Un-complicate Routine Inspections
One of the things we find when we work as a Real Estate Dynamics Coach with Rent Roll businesses, is that routine inspections are in a huge mess.
Some of the evidence for this includes:
- ‘Re-batching’ inspections each time they are due
- Having an ‘initial’ inspection shortly after the Tenant moves in
- The number of inspections completed is far less than the number of inspections due within a certain time period
- A large amount of time is spent planning inspections
- Properties have missed having a routine inspection because of break leases, vacancy or new tenancies (some of these can date back years)
- Tenants constantly change times and days when inspections are due
- There is a general dislike of routine inspections by the team and
- Professional indemnity claims related to routine inspections
So how do Routine Inspections become so stressful and over-complicated and how can we begin to start winning at Routines?
Let’s start with the planning – if you have a Rent Roll of 450 properties and you inspect each property 3 times per year, how many can each team member realistically manage? When calculating this, you should plan 2 months off annually for holidays and busy periods which decreases the number of weeks available for inspections down to 44 weeks in the year. If you conduct inspections 3 days per week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) and there are 2 staff members doing inspections that equals 5.1 inspections per week (450 multiplied by 3, divided by 44, divided by 2, divided by 3). This results in a workable formula that allows 2 people to do 5.1 inspections, over 3 days a week for 10 months per year.
Many of the Agencies we work with ‘roll’ their entire batch of routine inspections forward (adding any new or lost properties as they are signed up or lost) and repeat the same batch every time they are due. These offices have their navigation systems set up, the keys organised and the inspection software set-up the day before the inspection and they are ready to go on the day without any hold-ups.
These Agencies adopt what we call Property Centric inspections – that is if it’s due, it is completed, regardless of the status of the Tenancy. Inspections are completed even if the property is vacant! They take particular care during the ‘sign up’ process to help Tenants understand their routine inspection processes and explain that they are unable to change inspection days or times, unless there is an emergency. These Agencies also reconcile the number of inspections due against the number of routine inspection reports generated from their software to make sure they match, which they do if they have followed the system properly.
You might wonder about the value of doing a routine inspection on a vacant, soon to be vacant or recently tenanted property. Many Agencies have found that when they adopt a Tenancy Centric inspection system, it leaves them with a number of not completed or completely missed inspections. These Property Managers are tired of ‘micro’ managing every batch and don’t want to continually plan and re-schedule inspections. They want a ‘macro’ approach that works every time and find the Property Centric model provides this.
Adopting a Property Centric model also allows you to inform Landlords when their inspections are due in advance. Many of our Coaching Clients who have adopted the process of inviting their Landlords to inspections are achieving excellent results with an added benefit in gaining instant authorisation for repairs and improvements on the spot.
How can you make the actual inspections more pleasurable? One way is to imagine you own the property – it will change your mindset and really get you looking for improvements rather than just ‘going through the motions’. Also, don’t just send the report after the inspection – call the Landlord and let them know the result (even if there is no maintenance noticed or reported) then send the report. It’s a great way to keep in contact if the Landlord hasn’t accompanied you on the inspection and they will really appreciate it!
If you’re looking for easier ways to streamline your Routine Inspections, our 2-day intensive Property Management course, Winning In Property Management, will provide you with the processes and procedures to do so. After attending our course, you and your team can minimise risk for your Agency and start enjoying the inspection process again!