Vacancy walk-throughs are a must for every landlord and there are ten critical items which must be inspected when a tenant vacates a property:
Unfortunately, many tenants forget to change air filters in heating and cooling systems. This poses a problem as both systems are known to collect inordinate amounts of dust and air particles. When the filters are clogged from such collection, the systems run much harder than they should and often break down. As you walk through your now vacant rental, be sure to check your heating and cooling units to ensure both are operating as they should and double check your AC's air compressor, too! It is always a good idea to insert new filters once a property has been vacated.
Related: Calculating Vacancy Rates
Double check bathroom and kitchen sinks to ensure there are no leaks or drips and make sure all attachments are working. Sometimes the hoses on spray attachments can be jammed, thus causing a leak or break in the hose. Check for mold beneath sinks and signs of past leaks or staining.
Unfortunately, toilets are notorious for costing property owners the most amount of money due to unknown easy repairs that went unaddressed for long periods of time. For example, a leaky commode can add as much as $50 per month to a water bill. Be sure to check valves and flappers and replace if they look a little rough. This simple fix will cost you a quarter of the amount that will show up on your water bill if you fail to perform the appropriate maintenance.
You would be amazed at how small gaps or cracks around windows and doors impact a heating or cooling bill. Be sure to check any entrances into your home, whether door or window, for drafts which could be indicative of cracks. In additional, make sure that your doors and windows are secure, that the locks are functioning properly and the windows are closing and locking properly as well.
It is always important to double check that your foundation is in good standing and that the overall structure of your property maintains its integrity. Check for leaning, cracks, water damage or other items indicating the need for maintenance. If there is nothing that jumps out at you, then you don't need to call in the professionals just yet.
Keep an eye on your roof! A roof which is not well maintained can wind up being very costly. Be on the lookout for signs of wind or water damage and missing shingles. In addition, clean out your gutters and make sure they are in good shape, too.
In the event that your home contains major appliances, it is always prudent to clean them and ensure that they are running efficiently. A dishwasher can especially cause serious water damage if not kept in good working order. Make sure the dry isn't accumulating the world's largest ball of lint, which could result in a fire and ensure the hoses to the washer are not cracked or leaking.
General curb appeal is important for any rental property. Peruse the outside grounds and tidy up a bit. Rake leaves, pull weeds, trim shrubs and throw away the pots of flowers who met their Maker months ago. Freshen up and show some pride in your property!
Unfortunately, some tenants might attempt to sneak a pet into your "no pets" property. They might even have an undocumented significant other living with them. Be sure to check for signs of any unknown visitors whether via a yard check for doggie evidence or otherwise.
Always check for pest damage due to critters such as termites, fleas, moles, etc. Look for the unobvious signs to ensure you do not have an unwanted infestation of critters slowly and inconspicuously destroying your property. Sometimes, a simple, prophylactic can of bug spray can do the trick in order to avoid a future $2,000 extermination fee down the road.