Home Inspections Tips

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Check Exit Strategy

If you do have a fire escape you will want to check the condition of the escape during the initial home inspection, and make sure that it is not hazardous and that it will help provide a safe exit out of your houses interior. If the fire escape looks unsafe, have the owner/landlord repair it before moving into your new house. It is also a good idea to make sure you have a working fire extinguisher handy in your rental home in case of an emergency.


Exiting Your Rental

House rentals should be returned as clean and neat as it was when you entered. Consider having rugs and carpet professionally cleaned before returning the home to the landlord. The less damage the landlord finds the more security money you will get back. If you have the document proof of damage that occurred before you lived there, it should be pretty hassle free.


Initial Home Inspection

It is a smart idea to photograph any damage that you find in your new apartment or home for rent. This will help document and show the actual damage to the landlord and confirm the damage was there before you took over the rental. Keep photographs in a safe place so that you will be able to locate them when the lease is up. It is also a good idea to help date the photographs by having a dated newspaper in the photographs or making sure the dated is stamped on the back of the pictures when developed.

What Might Typically Be On a Home Inspection Checklist for House Rentals?

Items Typically On a Home Inspection Checklist for House Rentals

A good home inspection discusses every component involved in houses. House rentals do not often dictate that a home inspection is necessary, so do not be surprised if your prospective landlord does not own a recent one. A home inspection checklist is typically extensive, however, even for house rentals, so read one if it's available. Here are some of the major items that are normally included by the property inspector:

  • Walls, ceilings, and floors
  • Heating systems
  • Electrical systems
  • Interior and exterior plumbing
  • Roof and attic
  • Windows, doors, and insulation examination
  • Basement and foundation
  • Air conditioning systems and plumbing, if the apartment and home for rent have central air
As a tenant, you will feel more comfortable if you're confident that heating, electrical, and plumbing systems are in good working order with few deficiencies. A good home inspection will address even the most minute current or potential future source of problems. House rentals that have a recent home inspection can be more valuable, to both landlord and tenant, than rental homes that haven't been viewed by a property inspector in many years. Problems that are visual and quickly corrected are normal and expected. Unseen hidden issues can be more damaging to both landlord and tenant if not discovered in their early stages. A home inspection often eliminates this risk.

What Should I Know About a Home Inspection If I’m Considering House Rentals?

Some Things to Know About Home Inspections and House Rentals

A good home inspection reveals all there is to know about a home. When you purchase a house using a mortgage, a home inspection is almost always required. If you're looking for house rentals, however, a home inspection is rarely completed. However, your landlord may have had a recent one performed, so ask to see documentation. The landlord will advise you whether he/she has one or not.

Should a home inspection be available, here are some things you should look for:

  1. Heating system condition. If you're paying for the oil, gas, or electricity used to heat your new rental home, you hope the heating system is efficient. Your landlord may not be quite as "passionate" about the system as long as it works.
  2. Water. Is the new residence going to be dry in all areas? Houses can have a variety of water issues that often appear to be a mystery. House rentals with basements can be troublesome if it's to be your storage area and also encourages dampness. Hopefully, your new rental home is toasty and dry.
  3. Interior plumbing. While it is your landlord's responsibility to maintain indoor plumbing in good working order, you really don't want to be forced to deal with problems of which both parties are already aware. Great fun is not defined by showers or laundry room faucets that don't work and spread water around your rental home.
  4. Electrical systems and wiring. Although not a tenant's responsibility to maintain electrical systems in safe and working condition, you will feel much more comfortable if you know that when you flip a switch or plug something into an outlet, something positive happens. It's also comforting to be confident that there is no known faulty wiring that could be the cause of a fire.
Home inspection reports cover literally every component involved in a house. Even the slightest deficiencies are noted by a good property inspector. If your new landlord has a recent home inspection, he/she should be agreeable to allow you to look at it, particularly if it's a favorable one.

What should I look for during the inspection?

Smoke Alarm And Carbon Monoxide Detector - A Must Have

When you are doing an inspection of the rental home it is extremely important to make sure the rental has a working smoke alarm and also a carbon monoxide detector. In some states, having both is a law and landlords are required to equip their rental homes with working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. To find out of this law exists in your state, visit the state's web site or the website of Consumer Affairs for your state.

If it isn't a law in your location, express to the landlord the importance of both a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. If the landlord has a problem spending a few dollars for your safety and the safety of rental home, you may want to reconsider whether you should rent from them.

How can I help pay less for my utilities?

Check The Utilities

When you get into your new rental home, make sure you thoroughly check to see if all the windows open, all the faucets have both hot and cold water, and that the heat and air conditioning (if included) work. Whether the utilities are included or you pay for them yourself, you want to make sure they are in good working condition. It would be terrible to have a hot summer with windows that barely open or a long cold winter with heat that never shut off and cost you a fortune. Do an inspection and have it repaired by the landlord to a fair working condition before it becomes a very costly problem.

Do I need to pay for repairs to make the rental safe?

Cost Of Safety Repairs

Your landlord/owner should make all necessary safety and hazardous repairs as soon as possible, preferably before you move in or within the first 30 days of the lease. You should not be charged an extra fee or be subject to a raise in rent, nor should you have to pay for any repairs that will make residing in the rental safe. If the landlord does ask you to pay or refuses to make safety repairs, you probably will not want to live in such an environment and should look elsewhere.

How can I be sure my new rental have good water pressure?

Check The Water Pressure

One of the most over looked items during an initial home rental inspection is water pressure in sinks, toilettes, and showers. As you walk through your potential new rental, turn on and run the sinks and showers and flush the toilets to evaluate the water pressure. Some locations have very low water pressure and make it very hard to shower and use water. These are thing you will want to know before moving into the new location.

What should I look for during my initial inspection for safety?

Check Exit Strategy

When renting either a house or a condominium, it is very important to evaluate emergency exits and fire escapes. Your rental home is where you will reside for a while and also keep many of your precious belongings. One of the most important things you possess is your health and well-being. You want to ensure that if an emergency or tragedy happened in your home or residential area, you will be able to exit safely. Make sure there is an exit strategy and another way out besides the front door, even if it is just a window in another room.

How do I make sure I get my security deposit back?

Initial Home Inspection

After you sign the lease for your new rental home, it is important to do a home inspection of the new location with the owner/landlord, if possible. If the landlord is not available, you should make a list of all the damage on your own and fax it over as soon as possible, even before you unpack. Your list should include any damage or problem areas you see in the new rental such as paint chipping, cracks, stains in rugs, water damage, stains on ceiling, broken tiles, broken windows, etc.

What should I do to clean my rental when leaving?

Exiting Your Rental

You will have to pay for any damage that is not considered to be reasonable 'fair wear and tear' when you leave your house rental. That is why it is a good idea to have a well documented list of damage or problems that occurred before you moved in. If you know of any damage that occurred while you were renting, try and fix it yourself before the final inspection with the landlord. The landlord will walk through and point out any damage that they feel may have incurred while you were residing there. Any damage that will require an outside contractor to fix will likely come out of your rental home deposit.

What happens if appliances break during my lease?

Inspect The Appliances

During the inspection of your new home, it is also a good idea to evaluate the condition of the appliances that are included in the rental. You should have a line added into the lease that includes the appliances included for use during the lease, and who will pays for repairs to those appliances if they should break during the time of the lease. Have all this clearly stated in the rental agreement and lease to avoid problems with broken appliances.

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