several ways to make this essential part of your job more manageable. To make things easier, we’ve selected four most mentioned best practices for you to take onboard:
Set up and follow a regular schedule
Regular inspections are necessary for identifying emerging maintenance issues and preventing them from getting worse. By being proactive with maintenance, you can avoid emergency repairs which are significantly more costly and time-consuming.
You can choose to create an inspection schedule organised by due month or by geographical zones. It’s important to remain flexible to accommodate unexpected changes. Allocate a time range instead of locking yourself into a specific time for an inspection. Use your property management system to automatically send out inspection reminders to tenants a month in advance.
When setting the frequency of your inspections, it is important to check the legislative requirements for your state. In NSW, for example, you are not allowed to exceed four inspections in a 12-month period. According to Rick Pignetti, director of True Property, routine inspections are generally done twice a year with the first one occurring within the first three months of the tenancy.
Keep your tenants informed
Be open and transparent when communicating with your tenants. Make sure that you’re all on the same page when it comes to your responsibilities and what you expect from tenants and owners. This builds trust between all parties involved and minimises the likelihood of misunderstandings and disputes.
Rentec emphasises on sharing details about the property’s condition at the beginning of the tenancy. Provide your tenants with a thorough report including photos and videos. This is also a good opportunity to make sure they understand the lease terms and what they’re required to do for maintenance.
Apart from informing your tenants with a written notice about an upcoming inspection, you should also advise them about the use of a master key and that you will be taking photos of all areas in the property during the inspection. Heidi Walkinshaw from Real Plus also recommends including an information guide on expectations of condition, as well as a maintenance form to help tenants be prepared.
Document all the details
The whole purpose of conducting an inspection is to gain a clear picture of the property’s condition. Visual documentation is the most effective way to show and record condition details. A picture speaks a thousand words, instead of relying on written notes, save time by taking photos and videos. Apart from including them in your condition reports, they can also be used to carry out any maintenance or repair tasks afterward.
According to Tennille Mugridge from Home Specialist Property Management: “Documenting detail at the [inspections] via pictures and video in addition to the written report leaves no room for debate both on the tenant and the landlord‘s behalf.”
Pignetti provides his tenants with around 200 photos of the property taken during the ingoing inspection to ensure all bases are covered. “[This way] we’re not second-guessing ourselves and we’re not taking any shortcuts, since everything that we’ve seen, the tenant is going to see as well,” he says.
When conducting ingoing inspections, Pignetti advises that property managers should focus mainly on the bathrooms and kitchens. Take photos and videos of the appliances in these areas since they are the most expensive to replace or repair.
As for routine inspections, Pignetti recommends taking wide-angled photos to show the condition of the rooms, but there should also be close-up photos to highlight necessary repairs or issues.
After each inspection, it is common practice for tenants to review the condition reports and highlight any issues they see. You can review the photos and videos taken to investigate the issues noted by the tenant, instead of having to go back to the property to check.
Use a Property Inspection App
By using an app specifically designed for inspections you can dramatically cut down your workload. Inspection Manager is the most popular solution for property managers in Australia.
With Inspection Manager you can complete your inspections and produce detailed reports within minutes. Users can take photos and videos using the in app-camera and add comments using a personal phrase bank, predictive text, and voice-recognition.
The app also includes custom report templates that can be easily structured according to the layout of your property and edited to reflect your agency’s brand. With prompts from the templates, you’ll never forget to add essential pieces of property information.
Your inspection data and reports are automatically synced to our cloud-based CMS system, saving you hours of work at the office. Inspection Manager can also integrate with your property management system so all your data can be stored in one place.
If you’re not already using Inspection Manager you can sign up for a 30 day trial here on our website.
Property inspections don’t have to be a daunting task once you take on the right approach. As they say, it’s not about what you do, it’s about how you do it.