Property inspections are a critical way for landlords to check on maintenance issues that are needed and to ensure their tenants are following the terms of the lease agreement. When you’re inspecting your property, make sure you’re thorough and detailed. The things you look for will depend on the type of inspection you’re conducting. A move-in and move-out inspection will have you documenting the condition of the property and making a list of any repairs that are required. These are some of the things you should have on every rental inspection checklist.
Check for Leaks and Water
Water can do damage to a property faster than anything else. You want to take care of leaks immediately, no matter how minor they seem. Even a dripping faucet can turn into a major leak under the sink that causes rot and mold. Look for areas where water might be getting inside the house from the outside. Spots on walls and ceilings may indicate that a pipe is leaking somewhere. Look under bathroom and kitchen sinks, check tubs and toilets, and make sure you don’t have any water coming in where it shouldn’t.
Look for Repair and Replacement Needs
If you’re inspecting before a tenant moves in, you want to make sure the property is ready for occupancy. Everything must be functioning the way it should. Check each electrical outlet, turn on all the lights, and run the appliances. Make sure the doors and windows are locking and check light bulbs, air filters, and smoke detectors.
Check for Safety Issues
As a rental property owner, you’re responsible for providing a safe and habitable home for your tenants. Any inspection should include a check for safety issues. Make sure the doors and windows lock. Check your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and any security systems you have installed. Look at the exterior lighting and make sure it’s sufficient. Handrails should be secure and not wobbly, and pools should have fences. Make sure the driveway and walkways are free of debris and trip hazards.
Maintain Standards of Cleanliness
When you’re doing a move-in inspection, you need to make sure everything is perfectly clean. Baseboards and ceiling fans should be free of dust, kitchens and bathrooms should sparkle, and the home should look and smell beautiful. When you’re doing a move-out inspection, you expect the same level of cleanliness after a tenant leaves. If the property clearly has not been cleaned, make notes and take pictures so you can withhold cleaning costs from the security deposit.
When you’re inspecting during a tenancy, it’s important to remember that everyone has different standards of cleanliness. Your tenant may not keep things as tidy and spotless as you do. But, you do want to make sure that it’s not unclean to the point that the property could be damaged. You don’t want to see piles of trash or evidence of pests and rodents.
Enforcing Your Lease
During routine inspections, make sure your tenant is following the lease. If you did not approve any pets and you see dog bowls or cat litter, you’ll need to address it. If you rented the home to two adults and one child but you see five cars in the driveway, you may want to follow up on that. Inspections are a good time to make sure everyone is doing what’s required of them, and it’s also a good opportunity to check in with your tenants. Make sure they’re happy, and find out if there’s anything you can do to make their rental experience better.
These are just a few of the things you should include on your rental property inspection checklist. For more information, contact us at Real Estate Experts.
Real Estate Experts provides comprehensive property management services in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, Durham, N. Chatham County, Cary, Morrisville and now Mebane and Burlington, North Carolina.
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Mold in crawlspace.
Mold in homes is not an uncommon problem. A 2003 University of Arizona study found that 100 percent of homes have mold (although not necessarily the dangerous kind). It is a real disappointment to find your dream home, only to discover after the inspection that there is a mold issue. Typically, mold is found in a crawl space on the floor joists and/or insulation. This type of mold can be cleaned but sometimes the jobs are small and sometimes they are quite large. Mold comes from moisture and moisture can cause rot in framing boards as well. If, however, the mold makes its way in the duct work carrying air into the home, this is a different ball game altogether.
Depending on the severity of the mold found in a home, some home buyers consider mold a deal-breaker, as it can make you and your family sick and can weaken walls, ceilings, and floors. We have seen numerous deals fall apart over mold in the crawl space.
It is very advantageous for home sellers to have pre-sale home inspections. Home inspectors will look at the crawl space and report on whether there is a problem. If mold is found, sellers can get ahead of any potential downstream problem by consulting a mold remediation specialist and cleaning the mold and making any necessary repairs before the house goes on the market.
For buyers, if mold is found in your dream home during the home inspection, consider consulting a mold remediation specialist before you completely write off the home. It is not difficult to clean the mold but what must be done is repairing the source of the problem to begin with.
Mold remediation specialists are experts at spotting mold and making recommendations of how to treat that mold so it does not return. Mold growth is commonly found in moist, damp areas, such as the crawl space, air ducts, and attic. A common source of water in the home is poor rainwater management. If the grade outside is not directing water away from the home, that water can collect and eventually allow mildew or toxic mold to grow.
A reputable mold remediation specialist should perform, at a minimum, the following:
- Assess the extent of the mold problem and identify mold-damaged materials.
- Identify the origin of the moisture problem.
