Are you paying for inspections?

By Ros Burton (Principal – The Real Estate People)

Imagine if you bought a cinema ticket, sat down to munch on your popcorn and, just as the curtains pull back, the usher taps you on the shoulder and asks you to pay for the movie to start? 

Yes, you’ve paid for your SEAT…but the movie is extra. 

How would you feel? Ripped off? 

I ask this odd question because one of my previous columns touched on the importance of doing regular routine inspections and what you should expect from your property manager. 

Soon after hitting the send button, I was contacted by a couple of landlords who asked me if our office charges extra for a rental inspection – by that, I mean physically going to a property to monitor its upkeep and condition. 

The answer is we don’t – never have, never will…but I was shocked to hear some agencies around the state do. 

Isn’t that what your management fees are for? 

As a busy, time-poor landlord, the reason you put your rental property under management is for total peace of mind. 

For a small tax-deductible fee, we monitor maintenance of the property, read water meters and charge tenants for usage, pay water bills and council rates, we ensure all regulations are adhered to, we screen tenants to ensure they are the right fit for the property, and we guarantee that all-important rent arrives on time, every time. 

I am a firm believer that if you are paying me to manage your property then I should also be inspecting it regularly as part of that agreement. 

And we do, producing a detailed routine inspection report every three months – not annually, not every six months – every quarter without fail. 

Most importantly, you should NOT be reaching into your pocket again to make that happen. 

Having a property manager work in your best interests, should be a standard part of the management agreement you have with an agency. 

So remember, whether it’s the movies, real estate (or anything in life, really) – if you’re paying for a service be sure to keep an eye on any additional costs and ask yourself: “What’s this cost for and is it worth it?” 

Then ask the follow-up question: “Can I do better?”