Importance of Property Management Inspections
Property Inspections are a key to property management systems and processes … and again this year, it looks like inspections will be completed very differently than they have in the past! Inspections: pre, during and post COVID-19, continue to evolve while their importance remains relevant as ever.
Rooftop views captured of downtown Calgary during recent condominium property inspection (May 2021)
Moreover, inspections are done for a variety of different purposes and reasons. For example: checking for damages before and after move-ins or move-outs; inspecting work completed by contractors, making sure your property’s first impression meets the grade; and, helping to plan for preventative or necessary repairs. Likewise, inspections are done on different schedules (ie) weekly, monthly, semi-annually and annually. It often depends on the purpose and property needs.
Another important purpose for property management inspections are to ensure that you are meeting your insurance obligations when it comes to vacant properties. For instance, insurance companies can require vacant inspections at certain frequencies depending on the policy.
Ultimately, the goal of any inspection is to protect the equity in your property for the enjoyment of owners and residents.
Essentially, the purpose of an inspection is to observe conditions, assess maintenance programs and note opportunities for improvement. Furthermore, they provide a mechanism for reporting back to property owners and condominium boards. This helps facilitate conversations to protect that value of the property. Further, this integral procedure helps a property manager support the owner or condominium board in making informed decisions. Having knowledge is key in taking a proactive approach and optimizing the occupants use and enjoyment.
Depending on your property management agreement, property inspection help a board or owner make informed decisions about maintenance requirements and protect the value of their asset.
Often a condominium community or apartment building will employ a resident manager or building operator to support this mission of conducting regular site inspections. Other times and depending on your budget along with the engagement of your condominium board, committee or owners, everyone can assist with inspections. Ultimately, everyone’s support as a team vested in the success of your property and being the “eyes and ears” assists to catch property issues and maintenance concerns so that problems can be addressed before they escalate into bigger issues.
Since every property and condominium corporation is unique, it is important to ask your property management company how they inspect the properties they manage and their recommendations on how they can help support effective solutions to meet your expectations that are in-line your budget requirements.
The following are questions to consider when it comes to inspections:
Why do I need regular inspections?
Regular inspections help avoid bigger problems from taking you by surprise. Regular inspections are great for inspecting common areas and the exterior. With COVID19 and everyone’s safety top of mind, the inspection of interior spaces is being handled a little more creatively. The use of ZOOM, FaceTime and Video Conferencing have proven fantastic tools when quarantine concerns and social distancing rules apply. Being flexible and resourceful is more important than ever – ‘where there is a will, there is a way”.
How often do you inspect the exterior of the property?
TIP: A drive by inspection can be done frequently. While it is less formal, this type of inspection may be very acceptable for frequent visits.
A full-scale exterior inspection is great for seasonal changes or after large infrastructure repairs. Typically, a full building or 100% inspection is done on an annual basis, but some areas or features of your property or condominium corporation may need to be checked on more frequently.
Again, this is something you can schedule quarterly or when session changes – basically at an interval that makes sense for your property. Do you have a goal around capital expenditures? Are you reviewing potential improvements relating to your reserve fund report? Go through your list, bring along your smart phone and start walking! Check off items that are in good shape and make detailed notes of anything that needs fixing. You can always prioritize a plan of action later … and don’t forget to take pictures! Your property management company will have tools and a process in place to assist with their internal controls and reports when it comes to reviewing needs and arranging for repairs and maintenance.
Who completes the property inspection?
As noted above, the property inspection is integral to the successful management of any property and often a responsibility assigned to the property management company. Inspections can be completed by the property manager, however; they can also be completed by the broker, team manager, support staff or valued contractors.
Inspections are valuable tools to assess what needs to be done to keep your property in great condition, maintain value and potentially reduce the need for significant repairs. Sometimes, you may feel that more frequent inspections are required to support your goal with respect to the overall resident experience and asset appreciation.
A successful inspection requires a property manager to be watchful and observant, looking at property element with scrutiny balanced with the understanding of the owners goals and budget instructions.
While this may be out of the scope of your property management services, depending on your needs and expectations, you may wish to add-on additional inspections for a set fee or may look at engaging a professional inspection company.
What’s on a property inspection checklist?
This varies from property to property and depends on the type of inspection you are completing.
For example, a bareland condominium corporation or a single family home would have different elements compared to an apartment building or hi-rise condominium. Larger properties will have more complex mechanical checks supported by preventative maintenance programs and annual certifications.
Depending on the type of property your property manager is inspecting, the following is a quick sample of what a property manager would look at during a routine inspection:
- Check to see if there are any signs of moisture
- Do opening and closing devices work
- Are there any visible window seal issues?
- Are the windows clean
- Are moisture issues evident on ledges
- Look for any irregular concerns
- Inspect the walls, floors, and ceilings for damage and cleanliness
- Pay attention to HVAC systems and venting
- Is emergency signage working
- Are fire doors closed
- Inspection dates on fire extinguishers
- Look out for signs of rodents or bugs
- Are hallways free of hazards
- Note the condition of the siding or brick
- Inspect for litter
- Review exterior landscaping
- Inspect exterior doors to ensure they close property and are secure
- Look at sidewalks for hazards
- Review signage
- Examine balconies for bylaw infractions or potential repairs
- Review factors affecting health such as cleanliness
- Inspect items that support well-being and safety of residents
- Survey property operations and resident liaison activities
- Assessment of risk
- Review of security concerns or potential hazards
Again, the type of inspection needed depends on the type of asset and the purpose of the inspection (ie) preventative lifecycle, periodic tenant inspection, building exterior visual assessment to meet city bylaw requirements, etc.,.
Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. Is a licensed property management brokerage. Its team of licensed property managers understands the importance of property inspections and the importance of teamwork when it comes to managing real estate assets and condominium corporations. We pride ourselves on a reputation grounded in integrity, reliability, and value for service. We are excited for the opportunity to help you to define goals, review strategy options and understand your property maintenance needs and can help you:
- Evaluate performance and progress
- Identify successes and problems
- Make long-term decisions, and
- Develop long term property maintenance plans.
All of this starts with a property inspection and a conversation about your goals! Contact us today to learn how Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. can help your condominium corporation and condo board plan for the future. In any condominium corporation, this is an essential part of strong management and potentially prevent painful situations like expensive special assessments. For more information on the wide variety of services Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. offers, please contact our team at 403-237-8600.