Why should you perform regular property walk-throughs on your Las Vegas rental properties?
There are a lot of reasons you need to be walking through routinely. You should do them even if you have a great tenant in place who has few complaints and never makes maintenance requests. You should do them even if your property is new and in generally good condition.
Walk-throughs are critical to protecting the condition of your investment and avoiding deferred and unreported maintenance issues – which can grow to be extremely expensive.
It can be uncomfortable to walk through an occupied property. You don’t want to invade your tenant’s privacy and you don’t want to be an inconvenience to a good renter. But, when you include something in your lease agreement that says you’ll walk through once or twice during a tenancy, your tenants will expect the visit. They might even appreciate it if there are things they want to point out to you or upgrades they’d like to request.
A regular property walk-through schedule will start with the move-in walk-through, which is essential for establishing the condition of your property and ensuring there aren’t any repairs or cleaning that are needed before a tenant moves in. You’ll also want to conduct a thorough and detailed move-out walk-through after a tenant vacates in order to make decisions about the security deposit and to estimate the amount of work that will be needed in turning the property over.
Outside of those two important walk-throughs, you’re left with the routine walk-throughs and drive-by property surveys that are crucial to your investment success.
You Don’t Always Have To Go Inside: Consider Drive-By Property Surveys
Before you begin scheduling interior walk-throughs of your rental property in Las Vegas, remember that a lot can be learned simply by driving by the property. Make a schedule of exterior, informal property surveys in which you’ll simply cruise through the neighborhood and take a look at how the property looks from the street. You don’t have to schedule this with your tenants or even let them know you’re there.
When things look the way they should, you know that you probably have nothing to worry about. But, if there are a collection of cars parked on the lawn or leaking oil all over the driveway or you find lots of trash and debris collecting in the front of the home, you might want to take some additional steps with your tenants.
The idea of a drive-by property survey is to make sure there aren’t any immediate or visible reasons that you want to get inside the property right away. Are there dogs running around the yard even though you didn’t approve of pets? That’s a reason to get in touch with your tenants.
Include Walk-Throughs in Your Las Vegas Lease Agreement
Tenants expect to be left alone, for the most part, to enjoy their home.
However, because you want to get inside the property at least once during the lease period, it’s important to reflect this expectation in your lease agreement. The lease is what protects you and your property and even your tenants.
Most lease agreements will include a landlord’s right to enter for emergency purposes or to perform maintenance.
When you’re discussing the lease agreement with your tenant before move-in, be sure to highlight this part of the lease so they know to expect a walk-through.
Protect the Condition of Your Las Vegas Rental Property
Your Las Vegas rental property will undergo some general wear and tear during every tenancy. You have to expect it and budget for the repairs and replacements that are necessary.
The best way to keep those potential costs lower is by checking up on your property condition consistently. Preventive and routine maintenance will reduce the risk of emergency maintenance.
Train your tenants 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. 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 walk-throughs will give you the opportunity to check out some of the most used and easily broken systems and functions in your rental property. At the very least, you should check these things anytime you have the opportunity to be inside your rental home:
- 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.
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.
Walk-Throughs Hold Las Vegas Tenants Accountable to the Lease
You screen tenants carefully in order to protect your investment.
But, it’s impossible to know what they’re really doing inside your investment property.
Most Las Vegas lease agreements are pretty detailed when it comes to the responsibilities of your tenants and what you expect from them while they’re living in your property. You’ve likely outlined cleaning standards and the requirements of basic maintenance that should be met.
Regular walk-throughs allow you 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.
There’s no need to be confrontational. Don’t approach a walk-through expecting the worst. Make the walk-through a positive opportunity to communicate. Give your tenants the chance to tell you what they need or want from you.
Use Walk-Throughs To Look for Upgrades and Updates
When you’re regularly walking through your Las Vegas rental property, you can make sure your home is competitive in a crowded housing market. 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, when you can get inside the property for a routine walk-through every year, you can make a list of things you might want to renovate. How does the paint look? Is the carpet in good shape? If the appliances continue to break down or start looking worn, consider replacing them. Regular walk-throughs 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.
When Should You Walk Through?
Maybe you’ll want to walk through a few months after a tenant has moved in. This gives you the opportunity to see how they’ve settled in and to make any minor repairs that may be necessary but were unreported.
Or, perhaps you want to wait for the halfway point. Six months into the lease term, you can schedule a maintenance walk-through. Some rental property owners will wait and walk through right before the lease renewal date is approaching. This could work if you want to check the property before making an offer for a lease renewal.
You can walk through when it seems to make sense to you. Always make sure to provide ample notice; at least 48 hours. Also, let your tenants know how long you expect to be there. Don’t be a nuisance. There’s no need to be showing up at the property every month, asking to walk through.
Working with a Las Vegas property management company is always a good idea when it comes to walk-throughs and effectively managing and maintaining your rental property. With experienced property management partners, you will know that your property is in excellent condition and the terms of your lease agreement are being followed. If you’d like to know more about how we manage rental property walk-throughs, we’d be happy to share our process and additional tips on effective Las Vegas property management.
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.