- Plan a mold remediation strategy and adapt guidelines to fit the unique situation.
- Remove mold growth and remediate the affected area.
- Repair the water or moisture problem.
- Clean and dry moldy materials, and discard moldy items that can’t be cleaned.
- Perform follow-up inspections to check for the return of moisture and mold.
- Provide a transferable warranty for their work
If mold is discovered and the parties decide to hire a mold remediation specialist, how much is it going to cost? The answer: anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand or more. It depends on the extent of the mold problem and how much work is going to be needed. Sometimes structural repairs need to be made as well. This should not scare a buyer. It is rare to find a problem that can not be fixed and fixed property. According to the professionals, most mold problems in real estate transactions are usually on the smaller size and cost far less than most sellers and buyers would assume.
Of course, it is not always worth it to put forth the time and money involved in hiring a mold remediation specialist. You will want to consider whether the cost of repair is worth it, and whether or not the current homeowner is willing to negotiate on the selling price.
As real estate professionals, we deal with issues like this every day. We are trained to handle issues like mold and know the top mold and water remediation specialists to work with locally. Don’t hesitate when you are thinking of buying or selling a home to reach out to top realtors to help you through the process.
As Real Estate Professionals, it is our top priority to assist clients throughout the home inspection process when buying or selling a home. In all homes, even brand new ones, some building defects will inevitably be discovered during the inspection process that can be easily remedied. A new issue has emerged that catches most home buyers and sellers completely unaware: significant damage to pipes and fittings in the home’s water system that can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to correct. The culprit? A chemical called “chloramine.”
What is Chloramine
Chloramine is a disinfectant chemical used either in place of chlorine or as a secondary disinfectant product. It is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. The result: a chemical that is more stable than chlorine. Water treated with chloramine does not have the taste and odor problems of chlorine. Chloramine is currently used in Chatham, Durham, Orange, and Wake counties, as well as Hillsborough township.
Photo courtesy of practicalmachinist.com.
The EPA has deemed chloramine a safe alternative to purify drinking water; however, there have been some unforseen effects that chloramine has on a home’s plumbing supply. In homes constructed after 1980, builders began to use inexpensive high-zinc (up to 40%) brass fittings in cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) plumbing systems. Zinc is a very reactive metal which has a weak ability to bond to other metals. Therefore, when water flows through these brass fittings and valves, it corrodes the brass, and zinc leaches from the plumbing fittings, a process known as “dezincification.”
Problems Associate With Chloramine
Dezincification can cause two problems. First, zinc can accumulate inside the walls of the brass fittings, decreasing water flow and eventually causing a blockage. Second, the porous structure that is left behind has insufficient mechanical strength and is prone to seepage and structural failure. Recirculating water heater systems may be susceptible to dezincification because heat accelerates the buildup of zinc oxide.
Photo courtesy of pureelementswater.com.
In addition, chloarmine can cause damage to copper fittings in the form of pitting or pinhole leaks. The pits left by the chloramine can harbor mold, which is transferred to drinking water. Unfortunately, most insurance companies will not cover the cost to remove mold or exchange plumbing fittings. Air filtration systems can be purchased to protect piping; costs for the systems vary based on the size of the home and the extent of the damage.
According to the Orange Water and Sewer Authority, chloraminated drinking water is completely safe for drinking, bathing, cooking and other daily water uses. However, there are two groups of people who need to take special care with chloraminated water: kidney dialysis patients and fish owners. Chloramines must be removed from the water used in kidney dialysis machines, as they are harmful when they go directly into the bloodstream. Medical clinics that perform dialysis are responsible for purifying the water that enters the dialysis machines. Chloramines in drinking water are also toxic to fish and amphibians. Tap water, therefore, must be treated with an additive before putting fish or frogs in it.
If you are concerned about chloramine in your home, we have provided sources below that will help you protect your plumbing system. There are several Class Action Lawsuits pending in various counties and states across the country regarding the use of chloramine. A lawsuit in South Carolina was recently dismissed by Judge Thierry P. Colaw, who stated that the districts could not be sued over corroded pipes, because they were following district and federal mandates. You can contact your local municipality if you want to know the status of Class Action Lawsuits in your area.
Orange Water and Sewer Authority: www.owasa.org
City of Durham: durhamnc.gov/DocumentCenter/View/3658
Concerned Citizens About Chloramine: www.chloramine.org/chloraminefacts.htm
Real Estate Experts is committed to providing our clients with insider information, such as this blog post about the hidden dangers of chloramine, to enable them to make informed decisions when buying or selling a home. If you or someone you know is thinking of buying or selling a home, please contact us anytime at 919-813-6449 or [email protected]. Visit us online at realestateexperts.net.