Move In Inspection

A move in inspection should be done with every single new tenant. Renting a vacant home can be a very stressful experience for most landlords. 

A vacant home costs you money every day that it sits vacant. Then there is the very real risk that someone will break in and damage the home or steal appliances or plumbing fixtures. So, you can breathe a sigh of relief when you schedule the move in inspection.


On-boarding Your Tenant

The move in inspection is an essential part of the process for on-boarding a new tenant.  Getting the home rented will take a lot of weight of your shoulders. But, before you start counting your rental money, you need to document what the home looks like before the tenant moves in.


A move in inspection should be done with every single new tenant. Click To Tweet


Completing a move in inspection with the tenant present, allows you and the tenant to document the condition of the home as it is the day the tenant moves in.

move in inspection

New Home, Used Home

It doesn’t matter if you are renting a brand new home, a completely renovated home or a home that doesn’t have new flooring or fresh paint.  This is important so I will say it again.  The move in inspection allows you and the tenant to document the condition of the home the day the tenant moves in.


Get There Before The Tenant

Before you meet the tenant for the move in inspection, you should do a quick run through alone and note any defects.  This gives you the opportunity to decide if you are going to make any repairs or you are just going to point it out and move on!


The purpose of the move in inspection is NOT to come up with a fix it list.  Even brand new homes may have an issue or two.  Landlords are not in the business of providing a perfect home for rent. The older the home, the more dings it may have. 


Picky Tenant

Keep in mind that the tenant will arrive with a different agenda than yours.  Every tenant wants to live I a nice house.  They will tend to be super picky and may demand that you make the house perfect!  This is your opportunity to explain the purpose and scope of the move in inspection.


During the move in inspection, take pictures and take notes as you go through. Click To Tweet


Be Thorough

During the move in inspection, take pictures and take notes as you go through.  Be very detailed and note things like chipped paint, torn or stained carpet, any holes small and large, test the appliances and note they work, etc. Remember, if you don’t write it down and take a picture, you can’t prove what you saw.  You must be able to prove the condition of the home before the tenant moved in.


Digital Is Best

In an ideal scenario, you would have a digital form to fill out as you go through the home and add pictures to. At the end of the move in, you and the tenant would digitally sign this form.  I realize that this isn’t likely to happen in most cases. But, you can fill out the form and take pictures which you can send to the tenant to sign after the fact when you get back to the office.


Your Case Depends On Details

The form and the pictures, whether on paper or digital, need to be attached to the lease for future reference.  When the tenant moves out, you will need to complete a move out inspection and compare it to the move in inspection.  This allows you to compare the before and after condition accurately.  These two inspections will determine if the tenant gets their all of their deposit back, just a portion back or none of it back!


Will Your Proof Hold Up In Court?

Tenants have been known to disagree with your assessment of the condition of the home when they move out. It is critical to have move in and move out forms on file.  If this were to end up in court, having detailed notes and pictures will help you prove your case.


This Is Not A Fix It List

Remember, you are not creating a “fix it” list that will cost you more money. Your job is to accurately describe and notate the condition of the home before the tenant moves in. Point out any defects and tell the tenant you are not fixing that issue. 

Be A Successful Landlord

Part of being a successful landlord is training your tenants. The move in form is another tool in your arsenal that will help you keep costs down and keep more money in your pocket.