Improve Your Property with Meaningful Property Inspections
Property inspections done right can be an extremely effective tool. Unfortunately, many inspections are performed without clear direction and end up a rather passive routine. Use these tricks to see direct tangible improvements from your inspection.
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As a property manager, you likely know that property inspections are essential to maintain your buildings’ quality. However, it’s easy to find ourselves in the habit of treating inspections as another item to check off of our lists without really using the information that we find to our advantage. Simply running through forms and spreadsheets without meaning or purpose doesn’t do much for the property manager, besides keeping them busy (something they need no help with!). On the other hand, successful property inspections can significantly improve PR/public opinion, building quality, sustainability/ efficiency and safety while preventing huge costs in terms of lawsuits, property damages, insurance coverages and more. Here are some items to keep in mind to see your property inspections make a difference.
Think big picture.
The term “property inspection” can be a bit misleading, as it sounds like a singular action item to perform. In reality, property inspections should be a continual process that consist of tracking and analyzing building conditions, maintenance measures, property costs, safety/non-compliance issues and progress on improvements.
How can this help me? Like we said, it’s easy to walk through your property, mark up a checklist and consider your property inspection done without ever thinking about it again. On the other hand, if you actually store record of this data and use the information that you find, you are likely to see the following benefits:
- Preventing unhealthy and dangerous conditions for residents
- Avoiding costs by catching maintenance hazards, safety issues and code infringements early on
- Cutting back on resident disputes due to thorough documentation
- Catching on to trends in cost upticks and building issues by reviewing and benchmarking data over time
- Raising damage recoveries and insurance payouts through documented evidence
- Improving building sustainability by identifying system inefficiencies early on
- Preventing damaging and costly lawsuits by providing evidence that disputes negligence
Now that you have an overview of what your property inspection goals should be, let’s get a bit more granular.
Cover your grounds.
It’s likely that to most property managers, the most top-of-mind aspect of the property inspection is the property walkthrough, but that isn’t the only key action item to look at. Here, we’ll highlight some tips and action items for the walkthrough along with the other necessary elements of the inspection process.
- Key systems to check:
- Safety and security systems
- Property exterior
- Sprinkler system
- Items to look out for:
- Hazardous conditions (i.e. fire hazards, slip and fall potentials)
- Wear and tear
- Code violations
Public area inspections: If your property has any of the following areas, it is important to perform inspections in those areas, unique to the special risks and conditions that they present:
Checkups by unit: Perform regular unit inspections to prevent unsafe or unhealthy conditions for your residents. Common unit issues include:
- Faulty fire alarms and other fire hazards
- Favorable living conditions for pests
- Faulty plumbing
- HVAC issues
Move-in/out processes: Be sure to perform both inspections along with your resident to avoid misunderstandings or disputes. Many properties will provide a cost replacement sheet at the time of move-in as a precautionary step against cost disputes at the time of move out.
Perform necessary action items to reduce liability.
By completing the inspections and noting observations from the areas mentioned in the previous section, you are getting the appropriate information that you need for documentation and putting yourself in a favorable position to take the reins on your property’s overall quality, but an effective inspection takes more than just observations. Here are the pertinent action items to take during inspections:
Always take photographs during all inspection processes and store them by date. THIS SHOULD BE TOP PRIORITY. Why? Written documentation is one thing, but photographs provide undisputed evidence for any litigation issues. It can also be especially useful in the event of a disaster (weather, building fire, etc.) to ensure appropriate payouts from insurance companies.
Document any issues that you find along with measurements that will be taken to correct these shortcomings. Not only will this help you take a proactive approach to improving the state of your building, but it can be used to disprove negligence in the event of a lawsuit.
Get signatures. Did you complete a move-in inspection with your resident? Get a signature. How about conducting a unit inspection and finding no issues? Yup, you’ll want a resident to sign off on that. Did building personnel or a professional service company correct a property issue? Get that in writing. Again, the more documentation you have, the better off your position in any future disagreement.
Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repeating is what makes this process effective. It shows due diligence and allows you to see trends necessary for making improvements. Once you make these practices habit, you’ll see the magic start to happen.
For more information on how Kings III can improve your property’s overall safety and reduce your liability, visit www.kingsiii.com.
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