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Even with modern screening techniques, landlords still need to maintain some form of physical presence at their properties. Routine evaluations are an important tool to both checking up on the tenant and to also see if there is any deferred maintenance that may need attention.

The obvious

Evaluations tell us how the tenant is responding to the home. Overall, if they are taking care of the property, keeping it clean, and most importantly not causing damage. Things to look out for would be extra beds with clothes in the closets, pet bowls or toys when there isn’t a pet on the lease, etc.

Finally, keep an eye out for signs of water damage or other items that may need attention. Many tenants either do not pay close attention to maintenance items or they don’t believe it’s a problem, but as a landlord its important to keep up with regular maintenance. This not only helps prevent small problems from becoming bigger problems, but it helps keep the property up which helps maintain value and tenant retention.

tenant property evaluation by investor

The not so obvious

In most cases, the landlord is required to provide a tenant with at least a 24 hour notice prior to entering the property which gives the tenant a chance to straighten things up and try to hide anything they are not supposed to be doing. Thinking back to when you were growing up, you knew what you could and could not get away with. This also applies to tenants as they have had many years of practice to find was to get around the rules.

Additionally, it does not tell you what is going on with the tenant’s personal life. The biggest reason why a tenant ends up getting evicted or abandoning the home is due to personal matters; divorce, death in the family, disease, or losing their job.

Repairs are another area of mystery. It is hard to evaluate a home to see what type of work it may need once the tenant’s leave. Between the large sofa to the armoire in the master bedroom, its hard to see behind the tenant’s belongings to get a real good look at what is hiding underneath. The evaluation will give you a rough idea, but expect that the home will need more work than what you can see.

Final thoughts

A landlord’s primary concerns are that they have someone in their property paying rent on time, the home is maintained, and that the tenant stays for a while. If a tenant is doing all these things, you need to remain objective if you come across something that the tenant is doing like having an unauthorized person or pet in the home. Certain things are worth overlooking if the tenant is overall doing a good job at keeping up with the property and their rent.


What Property Evaluations Don’t Tell You - by