How often should your rental property be inspected?

Portland Oregon Real Estate

Do you own rental properties in Portland Oregon or elsewhere in the United States? If so, one of the most common questions you may have is how often you should have your rental properties inspected because, proper inspections will ensure that the condition of your rental property and there won’t be any questions regarding maintenance.

How Often Do I Need a Rental Home Inspection?

So how often should you schedule a rental home inspection? It depends upon several factors:

  • If you have crawlspaces or a basement, you might want to invest in a rental home inspection every 2-3 years, or each time your property comes up for re-rental. You may also want to inspect this more frequently if you have older plumbing or wiring, or if your home is in an area with a lot of moisture, an extreme climate, or both.
  • If your home is newer and was professionally inspected when you bought it, and you don’t have major weather extremes, you can probably get away with a longer inspection cycle.
  • If your home has never been professionally inspected since you’ve owned it, do it now.
  • Another reason to have a rental home inspection is if you are planning a major renovation project anyway. Why? You don’t want to have already committed thousands of dollars to a bathroom remodel only to discover that you need to replace your furnace. Conduct a reconnaissance before you march.

Rental Home Inspections: Can’t I Just Do It Myself?

There are a couple of good reasons to hire a professional home inspector. First, few of us have specific knowledge of home construction materials, methods, and building codes, not to mention the experience to spot trouble from the smallest of indicators.

Furthermore, professional home inspectors who are members of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the National Society of Home Inspectors (NSHI), or the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) generally carry errors & omissions insurance–a kind of malpractice insurance for professional services. If you are financially harmed because they overlook something they reasonably should have caught, their E&O insurance policy can protect you against financial damages. If you try to do it yourself, you get no such protection.

While not all good home inspectors maintain an affiliation with one of these bodies, it’s a good start, as each of them have an ethical code of conduct and minimum standards for certification (usually a written exam and proof of 250 or more paid home inspections complete). Each of them encourages continuing education and provides their members with various professional resources. This alone is often worth their fee; that being said, it’s a good idea to get verification that their insurance is in force prior to hiring them.

For most landlords, spending $400 for a professional, detailed rental home inspection to protect a $300,000 investment every few years is easily affordable. Indeed, failing to inspect on a regular basis is a gamble most of us cannot afford to lose.

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