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Is your property manager taking shortcuts with property inspections?

1st June 2013
Did you know that some property managers outsource Property Inspections to students and retirees? Make sure you ask any prospective property manager as to who carries out the inspections.

Did you know that some property managers outsource Property Inspections to students and retirees? Make sure you ask any prospective property manager as to who carries out the inspections.

OK, so a super-detailed Property Inspection Report can save you money and hassle… but let’s face it, it’s not exactly a fun task.

Writing a detailed Property Inspection Report takes a huge amount of time. It’s not exactly a 15-minute job to:

  • Visit the property and write a list of chattels
  • Write about the condition of each item accurately and in detail
  • Photograph every single wall, floor and ceiling in the house
  • Document and photograph the condition of the outside of the property
  • Upload the photos to the property management website, so they can be accessed by the property owner, tenant and property manager
  • Go through the Property Inspection Report with the tenant.

This is a job that takes many, many hours from start to finish… and it’s not a job that most property managers enjoy (which is probably why most reports are so scant on detail).

Even less enjoyable are the property inspections themselves… yet this is the vital time where sharp eyes are needed to spot any property damage! Some property managers have found a solution to this onerous work.

The lazy property managers’ solution to property inspections

It’s becoming increasingly common for property managers to sub-contract out the Property Inspection work. We’ve heard of university students and retired people being engaged to do the quarterly inspections.

This is like a qualified mechanic sub-contracting Warrant of Fitness (WOF) work to a non-qualified mechanic: it would be a disaster for him, legally and financially.

The same is true with property management. However, the problem is that most property managers take on more properties than they can handle. The property management industry often recognises that the optimum number of properties a property manager should have in their portfolio is 80. Yet this number is usually exceeded: often even very junior, inexperienced property managers without qualifications can be managing 100 properties. Some property managers even manage 120, 200 or 250 properties.

At Bridgman Property Management we’ve got a strict limit of managing just 60 properties at any time: and we’ll do ALL the property management work ourselves – including the Property Inspection Reports and the Inspections.

Thorough Property Inspections are vital

As well as it being important to have a thorough Property Inspection Report, the inspections themselves need to be thorough. This is the property manager’s opportunity to spot any damage, and to get it rectified – at the tenant’s cost.

What’s more, because the property manager wrote the Inspection Report themselves initially, they’ll be familiar with it. The combination of a vague report and outsourced inspections is a recipe for disaster for the poor property owner!

Don’t put yourself into that situation: make sure you ask a prospective property manager:

  • How many properties they manage at any given time: so you can get a feel as to how much time the property manager will devote to you (or not).
  • A sample Property Inspection Report: so you can see how thorough it is (or not).
  • Who carries out the property inspections: and there’s only one right answer to this question!

While doing some of these tasks might be time-consuming, onerous and ‘not fun’, it’s what you’re paying the property manager to do via the monthly management fee. So it’s not too much to expect the job to be done professionally, and to a high standard.

 


 

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