The move-in process is important because it sets the tone of your relationship with your new tenants. If you are prepared, organized, and supportive during this process, you’re likely going to have a better relationship with your renters and a far more pleasant experience as their landlord.
If your process is chaotic and confusing, tenants will not have a great opinion from the start. It will be hard to win their trust as the tenancy moves forward.
Ensure that the move-in process is efficient, easy to understand, and simple. It’s better for you and it’s better for your property.
Documenting property condition is also an important part of the process. Your job is to turn over a home that’s a clean, functional home that’s ready for occupancy. You’re going to expect the property to come back in the same condition, minus the expected wear and tear.
How can you make accurate and detailed notes about what your property looks like before tenants take possession?
With a move-in property condition checklist.
It’s important, and today in our blog, we’re explaining why you need one and what it can do for you.
Re-Key Your Las Vegas Rental Property for Security
First things first. Before you conduct your final move-in inspection and hand over the keys to your new tenant, we highly encourage you to put fresh locks on the doors. You have no idea how many people your former tenants invited into the home. They may have given extra keys to significant others, close friends, family members, cleaners – who knows. You need to protect your property and your new residents, so change all the locks.
Digital locks are becoming more popular, and this might be something worth exploring. Tenants can open the door with their phones or with a code rather than an old fashioned key.
However you decide to keep your property safe, make sure re-keying the home is first on your checklist.
Inspect for Functionality
Your move-in checklist is designed to ensure you have thoroughly checked every system and function in your property to make sure things work the way they should. You cannot have a tenant moving into a home that has a problem with the electricity or the water.
Consider utilizing the services of a Home Inspector to conduct a complete inspection, checklist in hand, to ensure everything is ready for the tenant. While you or a property manager can easily identify visual damage or deterioration, the services of a home inspector will help avoid overlooking important system deficiencies that should be addressed. Safety and functionality are your priorities. Your checklist should include:
- Checking that the heat and the air conditioning turn on and the air filters are clean.
- Inspecting each light bulb to make sure they work.
- Locking and unlocking, opening and closing all doors and windows.
- Checking cabinets, drawers, and closet doors to ensure everything opens and closes.
- Run every faucet and wait for the hot water to show up.
- Flush every toilet.
- Look under sinks and behind toilets and tubs for leaks or soft spots in the ground.
- Test every outlet.
These aren’t just good deeds you’re doing for your new tenant; they’re habitability issues. You are legally required to fix anything that’s broken, especially when we’re talking about supplying water and electricity.
Safety Is a Major Checklist Item
Safety items belong on your checklist, and looking for any hazards or health concerns that may be damaging to your tenant or your property is something you need to do before a tenant moves in.
What are some examples of safety issues? Smoke detectors that don’t work. Doors that don’t lock. An electrical outlet that seems to be smoking when you plug in a vacuum cleaner. Are there tree limbs hovering close to the roof or the windows? Look at your floors. Carpet that’s pulling up or linoleum that’s buckling could cause a fall.
Usually, the safety issues you come across will be small. Take care of those minor things right away. If there’s something truly dangerous, make sure you’re hiring licensed and insured professionals to remedy the situation.
Your move-in checklist might include leaving tenants instructions on how to keep themselves safe while living in your home. Tell them where the circuit breakers are and the nearest fire extinguisher. Let them know how to shut off the water. If there’s a pool, make sure it’s fenced and secure.
Walk Around Your Property’s Perimeter
It’s important to check the exterior of your property before a tenant moves in, so make sure it’s on your checklist. This is the time to make sure your landscaping is in good condition and that the outdoor space is safe and appealing for your tenants.
Do you have residents moving in with pets? Make sure you have communicated to them what your pet policy entails, and what you’ll expect from them in terms of clean-up and animal behavior.
Here’s what a typical exterior property move-in condition inspection checklist includes:
- Yard and landscaping.
- Gutters and downspouts.
- Driveways, walkways, sidewalks.
- Garage or parking area.
- Decks, patios, porches, balconies.
- Wall, sidings, trim, paint, and caulking
- Exterior windows and doors, including their frames and hinges
Make sure your checklist records photos and descriptions of the outside of a property. You’ll want an idea of how the home looks from the street or from the yard, so you can have a complete overview. Then, zero in on the details such as the front of the property, the windows, and the backyard.
This is important because while your tenants will do most of their living inside the house, it’s the exterior that has to stand up to the intense Las Vegas climate. You want to make sure it’s going to be okay in the heat, the sun, and the occasional flash floods.
Before your tenant moves in, make sure the property’s exterior is attractive and in proper condition.
Cleaning Your Las Vegas Investment Property Before Move-In
The last task on your checklist is cleaning.
Tenants are willing to overlook a few things. But, one thing no tenant wants to do is move into someone else’s dirt.
Clean your property thoroughly before someone takes possession of it. This is an important checklist item whether you’re turning over a home between tenants or renting your property out for the first time. Hire professional cleaners so you can be sure attention to detail has been part of the process. Professional cleaners will do more than mop and vacuum. They’ll dust ceiling fans and baseboards. They’ll pull appliances out to sweep around them. They’ll make sure your tubs and toilets shine.
Everyone has different standards for cleanliness. But, when you present a perfectly clean home to new tenants, you’re showing them that you expect the property to be returned to them in a similar condition at the end of the lease term. There’s going to be general wear and tear – there always is. However, if your standards are high, your tenants will know what you expect.
Give Tenants an Opportunity to Review Your Move-In Checklist
You’ll have your checklist, which documents everything that was done. You’ll also have your own notes, your pictures, and maybe even a video that shows you walking through and around the home before a tenant takes possession.
Don’t forget that your tenants have the right to agree that the property is in the condition you say it’s in. Let your new residents conduct their own move-in inspection and note any issues that may need attention when they move in.
The move-in checklist property condition report will be used at the end of the lease term. It documents the condition of the home during the move-in period, and after your tenants leave, you’ll conduct another inspection that reflects the condition of the home after the tenants move out. This will influence whether you deduct any funds from the security deposit to pay for damage.
Your tenants need to make a note of anything that they notice so they won’t be charged for those things after moving out.
Leave the condition report with them for one or two days. If they make notes of things that need to be fixed, make those repairs. Have your tenants sign the report and file it until it’s time to conduct your move-out inspection.
We know that the move-in process comes with a lot of lingering details and last minute actions. It can be stressful for both landlords and tenants. It’s worth your time to provide a great move-in experience, however. Tenants will remember this. Not only will you have a more cooperative relationship with your renters, you’re also more likely to retain them. It doesn’t hurt that the condition of your property is also protected with such a thorough inspection of it.
If you’d like some help putting together your own process and checklist, please contact us at New West Property Management. We’re passionate about the services and value we provide to the owners and investors who trust us with their properties. Our team expertly manages residential rental homes in Las Vegas and throughout Clark County, including Henderson and North Las Vegas.